The second plan to put Ferenc Gyurcsány into jail just failed

Viktor Orbán, who is not terribly sure-footed when it comes to handling the economy, was only too well prepared to establish a regime in which all that happens depends on his will. One of his goals was to see Ferenc Gyurcsány in jail. The first attempt at finding him guilty of using the Hungarian police force for political purposes during the 2006 disturbances failed. I wrote about the rigged committee's efforts to find just one policeman who would admit that Gyurcsány in any way tried to give them instructions. The committee members found no one who would so testify.

Then came the second round. Orbán appointed Gyula Budai, a lawyer with not the best reputation, to investigate Gyurcsány's role in the so-called King's City affair. I wrote about the perils of being a foreign investor in Hungary on August 13, 2010. I suggest that for background my readers review that piece. Very briefly the situation was as follows. One of the investors, Joáv Blum, a Hungarian-Israeli citizen, had an orchard somewhere in Pest County which he offered in exchange for a piece of state-owned land in Sukoró, a village on the bank of a small lake near Székesfehérvár which would have been perfect for erecting an entertainment complex. The charge is that there was a huge difference between the value of the two pieces of land. According to the prosecutors 1.3 billion forints. The deal was forced through although even Ferenc Gyurcsány knew that the state was being fleeced by Blum.

Budai began to work on the case feverishly. Every second day he held a press conference where he triumphantly announced that the case is already won. He found evidence upon evidence that Ferenc Gyurcsány was guilty. He claimed that Joáv Blum conducted shady real estate deals not only in Hungary but also in Israel and demanded information concerning Blum from the Israeli Embassy in Budapest. He convinced the prosecutors to arrest Miklós Tátrai, the former CEO of Magyar Nemzeti Vagyonkezelő, the office that handles the sale of state properties, and Zsolt Császy, the head of its legal department. And when in Hungary someone, especially if that person had a job during the last eight years, is arrested it means that he will stay in jail for a while, perhaps years. No charges were brought against the two men, but the courts decided that there was the possibility that they might leave the country or try to influence witnesses. So, they spent good three months in jail.

Ferenc Gyurcsány does know that Orbán "wants his head" and even described an encounter with an old classmate of his wife who told him that he knows from a reliable source that since the prosecutors have absolutely nothing on him in connection with 2006 they will concentrate on the Sukoró land deal.

Well, it seems that this didn't work out either. On December 17 Miklós Tátrai, shackled and led in on a long chain, appeared at the Fejér County Court in Székesfehérvár as an accused in the case. He was under oath, unlike before when he testified as a witness. Gyula Budai was very hopeful. This will definitely clinch the case, he claimed in the morning. Then came the disappointment. Tátrai under oath testified that Ferenc Gyurcsány didn't force him to close the deal. The former prime minister simply told him about Blum's idea of the swap and asked him to look into the legal possibilities of an exchange. Tátrai also expanded on some of the details. Blum's orchard in Pest County was a good deal from the state's point of view because part of this particular orchard was necessary for the building of a new highway while the office had no plans for the land in Sukoró. Morover, Blum was willing to pay any difference in the value of the two pieces of land. Five independent estimates were received and four of them agreed that the difference was 300 million forints! And not 1.3 billion as the prosecutors today claim. A few hours later both men were released from jail.

By now, Orbán and his minions have struck out twice. I'm curious what will come next.

 

 

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Kevin Moore
Guest

Gyurcsány himself admitted that he directly gave instructions over the phone to the police during the 2006 TV siege. The very sentences saying this came from his own mouth and were aired in the TV2 evening news program.
Do you have the slightest idea of what you’re talking about?
When will you quit ignoring widely known facts that don’t conform your bizarre misconception of truth?

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Kevin Moore: “Gyurcsány himself admitted that he directly gave instructions over the phone to the police during the 2006 TV siege.”
The hell he did. The only thing he told them that they should defend the headquarters of MTV. It would have been odd if the prime minister of the country would have said anything else.

