“The trial of the year” began: Sukoró

For background I suggest reading a few posts that appeared on this blog in the last couple of years. It would be a good idea to start with “What can happen to investors in Hungary” and continue with “The never ending story of Sukoró.” Moreover, I have the feeling that this is not the last time that we will talk about this land swap that the current government thought could be used to convict Ferenc Gyurcsány in a court of law. That attempt failed, as I reported at the end of 2010.

The media on both the left and the right believe that the real target of the prosecutors is not the five men who are accused of a breach of fiduciary responsibility but Ferenc Gyurcsány. Right-wing publications add the name of Gordon Bajnai. Magyar Nemzet and Barikád, Jobbik’s weekly and Internet paper, agree that the “big fish” weren’t caught and that the wrong defendants are sitting in the courtroom today.

But if the wrong people are being accused, why bother to carry on with this charade? The answer is fairly simple. Fidesz and the right-wing media whipped up such a frenzy over the billions and billions of forints the Hungarian state would have lost if the Sukoró deal had gone through that they couldn’t just shamefacedly admit that they don’t have a case. I’m convinced that if the prosecution had found enough evidence to move against Gyurcsány the five people sitting in a courtroom in Szolnok wouldn’t be in this situation.

But they didn’t find anything on Gyurcsány. The prosecution, however, didn’t just drop the charge that the former prime minister adversely influenced the staff of Magyar Nemzeti Vagyonkezelő (MNV), the office in charge of sales of state properties. They pretty well indicated that they remain convinced that Gyurcsány is guilty but unfortunately can’t prove it.

And they persist. In the current indictment one of the points against the accused is that it was Gyurcsány who instructed the employees of MNV to make a deal that favored Joav Blum, the Israeli-Hungarian businessman who made the mistake of wanting to build a huge wellness and casino complex in Hungary.

The very idea that the alleged instigator (Gyurcsány) was not found guilty by the same prosecutors who now in the case against the officials of MNV use his person as proof of abrogation of fiduciary duties is more than bizarre.

I also would like to call attention to the fact that the case is being tried not in Budapest but in Szolnok, allegedly because it is such a complicated case and the Budapest court is overworked. The truth is that Tünde Hagyó, the head of the Judicial Office, seems to move “political” trials to courts where the judges may be sympathetic to the government and rule accordingly. The trial of former deputy-mayor of Budapest Miklós Hagyó was moved to Kecskemét. This trial, which is potentially even more politically important to Fidesz, also had to be moved out of the capital.

In order to show how complicated the case is, the prosecutors collected 40,000 pages of material. However, according to Miklós Tátrai, one of the accused, there are probably only about 3,000 pages that have anything to do with the case. The same testimony is sometimes repeated fifteen or sixteen times. The evidence includes the testimony of 150 people, most of whom have no connection to the case at all. For example, the prosecutors interviewed a neighbor of Joav Blum, who testified that he was a very nice man and took part in the activities of the small community of Sukoró, participating in table tennis competitions. Tátrai even found a recipe for cookies that was on one of the computers that the police confiscated.

Another peculiar aspect of the “investigation” is that the prosecution never bothered to get in touch with Joav Blum, the man who was supposed to be the beneficiary of the officials’ breach of fiduciary duty.  The prosecution also has no proof that the accused officials ever received any compensation from Blum for their alleged “favor.” So, as one of the accused said in a television interview, they must have decided to cause financial damage to the Hungarian state just for the heck of it.

After reading the 30-page indictment, Miklós Tátrai, former head of MNV, testified. His testimony was long. About eight hours. He accused the prosecution of conducting a political witch hunt. He insisted that what’s going on in Szolnok is a show trial (koncepciós per; a case based on preconception) which naturally the prosecutor in charge of the case denied. He said that show trials can be conducted only against politicians and that, after all, the accused are simply former government officials. A brilliant retort!

Miklós Tátrai and Zsolt Császy in the Szolnok courtroom

Miklós Tátrai and Zsolt Császy in the Szolnok courtroom

Magyar Nemzet is very dissatisfied. The editors want to know when they will start questioning Ferenc Gyurcsány and Gordon Bajnai. That might take awhile. The prosecutors have more than 100 scheduled witnesses. The prosecutors are obviously longing for someone to point the finger, inadvertently or with a little government prodding, at the former prime ministers.

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Member

Let me clarify. THis case is on what loss COULD OF occurred. There were no actual loss, the deal DID NOT HAPPEN. How much is the ACTUAL cost that Hungarians have to pay for this hypothetical Kafkaesk drama? There are people are working on this and the affiliated cases for years now. How many work hours takes just to put together 40,000 pages?
At the same time in five minutes they drop the probe against Bayer , as it is not hate speech to call for the killings of gypsies in Hungary.

benhawking
Guest

Reblogged this on The Hagyó Case and commented:
Hungarian Spectrum again writes about the judicial shenanigans which have affected the trial of Miklós Hagyó among others.

