The failure of Gyula Budai’s investigations of corruption

I never cease to be amazed at the kinds of people Viktor Orbán can pick for important positions. Among my “favorites” is Gyula Budai, the man entrusted with the investigation of politicians, officials, and ordinary citizens who might have committed fraud at the expense of the public purse.

Budai is one of those men around Fidesz who has rapidly advanced within the party and the government in the last few years. He is one of the many new Fidesz members of parliament who received very important positions in the second Orbán government despite limited administrative and political experience. However, as a lawyer he represented the Magyar Gazdakörök és Gazdaszövetkezetek Szövetsége (MAGOSZ) that was largely responsible for Fidesz’s popularity in the countryside. Moreover, he was one of the organizers of the 2005 farmer’s demonstration against the Gyurcsány government.

At first Budai was one of two commissioners entrusted with the investigation of fraud committed between 2002 and 2010, but after the resignation of Ferenc Papcsák, his co-commissioner, Budai took over all the investigations. Moreover, in January 2012, he was also named undersecretary in the Ministry of Agriculture.

Budai strikes me as a man of decidedly mediocre talents and questionable professional integrity. Shortly after his appointment it was discovered that seven years earlier he had been involved in a contract case that “necessitated” forging the signature of a long dead seller. A few months later it was found that, although Budai was furiously investigating allegedly fraudulent purchases of service apartments by military personnel, he himself bought such an apartment when he was a military prosecutor, a position he filled after finishing law school.

Gyula Budai

In addition to these problems Budai has been singularly unsuccessful at uncovering all those allegedly criminal activities he was entrusted with. The whole country was full of incredible stories of corruption. Even today practically all articles by foreign journalists on Hungary will have a sentence or two about the corruption of the socialist-liberal governments. The problem is that these alleged cases were mostly spurious or at least greatly exaggerated. Fidesz with the help of the prosecutor’s office began investigations and found willing witnesses with whose help they arrested a number of important MSZP politicians whom they kept in jail for years. The Fidesz plan worked splendidly. Some of these spectacular cases greatly helped Fidesz’s political goals. Just as in 1998 when the alleged attempts on the lives of Fidesz and Smallholders’ politicians worked in Fidesz’s favor. Put it this way, I have been suspicious of these alleged crimes for a number of years.

After a year and a half of investigation Budai’s results are meager. He investigated about 50 alleged cases of corruption and he turned to the police asking them to investigate at least 100 times, yet to date there is not a single case where the courts have decided in his favor. Very soon his mandate, which was supposed to last for two years, will be up. Two years and nothing to show for it. In fact, more than two years because the “collection” of cases started way before Budai began his work in November 2010. Among the most important cases he was handled were the Budapest Transit case (BKV), the abandoned project of a government quarters, the Israeli-American investment in a casino, hotel, and wellness club at Sukoró, the privatization of the Budapest Airport, and the purchase of a new building for Magyar Televízió (MTV). None of these cases went anywhere.

Budai targeted Ferenc Gyurcsány and desperately tried to make at least the Sukoró case stick in such a way that the former prime minister’s guilt could be established. This case is still dragging on. At one point he accused Gordon Bajnai and Gyurcsány of perjury. The two former prime ministers sued, but Budai due to his incredibly busy schedule didn’t show up at any of the appointed times to face the charges. He also tried to find corruption in the Ministry of Defense in connection with service apartments that could be purchased by the inhabitants at a low price. However, it turned out that the decision to allow the practice was born during the first Orbán government.

But perhaps Budai’s greatest failure was his investigation of the philosophers who allegedly received half a billion forints in the form of grants. These “rascals,” the charge went, didn’t perform any useful work in return. Some spent the money on useless trips or translations of ancient philosophers’ work that had already been translated into Hungarian. I wrote about this case that caused consternation all over the world for at least two reasons. One, among the accused was Ágnes Heller, who is very well known in international philosophical circles, and two, most of the accused philosophers were of Jewish origin. My first article appeared on January 30, 2011 and a few days later I wrote another in which I pointed out that Magyar Nemzet, which began the witch hunt, refused to abandon its mission of making criminals out of innocent philosophers who received perfectly legitimate grants for perfectly legitimate work.

Meanwhile one philosopher after the other sued Magyar Nemzet and one after the other won against the libelous newspaper. However, Budai went ahead with his case which he found so important that he specifically asked the Budapest prosecutor’s office to investigate the case instead of allowing the police to handle it. The prosecutors investigated and found the accusations entirely unfounded. They dropped the charges.