Kevin Moore
Guest

“It would have been odd if the prime minister of the country would have said anything else.”
Oh. We’re then immediately well over what you always insist in your posts, namely that Gyurcsány didn’t instruct the police one bit?
Then why not correct it in the article?
I can’t really find words on your disbelief of anything else, saying that would have been “odd”> I double-checked and yes, you’re talking about Gyurcsány.
I can’t imagine what planet you are living on.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Look, Kevin Moore, a parliamentary subcommittee for months tried to find Gyurcsány guilty in this case. It didn’t work because there was no such “guilt.” Believe me that they tried. But perhaps you with your infinite legal knowledge can come up with something. Try it!

Kevin Moore
Guest

Since when is a parliamentary subcommittee out there to assess legal responsibility?
You very well know that the committee led by Gulyás indeed foudn it “highly likely” that Gyurcsány was deeply and personally involved; you even posted a series of articles on why you didn’t believe the committee.
Now you are citing the committee as a source of credibility for Gyurcsány NOT being guilty.
Do you agree with yourself on what the committee did and did not?

Paul
Guest

OK, ‘Kevin’, what about you give up the invective and insults for just a little while and give us some hard, verifiable, facts that prove that Gyurcsány did what you say (and not just what any PM would do under the circumstances)?

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Kevin Moore: “The archives will be another victim of Fidesz’s constant re-fabrication of the past. I wish something could be done to stop this.”
Your logic is indeed a strange one as someone mentioned. I have the worst opinion of the members of the committee, especially of Gaudi-Nagy, the Jobbik deputy chairman. I have a bad opinion of them because they had a preconcieved idea that Gyurcsány was guilty and they tried their dardnest to prove it. They failed. They failed because Gyurcsány did nothing illegal. They madly tried to find someone who would testify against him but they couldn’t. They couldn’t because these men were not ready to lie.

Minusio
Guest

Surprisingly, some courts still seem to function. But for how long?

Minusio
Guest

To Kevin Moore & co.:
I’d like to paraphrase a famous quotation: “There are three things which are not reconcilable: intelligence, decency and Fidesz. One can be intelligent and a Fidesz follower. Then one is not decent. One can be decent and a Fidesz follower. Then one is not intelligent. And one can be decent and intelligent. Then one is not a Fides follower.“
It’s as simple as that.

Paul
Guest

Nicely put, Minusio.

John G
Guest

Oh for the love of all that’s holy! why does anybody take anything “Kevin Moore” or his multiple future re-incarnations says seriously and actually engage him in a dialogue? Let him spout his ad hominem invectives. Once he finds no takers for his bait he will quit. His style of discussion belongs in a lebuj. We don’t have to follow him there.

John G
Guest
I wouldn’t celebrate too much about Gyurcsany having ducked the handcuffs just yet. Come hell or high water, Fidesz will find a way to put him in jail. Unless…. I read a survey as to when that is to be expected. The most number of votes was cast for ” 5 years ago, retro-actively”. While that is quite humorous, people’s reaction to the survey shows that there are enough cynics still left in Hungary today to make things interesting for Fidesz. I suspect there are many people who are fully aware of what’s going on today in the New Canaan. Most suspect that the real fight will begin when the EU presidency will have expired next summer. Everyone’s keeping their powder dry until then. On both sides. Or as the Jazz singer said “You ain’t seen nuttin’ yet!” Weather Gyurcsany goes to jail or not, and why he has not as yet, I expect, has more to do with external forces than Fidesz’ efforts. Under the current government people have been jailed for little less than “suspicion”. If Gyurcsany is still out of jail it has nothing to do with legalities. How long Gyurcsany’s many friends outside of Hungary (he… Read more »
whoever
Guest

