As we already reported, 19,885 people received a national permanent residence permit in Hungary since 2013 with the help of the residency bond program. Most of them are Chinese, but many came from Muslim countries like Iraq, Afghanistan or Iran. Compared to that, the government chose the protection of Hungary from immigrants to be their leading message in the 2018 electoral campaign. In fact, Hungary has lost billions because of the residency bond business while offshore companies connected to cabinet minister Rogán and organising the program gained fortunes. G7.24.hu won a lawsuit against the organisers, and as a consequence, it could read the documents connected to the program. According to them, it is full of irregularities. Thus, even a trial is imaginable.
Strange from the beginning: the decision maker is not responsible
Clearly, it was weird from the beginning that the authorisation for the companies taking part in the residency bond program came from the Parliament’s Committee on Economics instead of a state institution. In fact,
parliament’s committees are not responsible for their decisions
from a legal point of view. To put it in another way, nobody can sue a representative because of their decision in the parliament or a committee. Meanwhile, a state institution would have been accountable for its decisions.
Parliamentary committees can only be taken to court if they deny granting access to information of public interest. This is why G7.24.hu got the documents connected to the program only after the decision of the Budapest-Capital Regional Court.
According to these papers, G7.24.hu states that there is a remarkable chance that – with one exception –
all the decisions of the committee connected to the program violated the laws.
Residency bond business: government’s majority voted for everything
In fact, the companies organising the program were all but one offshore ones, strongly connected to cabinet minister Antal Rogán. Interestingly, he was the chairman of the committee at the beginning of the program. After he became a minister, Erik Bánki followed him in position. Of course, supportive government majority remained all the time.
As we reported, those who wanted to receive a permanent residence permit had to register state bonds worth of 300 thousand EUR and pay further 45-60 thousand EUR service charge. However, the Hungarian state guaranteed a 29 thousand EUR yield to all investors after 5 years. Thus, companies organising the program could gain marvellous profit. They’re
altogether income was 155 billion HUF (approx. 0.5 billion EUR)
in the program. Meanwhile, according to the calculations of a shadow committee examining the program
the state lost at least 20 billion forints.
This is because Hungarian taxpayers bear the burden of paying back the money with interest.
According to G7.24.hu, Rogán and Bánki themselves decided which companies can organise the program. In fact, the companies submitted their application via e-mail to take part in the program. However, the chairmen – according to the supposition – brought only those requests to the meetings which they chose. Besides, opposition members of the committee did not know anything about what happened in the background. This can be malfeasance since the law says that the committee has to decide, not its chairman.
Irregularities everywhere – yet no consequences
To make matters worse,
some applications were not even brought to the sittings of the committee.
For example, the committee allowed Euro-Asia Investment Management Ltd. to sell bonds to Singaporean citizens, but not to Thai people. Similarly, the company started to sell bonds to Indonesians, Iranians, Armenians etc. without the decision of the committee.
It also happened that even though a company applied they did not appear in the agenda of any sittings. This happened in case of Migrat Immigration Asia Ltd., a company registered in Cyprus. According to the supposition, their Erik Bánki did not bring their application to any of the sittings. This happened again in case of Voldan Investments Limited registered in Lichtenstein or Arton Capital Hungary Kft. Of course, members of the committee did not know about these applications.
In some cases the
original documents vanished
like in the case of Innozone Holding Limited registered in Cyprus. Even so, they received permission to sell bonds.
According to the legal director of Transparency International Hungary Miklós Ligeti, it can happen that the committee made its decisions based on incomplete information and documents. Clearly, the officers of the committee are public officials – he added. Therefore, irregular procedures violating administrative responsibilities or malfeasance could happen.
Photo: Balázs Béli
Source: g7.24.hu, Daily News Hungary