Interestingly enough, the case that initially received an incredible amount of publicity was dropped in total silence. There was a brief announcement from the Budapest Police, but otherwise not even the involved philosophers were informed that the charges against them had been dropped. Ágnes Heller pointed out that the witch hunt did terrible damage to the reputations of the philosophers and suggested that perhaps Budai should make a public apology for accusing innocent people. Budai naturally refused to apologize.

However unsuccessful Budai has been, his future career is assured since he was also named undersecretary in the Ministry of Agriculture. Keep in mind that he replaced József Ángyán, the man who is currently accusing the Orbán government of passing valuable state lands to friends of Fidesz politicians or supporters of the party. I’m sure that Budai will fulfill all the expectations of Viktor Orbán. There will be no further storm around the lease of state lands as long as Budai is in charge.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Paul
Guest

I’m confused:

“Fidesz with the help of the prosecutor’s office began investigations and found willing witnesses with whose help they arrested a number of important MSZP politicians whom they kept in jail for years.”

From the word “years”, I assume you mean that this predates their election win? So were they able to do this even when MSzP were in charge? Are any of these politicans still in jail?

On a related note – if someone is kept in jail for some time before their case comes to court (as seems common in Hungary), are they entitle to any compensation if found innocent?

Guest

Eva S. Balogh :
”…..Keep in mind that he replaced József Ángyán, the man who is currently accusing the Orbán government of passing valuable state lands to friends of Fidesz politicians or supporters of the party. I’m sure that Budai will fulfill all the expectations of Viktor Orbán. There will be no further storm around the lease of state lands as long as Budai is in charge.”

London Calling!
“This whole farmland competition is a joke. People with no history of farming have won land in this neighborhood… it’s not worth living here anymore.” – Noted Hungarian winemaker Huba Szeremley
http://www.realdeal.hu/20120702/quotable-huba-szeremley-on-government-tenders-for-state-owned-farmland/
Says it all.
Regards
Charlie

Member

Excellent picture! I told to myself “comrade Budai” …

According to the undoubtedly exact science of physiognomy a downturned mouth shows a demanding, obstinate person who is most of the time unhappy. A small mouth indicates a frugal nature. Thin lips can indicate selfishness. Thin lips also indicate impatience that may disregard others feelings. It’s all there on the internet … this is serious stuff.

Oppressive regimes consume a lot of these believer types. They are all hungry for recognition. They are reusable and efficient in anything let it be harassing people for their alleged crimes, being straw men in the government to replace inconvenient (that is showing strange signs of honesty) inquisition or even Katyn. They will do it. Poor Budai should have been born 50 years ago. Doing these services in democracies just isn’t much fun.

They are constantly very convinced of their importance. I remember at the beginning of this year he was complaining about his Audi A6 assigned to him by the ministry. The car was too old and had a few scratches. He had a huge rosary hanging off the rear view mirror. He said the ride was not “representative” enough. What’s next? Hangmen wearing bow ties?

Louis Kovach
Guest

Some years ago, I have read Agnes Heller’s autobiography. At one place she was railing against somebody who wrote (said) that when they moved to NYC they got a phone in days and some two weeks later their name and number was in the NYC phone book. She (Heller) juat about called this person a liar because when she moved to NYC although getting a phone failrly fast her name and number was not listed for close to a year.

Anybody that illogical and stupid does not deserve getting any public funds.
I do not know who the other characters are (were) in her “group”.

buddy
Guest

Louis Kovach :
Some years ago, I have read Agnes Heller’s autobiography. At one place she was railing against somebody who wrote (said) that when they moved to NYC they got a phone in days and some two weeks later their name and number was in the NYC phone book. She (Heller) juat about called this person a liar because when she moved to NYC although getting a phone failrly fast her name and number was not listed for close to a year.
Anybody that illogical and stupid does not deserve getting any public funds.
I do not know who the other characters are (were) in her “group”.

Eh? That’s just a pointless and uninteresting story. It has nothing to do with intelligence, just the different experiences of two different people.

Member

Louis Kovach :
Some years ago, I have read Agnes Heller’s autobiography. At one place she was railing against somebody who wrote (said) that when they moved to NYC they got a phone in days and some two weeks later their name and number was in the NYC phone book. She (Heller) juat about called this person a liar because when she moved to NYC although getting a phone failrly fast her name and number was not listed for close to a year.
Anybody that illogical and stupid does not deserve getting any public funds.
I do not know who the other characters are (were) in her “group”.