“The truth is that Tünde Hagyó, the head of the Judicial Office, seems to move “political” trials to courts where the judges may be sympathetic to the government and rule accordingly. The trial of former deputy-mayor of Budapest Miklós Hagyó was moved to Kecskemét.”

spectator
Guest

Worth watching – sorry, only in Hungarian:

http://atv.hu/belfold/20130109_tatrai_miklos

Gives some more detail and some interesting insight, just how ‘independent’ Justice could become.
I’ve found particularly interesting, how witnesses became accused in order to press them toward implicating Gyurcsány and the others…!

Zokon
Guest
Normally, this would be a straighforward case. The only reason why hundreds of witnesses are involved is to prolong the process way into 2014, so that before the elections people could be condemned. The charges rest on the theory attempt, to essentially cause damages, and an attempt in theory carries the same potential sentences as the committed crime, although the judge will take into account the fact that it was not carried out. It is also a notable thing that regional courts in Eastern-Hungary are much more conservative in the sense that they hand out much longer sentences for the same crimes (HVG wrote articles about this phenomenon). Although statistics cannot differentiate between the crimes, so in theory the Eastern-Hungarian crimes may be more serious. I guess the fact has to do rather with the higher occurences of crimes in the eastern region (which is generally poorer), so that judges want to send a firmer message to criminals, because they are more fed up with crimes than their counterparts in Western-Hungary. In any case there seems to be a disposition to hand out higher sentences. (The Sukuro land plot a the center of the trial is located in Western-Hungary). The… Read more »
a reader
Guest

Éva, you put the wrong family name for the head of the Judicial Office, just fyi. Feel free to delete this comment once you fix the post.

petofi
Guest

This court is proof positive that any relationship between Hungarian society and an adult, western, democratic society…is strictly coincidental.

It is truly cringing to think that professors of law have to witness this and, possibly, explain it to students of law, as the action of a government. Of course, if they weren’t all desperately afeard, some might think to comment on the quality of the law being perpetrated in the Sukoro matter.
Without being an expert in any sense, I think that any American, British, or Canadian court, would heave this case out simply on the grounds of the unprofessional manner of the prosecutorial evidence.

Stevan Harnad (@AmSciForum)
Guest

SHADES OF THE PHILOSOPHER AFFAIR

This is all so reminiscent of the systematic and sinister FUD and harassment campaign mounted against the “Heller Gang” two years ago that first (and belatedly) alerted and eventually drew me (and many others) into the alarming downturn of affairs (and decency) in post-Soviet Hungary. That legal case too was dropped without ever admitting it had all been vicious lies.

http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&lr=&q=harnad%20OR%20Harnad%20OR%20archivangelism+blogurl:http://openaccess.eprints.org/&ie=UTF-8&tbm=blg&tbs=qdr:m&num=100&c2coff=1&safe=active#q=%22Philosopher+Affair%22+blogurl:http://openaccess.eprints.org/&hl=en&lr=&c2coff=1&safe=active&tbo=d&tbas=0&tbm=blg&filter=0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.1357700187,d.dmQ&fp=48377b9099ee92c3&biw=1238&bih=768

petofi
Guest

Stevan Harnad (@AmSciForum) :
SHADES OF THE PHILOSOPHER AFFAIR
This is all so reminiscent of the systematic and sinister FUD and harassment campaign mounted against the “Heller Gang” two years ago that first (and belatedly) alerted and eventually drew me (and many others) into the alarming downturn of affairs (and decency) in post-Soviet Hungary. That legal case too was dropped without ever admitting it had all been vicious lies.
http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&lr=&q=harnad%20OR%20Harnad%20OR%20archivangelism+blogurl:http://openaccess.eprints.org/&ie=UTF-8&tbm=blg&tbs=qdr:m&num=100&c2coff=1&safe=active#q=%22Philosopher+Affair%22+blogurl:http://openaccess.eprints.org/&hl=en&lr=&c2coff=1&safe=active&tbo=d&tbas=0&tbm=blg&filter=0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.1357700187,d.dmQ&fp=48377b9099ee92c3&biw=1238&bih=768

But the powers-that-be know what they’re about. It is all,
blink-blink-blink–message-message-message–jews-jews-jews–money-money-money–theft-theft-theft.

Just another programming of the Pavlovian, attenuated, Hungarian mind.

spectator
Guest

It’s a pefect summary Eva, I just wanted to share the experience of a first person narrative too.
It’s truly frightenig, how the “good ol’ days” sneaking back, more and more, as they feel they’re losing control.
Or this is just another way of “keeping the traditions”?

