Daily News Hungary | Feb 22, 2019 | 1
The second best-known Hungarian in France causes public outrage
A lawsuit has been brought against a mayor with Hungarian origins with charges of corruption and tax fraud, as Hvg.hu reports.
The public outrage towards the Hungarian Balkany was caused by the fact that he gave himself a 56pc salary raise as the mayor of Levallois-Peret, a city near Paris. For a long time, he has been the mayor of the small town, but at the same time has also been a member of the French Parliament.
The mayor with Hungarian descent has a friendly relationship with Nicolas Sarkozy, the best-known Hungarian-French who is famous for his corruption.
Just like Balkany, Sarkozy also started his career as a mayor of one of the most expensive small French town, Neuilly. The two men share one more similar feature: their lean towards corruption. It was partly due to Balkany’s behaviour that a new law was enacted in France, which initiated the notion that it should not be allowed that a mayor is a member of the Parliament at the same time.
However, the changed legal background came in handy for the Hungarian married couple to try to stay “invisible” from the investigations that aim to discover their financial background.
The investigations started in 2013, and it turned out that the Balkanys have a whole financial empire consisting of numerous offshore companies in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Singapore, the Seychelles-islands and Panama. Based on allegations, the influential mayor used these offshore accounts for his savings which he got through corruption.
To mention an example, the Parisian Le Monde magazine brings in the case of the Balkanys’ property that they also acquired through means of corruption.
It remains unclear even to investigators where the Hungarian married couple got their money from. As it turned out, they are not renting the expensive properties, but are the owners of these real estates, which makes it even more peculiar where they got all the money from.
However, as investigators found out, the couple has properties in Marrakesh and the island of Saint-Martin among others. This made up to an EUR 13 million undeclared income, which the couple somehow forgot to tax.
In the current anti-elitist background of French politics, the French authorities’ idle activities to address this issue are causing a public outrage, which is ever-more directed towards the French PM, Emmanuel Macron.
Corruption is also causing problems in Hungary: according to Transparency International, “in Hungary, the form of centralised corruption developed and became systematic”, and Hungary has never been as corrupt as in 2017. Also, we have recently shared an article about the government elite’s luxury travels during the summer with a private jet and yacht that cost enormous amounts of money. The question might arise: how did the public (unwillingly) contribute to these travels?
Featured image: https://www.facebook.com/patrick.balkany