Beautiful spontaneous demonstration how the current FIDESZ government relates to talent and chooses what is value what is not. Thank you Lujza!

Member

Louis Kovach :
Some years ago, I have read Agnes Heller’s autobiography. At one place she was railing against somebody who wrote (said) that when they moved to NYC they got a phone in days and some two weeks later their name and number was in the NYC phone book. She (Heller) juat about called this person a liar because when she moved to NYC although getting a phone failrly fast her name and number was not listed for close to a year.
Anybody that illogical and stupid does not deserve getting any public funds.
I do not know who the other characters are (were) in her “group”.

Mr Kovach,
I wonder if you ever crossed the street on red light. Did you? So, you should be fired from your job as you broke the law. You should be arrested as your reckless action put others in danger. You do not deserve to take away any jobs from law-abiding citizens!!!!! I agree with your above demonstrated logic, and wish to apply the same when talking about your achievements (if any). Amen.

Louis Kovach
Guest

Buddy: “That’s just a pointless and uninteresting story. It has nothing to do with intelligence, just the different experiences of two different people”
Phonebooks in th US are published once a year…..

Louis Kovach
Guest

Mutt: “Beautiful spontaneous demonstration how the current FIDESZ government relates to talent and chooses what is value what is not. Thank you Lujza!
It looks like your logic isn’t any better…..

Member

Louis Kovach :
It looks like your logic isn’t any better…..

Touche!

You should see a shrink about your phobia to women with PhDs.

Louis Kovach
Guest

Some1: “Mr Kovach,I wonder if you ever crossed the street on red light. Did you? So, you should be fired from your job as you broke the law. You should be arrested as your reckless action put others in danger. You do not deserve to take away any jobs from law-abiding citizens!!!!! I agree with your above demonstrated logic, and wish to apply the same when talking about your achievements (if any). Amen.”

I sure crossed streets several times against a red light, fully knowing what I was doing. What is the connection? She only violated the law of logic, there are no fines for that…it only describes your mental abilities.

gdfxx
Guest

Well, those of you attacking Mr. Kovach do not understand the deep philosophical importance of someone being or not being listed in a phone book. And probably Budai tried to indict Agnes Heller because of this episode. She should have been found guilty! After all she probably collected at least a billion dollars to do the research for this epochal philosophical discovery (probably the only one Mr. Kovach is familiar with).

petofi
Guest

There is an Alternative Universe and the proof is that UFO’s come to this planet to fill out their pantheon of fools. Presently, they’ve hit the motherlode in Hungary: Matolcsy, Budai,Kover et. al. followed by the legions of Louis Kovachs who are their followers.

Mr. Kovach, prepare to be abducted….

Member

petofi :
Mr. Kovach, prepare to be abducted….

An anal probe is the least they deserve …

Kingfisher
Guest
As a matter of interest, who are the MSZP politicians locked up for ages? I hope you are not thinking of Hagyó… To be fair, when Medgyessy won in 2002, he created a post for Keller László who did pretty much the same sort of thing. And similarly produced nothing tangible either (and no, I don’t think it was because of Polt Péter malign influence.) I was working in a state institution at the time and had an insider’s view on what was going on. There was massive corruption during the Horn administration. Fidesz actually managed to surpass them. And I can assure you that the MSZP administrations just carried on the trend. To imply, as you often do, that the MSZP are being unfairly besmirched is wishful thinking. Even Bajnai was up to no good in some areas. They absolutely deserved to lose the 2010 election on corruption grounds alone and I’m saying this, despite being in Hungarian terms, a left of center sympathiser. Keller and Budai are and were PR exercises. The reason prosecutions don’t happen is partly due to the uselessness of the Hungarian legal process (the K and H / Attila Kulcsár affair was discovered in… Read more »
Turkmenbasi
Guest

Éva, you argue that, ‘The problem is that these alleged cases were mostly spurious or at least greatly exaggerated.’ With respect, this is not the real problem. It is rather that the HUGE corruption cases of the last decade – like the construction of the M6 highway or that of the 4th metro line in Budapest or the reconstruction of Margit bridge – had been JOINTLY conducted by the party treasurers of the Socialists and Fidesz. This is the reason why NOONE asks a single question from Socialist MP Laszlo Puch about these cases where BILLIONS of DOLLARS have been looted.