John G, it’s not just under the current government that people have been arrested under ‘suspicion’. Compare the police powers in Hungary with those in the UK, if you want to put things in perspective.
For goodness sake, can people calm down a little? By all means oppose Fidesz. I and many others would agree with a reasoned criticism, but I don’t think it’s quite as grim as you and others are portraying. Any investigation into MSZP members is justified, given the apparent corruption at high levels. If Gyurcsány hasn’t done anything wrong, they won’t get him. As for others… the same applies.
The media law is enough to oppose in itself. The opposition needs to try to detach the more moderate members of Fidesz from the shaky, badly-thought policy basis which underscores much of their ‘programme.’ By doing this, they will begin to recover credibility with the wider population. Being forced into antagonistic positions defending individuals only heightens the bitterness. Think strategically…

Minusio
Guest

Whoever: Dream on. The train has already left to another destination. And as for corruption, the first really corrupt government was the first Fidesz government. But memories are short, and the socialists failed to hammer any political capital of this, a failure Fidesz did not repeat. So far the number of people formally accused or even sentenced seems to be minimal, although the then ‘illoyal’ opposition strafed the socialists with wave after wave of bloody attacks and scandalous stories. Something the socialists were too stupid to handle.
Orbán wants Gyurcany in jail because he can never forget the humiliation at his hands in that famous TV debate.

Odin's Lost Eye
Guest
Mr Minusio you have written ** “Orbán wants Gyurcany in jail because he can never forget the humiliation at his hands in that famous TV debate.” ** I regret I missed that but since I am not a native Hungarian speaker I could only have understood the speaker’s body language. The one of the problems Orban (the Mighty One) has is an over whelming desire to be at the top of everything. He sees himself standing across Hungary (and later, if he gets his way, across Europe) like a giant bronze colossus. To leave such a footprint in history that can never be erased. Others, who have done this were those who did it by pure infamy (Stalin, Lenin and Hitler). Orban may well try to resort to infamy, to become the greatest ever. It is a pity that Fidesz rise to power just happens to coincide with Hungary’s turn at the rotating presidency of Europe. I will expect that about April-May the ‘Mighty One’ will summon all the leaders of Europe to Hungary. This will prove, to the Hungarians, beyond all doubt, just how powerful he really is. He however may well make such a fool of himself that… Read more »
Hank
Guest
In support of what whoever says: there are many people within the Fidesz leadership (but outside Orbáns inner circle) who have always been known – also according to many liberal minded persons belonging to the opposition – as fairly decent conservative people. This is true for Semjen, Lázár, Pokorni, Bokros, Rógan, Koltay András (member of the media council and seen as the legal mind behind the new media law)etc etc. OV and his entourage might be aiming for some sort of authoritarian model of democracy (in which they are boss and they get rich), but these people I mentioned are not all mere scheming and conspiring dictators-in-spe. So the interesting questions here are how these people, although democrats in some elementary way, can still go along with all this undemocratic rubbish of the past half year undermining the rule of law? What exactely drives them ideologically and politically? What is their vision of the future? Why are they going along with semi-authoritarian solutions for the time being? Why are they so blinded by hatred for everything liberalish and leftis? Why are they allowing OV and his circle to have such power over them? Only if you start understanding these things,… Read more »
Minusio
Guest

Hank: One explanation of why seemingly decent Fidesz people go along with Orbán’s authoritarian rule can be seen in the genesis of other such systems: it’s fear. Orbán governs by a network of dependencies. And he had enough time to make sure that after eight years everybody owes him some.
I’d also like to refer you back to the quotation I posted December 19, 2010 at 06:58 PM.
BTW, if it becomes necessary to change the entry “form of government” in factbooks, almanachs and Wikepedia, how about “presidential mythocracy”?

Minusio
Guest

Hank, one more thing: The names you mentioned are not all Fidesz, and some are really not decent…

Hank
Guest

“Hank, one more thing: The names you mentioned are not all Fidesz, and some are really not decent…”
I know, I know, Boross is MDF, Semjen is KDNP etc. Let me rephrase. What I meant to say is: “there are many within the higher echalons in and around the right wing government(but outside Orbáns inner circle) who have always been known – also according to many liberal minded persons belonging to the opposition – as fairly decent conservative people.”
As far as fear is concerned: I’m sure this plays a part, but Orbán as a clever super puppet master pulling the strings of dozens of politicians is a bit of a simplistic explanation as far as I’m concerned. And it certainly doesn’t explain why many voters back him, also among the more decent conservative intelligencia.

