Budapest, November 2 (MTI) – The ruling Fidesz party should back a proposal to write a provision into the law on the failed brokerage Quaestor that guarantees cash compensation by the state, a lawmaker for the opposition Socialist Party said on Monday.
Only a state guarantee will ensure that clients hit by the brokerage firm’s bankruptcy could hope to receive full compensation, Laszlo Szakacs, a member of parliament’s sub-committee investigating brokerage scandals, told a press conference.
Fidesz’s assertion that 98 percent of troubled Quaestor clients had received full compensation was a “blatant lie”, Szakacs said, adding that only compensation of 86 billion forints (EUR 276m) had been paid out to investors on fictive bonds out of the total of 220 billion forints that had gone missing in investments held by Quaestor.
Istvan Kalman-Piko, a Quaestor client, said that he and his wife had received less than half of the compensation due to them under the law, even though their investment had amounted to less than 6 million forints, far below the threshold covered by the law.
Under the law approved in April, an Investor Protection Fund (Beva) was set up to compensate clients of failed brokerages for damages of up to 30 million forints (100,000 euros).
The leftist opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) also weighed in on the Quaestor issue, demanding the government recover all the funds that went “missing” in wake of the brokerage scandal.
The National Bank of Hungary should also give an account of the 160 billion forints that have “disappeared with its assistance”, the party’s deputy leader, Agnes Vadai told a press conference on Monday. She said the money “stolen by Fidesz-allied Quaestor brokers” had been missing for months. But when victims hold a demonstration, Fidesz always starts to make promises about their recovery.
Vadai said once there was a change in government, justice would be served in this case and perpetrators and their accomplices held to account. She said a fraud of this size could not have been committed without Fidesz’s involvement. She also questioned how central bank governor Gyorgy Matolcsy could have stayed in his post or how Viktor Orban could have remained as prime minister. She also wondered how Peter Szijjarto, the foreign minister, and Peter Polt, the chief prosecutor — also allegedly involved — could have stayed in their posts after such a case.
Fidesz said in response that the legal framework is ready for compensation to be paid to Quaestor clients. More than 86 billion forints have been paid out to 31,113 clients by the end of October, Fidesz said in a statement. It is the leftist parties and the radical national Jobbik who had been trying to obstruct the approval of laws in connection with compensation, it said.
Compensation for clients with more than 6 million forints invested was obstructed by banks when they turned to the Constitutional Court for a review. The top court put the case on its agenda at the end of October, but it has not yet ruled. Compensation still owed to clients can be paid out when the constitutional court decides that the laws passed are not unconstitutional, Fidesz said.