Sztarklikk.hu has collected the biggest and most controversial scandals around the 3rd Orbán government that the Hungarian public has experienced recently, and which are being forgotten due to the massive influx of immigrants.
The brokerage scandals
Although the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) called the brokerage firm Buda-Cash to account for the securities worth HUF 100 billion, and then the brokerage firm Quaestor to do the same for the securities worth HUF 200 billion, it appears that MNB did both only in vain.
Not only did the question of how these firms had been able to freely engage in such a vague business emerged, but also the question of how certain state institutions were allowed to make their money work on security accounts, where they concealed the profit realised, or how certain investors had known shortly before the scandals broke out that it is advisable to take out their money from the brokerage firms. Even though both of the cases have received great media coverage and public anger, they have now been forgotten, says the article.
The District 5 property scandal
According to the opposition Együtt (Together) party’s deputy leader Péter Juhász, several dozen shady deals have caused major financial damages to Budapest District 5. He accused several opposition party politicians, including the former District 5 mayor Antal Rogán, of participating in a criminal organisation, and illegally selling public properties at substantially below fair market prices. Although the complaint Juhász lodged in the case was rejected by the police, later, the Prosecutor-General’s Office revised the police’s decision, and did order the investigation.
The politician firmly believes that the goal of the system was to sell real estate owned by District 5 at far below market prices to designated buyers without soliciting competing bids. Within months of renting the shop at Károly körút 26., the new tenant, Classic Immo Kft., offered to purchase the shop from the District 5 government for HUF 52 million, which bid was immediately accepted, and within months of acquiring the property, Classic Immo Kft. resold it for HUF 102 million for an estimated gross profit of HUF 45 million.
Antal Rogán’s asset declaration, Lázár’s hotel bills, and Szijjártó’s futsal teammates
It was revealed last year that Fidesz MP Antal Rogán’s property, located in a luxurious residential complex in Buda, is much bigger than what he disclosed in his asset declaration, and the situation is similar with regard to his holiday home. In an autograph note to the declaration, Rogán explained that though the property they live in was registered under his name, he considered it as an asset jointly owned with his wife.
Head of the Prime Minister’s Office, János Lázár’s hotel bills were unusually high and what happened on the trips was covered with a lot of secrecy, however, now this case also seems to be forgotten due to the immigration issues, says the article.
Although a legally binding court decision forced the Prime Minister’s Office to disclose the names of the hotel, this has not happened yet. The office turned to the Curia, the supreme court of Hungary, for a legal review. Lázár had suggested that he would do everything he can to keep the hotel names in secret. In his interview with Index last September, he said that the hotel names “cannot be revealed”.
Although the issue fuelled already existing civil anger when the details made public, according to Sztarklikk’s article, it has been also forgotten that Péter Szijjártó employs his futsal teammates in the ministry, who have been criticised to be slightly undertrained to work in such ranking positions.
Another scandalous case emerged concerning the Hungarian Foreign Minister when the media discovered that Szijjártó spent HUF 167 million buying a luxury villa for his family in Dunakeszi.
When TV channel RTL Klub asked Szijjártó how he had that much money, he said he funded the purchase partly from own savings up to HUF 80 million and from savings of his wife and her parents (HUF 20 million) and his own parents (HUF 67 million). A little later he revised his answer: only HUF 68 million had come from his private savings, HUF 20 million from his wife and her parents, and the other HUF 79 million given by his own parents. His explanation seems to be contradictory.
Orbán’s conspicuously successful son-in-law
Apart from the police, now OLAF, the European Union’s Anti-Fraud Office, also initiated an investigation in the case of certain public procurements won by Elios Innovatív Zrt.
Until recently, Eliot Innovatív Zrt. was co-owned by the Hungarian Prime Minister’s son-in-law, István Tiborcz. The company is responsible for the modernization of the city’s public lighting system.
By sending dozens of public information requests in the past three months, Direkt36 collected nearly one thousand documents about the LED public lighting projects won by Elios. The investigation reveals that, compared to other projects, the lamps used in Elios’s projects were outstandingly expensive.
István Tiborcz became spectacularly successful after his future father-in-law was elected prime minister of Hungary. Perhaps too successful, says Sztarklikk.hu, as in the last few years, 33 municipalities received generous EU subsidies to switch to LED technology, seventy-one percent of which were won by Tiborcz’s firm.
Sunday retail closure
In 2011, it was the Christian Democrats (KDNP) which originally submitted the proposal of Sunday shopping restriction, and it was supported neither by the prime minister nor by the Ministry of National Economy, saying that the Hungarian economy couldn’t afford it. Great was the surprise, however, when Fidesz not only welcomed the idea in 2014, but suggested a more drastic solution.
According to a survey conducted by the pollster Ipsos, over two-thirds of Hungarian adults disagree with the ban on Sunday shopping. The survey, carried out in early March, reports that 22 % of respondents regularly purchase food or other household goods on Sundays and 12 % use the last day of the week to shop for clothes, furniture, or technical appliances. Over two-thirds of the adult population (68 %) partially or fully disagrees with the law forcing shops to stay closed on Sundays, the survey claims.
translated by Gábor Hajnal