Odin's Lost Eye
Guest

Hank and Minusio From what I have learned most of Orban’s minions owe, and owe him big time. If at any time ‘The Mighty One’ wishes he can give most of them a long holiday at the Republic’s expense.
I do not think the Might One will start anything until his six months of Glory as the President Of the E.U. is over. Then the sky is the limit for his indecency.

Odin's Lost Eye
Guest

p.s. and has got his tanks!

Member

I am still hoping for some miracle that will take place while Orban will run the EU. The EU will be forced to put a break on him. I cannot imagine he will be able to hold his ground in the EU as he will have no strings to pull, no people to threaten. Will he talk about Trianon to make himself popular? Will he ask everyone to pray?
Let’s face it, Hungary is a small potato for the rest of Europe, and he is doing a great job so far alienating the other members politically, socially, economically. He will neither be the Bully or the Queen Bee he can be in Hungary, I think he will be a “wannabe” the best.

Rigó Jancsi
Guest

K.M.: “I can’t imagine what planet you are living on.”
Surely not on your little globe that only streches from Eperjes to Brassó.

Joe Simon
Guest

Gyurcsány is on record saying that ‘he will crack down on the demonstrators’. How else would a police chief interpret such a statement? Police went ahead and cracked down. Still, I donot think Gyurcsány should be in jail. It was an emergency and he made mistakes. But I do think he should have resigned as demanded by the people.

Mutt Damon
Guest

@Joe Where is that record and what was it in Hungarian?
Thanks.

Odin's Lost Eye
Guest

Joe Simon go and find a fair!

Minusio
Guest
Hi, someone! As I said before, hope dies last. Before we assess the chances of the EU putting a break on Orbán we have to realise three things: (a) The EU badly burnt its fingers when it tried to sanction Austria because it allowed Haider into the government. Meanwhile Haider-speak has become almost respectable everywhere. He was just ahead of his time and much less dangerous than Orbán is. But this experience made the EU reluctant to interfere again. (b) Orbán behaves like the late Arafat. For domestic consumption he is the great leader, busily driving the Hungarian economy against the wall and shreddering what little there was of a Hungarian civic spirit in a democratic setup. Abroad he kisses hands, promises exemplary behaviour and deceives everone about his real intentions. He is immensely aided in his doublespeak by the fact that basically nobody in the EU knows Hungary (and the Hungarian language) except as a tourist on a package tour. Since 1956 and because of its role in opening the iron curtain Hungary still has some emotional bonus. (c) The EU has a lot of other problems to solve. This may reduce the desired attention to what is going… Read more »
Paul
Guest

My understanding of how the legal system works in Hungary (even pre-OV) is that you can be jailed for almost nothing (e.g. just for beimg under suspicion) and then held in jail indefinitely.
So, if OV wanted Gy behind bars, he could put him there any time. I suspect the reason he doesn’t is that it’s not going to look too good if the President of Europe has jailed his opposition leader without trial.
Come July the spotlight will move on and OV can (and will) do anything. If I was Gy, I’d make damn sure I had found a post outside Hungary by then.
Anyone reading anything positive into ‘news’ like this has still got their democtratic glasses on. Time to remove them.

Kirsten
Guest

@John G: Kevin’s ideas are in some way representative of what some people in Hungary think today and why Fidesz has supporters, and because of that to me it does make sense to repeat redundantly that other interpretations of what is going on are available, sensible and “decent”.

Joe Simon
Guest

In a letter to the sub-committee, which Gyurcsány decided not to attend, he admitted giving orders to the police to ‘defend public order firmly’. Demonstrators were treated as ‘vermin’ by police, mistreated,etc. Gyurcsány never followed up as to how the police was acting on his orders. Ultimately he is responsible for police actions.

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