Széchenyi Antal
Guest

Turkmenbasi :
Éva, you argue that, ‘The problem is that these alleged cases were mostly spurious or at least greatly exaggerated.’ With respect, this is not the real problem. It is rather that the
HUGE corruption cases of the last decade – like the construction of the M6 highway or that of the 4th metro line in Budapest or the reconstruction of Margit bridge – had been JOINTLY conducted by the party treasurers of the Socialists and Fidesz. This is the reason why NOONE asks a single question from Socialist MP Laszlo Puch about these cases where BILLIONS of DOLLARS have been looted.

BILLIONS of DOLLARS??

Széchenyi Antal
Guest

Louis Kovach :
Some years ago, I have read Agnes Heller’s autobiography. At one place she was railing against somebody who wrote (said) that when they moved to NYC they got a phone
days and some two weeks later their name and number was in the NYC phone book. She (Heller) juat about called this person a liar because when she moved to NYC although getting a phone failrly fast her name and number was not listed for close to a year.
Anybody that illogical and stupid does not deserve getting any public funds.
I do not know who the other characters are (were) in her “group”.

It looks rather like your logic isn’t existent…..or are you only a little battle horse of FIDESZ & Co? Reading your postings, devoid of meaning, can make someone oscillating between laughter and anger, depending on the obscure nonsens you are emitting most of the time.

Odin's Lost eye
Guest
In Hungary making an accusation is far far more important than establishing a prima-facie case. The work of Gyula Budai seems to be like mating elephants. That it is done at a very high level and is accompanied by much trumpeting, roaring and bellowing. There is then a long pause and if anything happens it will be comparatively small. Kingfisher your indictment of the whole system is damming. The system and the culture it encourages. You wrote ** “it is because both political sides have very often collaborated behind the scenes in robbing the country bare.” **. To my mind the whole system is broken, badly broken and those within the system will do their dammedist to maintain it for their own benefit both political and financial. The current ‘hoo-hah’ in London over the LIBOR rate was caused by the previous government meddling with the regulative structure. They did so to such a point that neither group of regulators knew what was what and who if anyone was ‘GOD’. Before that caper the Governor of the Bank of England had ultimate power. The Governor could revoke a bank’s Banking License. Exit bankers clucking like chickens. Oh Aye Mr Kovach a… Read more »
Guest

London Calling!

Confused of Upper Norwood!

I totally lost it!

I couldn’t follow trains of thought; logic; or anything.

You really lost me this time.

Kovach again.

Bit rainy here in cool 19º London. Wallpaper’s quite nice.

Regards

Charlie

Member
Louis Kovach : Some1: “Mr Kovach,I wonder if you ever crossed the street on red light. Did you? So, you should be fired from your job as you broke the law. You should be arrested as your reckless action put others in danger. You do not deserve to take away any jobs from law-abiding citizens!!!!! I agree with your above demonstrated logic, and wish to apply the same when talking about your achievements (if any). Amen.” I sure crossed streets several times against a red light, fully knowing what I was doing. What is the connection? She only violated the law of logic, there are no fines for that…it only describes your mental abilities. My mental abilities? bahahaha ..and I was the one who tried to protect you from name calling by others.. Maybe that was my poor mental ability. I guess the doors are wide open now. Kovach, you have no logic. You bring in Ms Heller’s doubts about an issue here. Maybe she was wrong, maybe she was right, but because of it you attack her capability as a philosopher. You crossed the street against the law you admit that above, so with the same logic you apply,… Read more »
Guest

Don’t be too hard on poor Louis – he probably has eaten too much kosher Pick salami …

When I eat that kind of stuff late at night I get real nightmares like dreaming that I’m living in Orbanistan.

petofi
Guest

Mutt Damon :

petofi :
Mr. Kovach, prepare to be abducted….

An anal probe is the least they deserve …

I suppose that’s as good a place as any to look for signs of intelligence.

petofi
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :
I can’t find the quote Louis is talking about. I read the whole chapter on her years in New York and not a word. Perhaps it was mentioned in some other chapter. So, precise reference would be appreciated.

That quote doesn’t sound like Heller. Sounds more like what Magyar Hirlap would ‘report’ about Heller….

Louis Kovach
Guest

Dr Balogh: ” So, precise reference would be appreciated.”

I do not have the book,it was borrowed at the time. I will try to retrieve it. The book had her portrait on front or back and discussed extensively her years in Hungary and the various travles. It ended with the complaints about the thieving at her house in Zala or thereabouts. It was published (or at least I read it) about 10 years ago, if I remember well in Hungarian.
Apparently, all your readership is familiar with Heller’s works, maybe somebody else can assist also.

wpDiscuz