Ron
Guest
Story Healthy Thinking
Guest
Story Healthy Thinking

When the history will be written, there will be a long record of criminal errors on this era.

Even this will not be sure.

Horthy’s history has been written. Very few dare mention his failures, errors, sins and anti-intellectualism.

Very few people deal, today, with the virtues of Ferenc Deak.

Are most Hungarian giving up thinking due to unbearable stress of being Hungarian?

petofi
Guest

Story Healthy Thinking :
When the history will be written, there will be a long record of criminal errors on this era.
Even this will not be sure.
Horthy’s history has been written. Very few dare mention his failures, errors, sins and anti-intellectualism.
Very few people deal, today, with the virtues of Ferenc Deak.
Are most Hungarian giving up thinking due to unbearable stress of being Hungarian?

Hungarians have been conditioned to ‘give up thinking’
because there is no gain by it.
Profit is to be had by being acquiescent and kissing ass.
Moreover, to be an effective thief, one does not have to be a thinker; one just has to be without scruples.

Guest

London Calling!

O/T

Every time Matolcsy speaks some fool opens his mouth!

Sadly the Forint is diving to about 298 to the Euro – as the market realises that he will be the new NBH Governor.

Pity all those FX mortgage holders who couldn’t avail themselves of Orban’s recent bank raids.

The markets fear that he will print money, inter alia, and severely weaken the Forint.

The election buy-off continues – with pensioners being promised a supplement to their pensions.

And more government redundancies to counter the non-jobs for the unemployed.

Something will have to give soon!

Regards

Charlie

nyaripal
Guest

“Something will have to give soon!”

The Hungarian people. Orbán is punching a wet sponge.

Member

OV just uttered some words in Cyprus EPP Summit.

He expressed something the concise content of wich is the following:
Europe does not know, how to deal with crisis, they should learn from Hungary, a country wich has completed a change of the economic system.
So forget about Finacial Times opinion about the economic qualities of Mr Matolcsy.

http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2013/01/10/hungarys-catastrophic-minister/

(There are rumours about potent Hungarian leaders being in long EURHUF forex positions).

Member

Dénes :
OV just uttered some words in Cyprus EPP Summit.
He expressed something the concise content of wich is the following:
Europe does not know, how to deal with crisis, they should learn from Hungary, a country wich has completed a change of the economic system.
So forget about Finacial Times opinion about the economic qualities of Mr Matolcsy.
http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2013/01/10/hungarys-catastrophic-minister/
(There are rumours about potent Hungarian leaders being in long EURHUF forex positions).

Did you read the comment below the FT article? I guess Matolcsy’s people are at work there or maybe the PR agency Fidesz hired. Most of the info is wrong and spiked with complete lies….

Member

Some1 :

Dénes :
OV just uttered some words in Cyprus EPP Summit.
He expressed something the concise content of wich is the following:
Europe does not know, how to deal with crisis, they should learn from Hungary, a country wich has completed a change of the economic system.
So forget about Finacial Times opinion about the economic qualities of Mr Matolcsy.
http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2013/01/10/hungarys-catastrophic-minister/
(There are rumours about potent Hungarian leaders being in long EURHUF forex positions).

Did you read the comment below the FT article? I guess Matolcsy’s people are at work there or maybe the PR agency Fidesz hired. Most of the info is wrong and spiked with complete lies….

You probaly meant Zolko’s comment, (Thats the only one I coud find)
Its a real success propaganda without real substantition.

One thing is true, debt is formally below 3 %, due to extra taxes imposed on banks, multies, telecommunication companies etc. Together with so called one key taxation, these austerities further debilitate the more defenceless.

Regarding employment data, if someone is working abroad (hundreds of thousands), it contributes to Hungarian emloyment data, which statistical method is different from other countries. Hungarian data are collected on ones own admission.

Member
Dénes : Some1 : Dénes : OV just uttered some words in Cyprus EPP Summit. He expressed something the concise content of wich is the following: Europe does not know, how to deal with crisis, they should learn from Hungary, a country wich has completed a change of the economic system. So forget about Finacial Times opinion about the economic qualities of Mr Matolcsy. http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2013/01/10/hungarys-catastrophic-minister/ (There are rumours about potent Hungarian leaders being in long EURHUF forex positions). Did you read the comment below the FT article? I guess Matolcsy’s people are at work there or maybe the PR agency Fidesz hired. Most of the info is wrong and spiked with complete lies…. You probaly meant Zolko’s comment, (Thats the only one I coud find) Its a real success propaganda without real substantition. One thing is true, debt is formally below 3 %, due to extra taxes imposed on banks, multies, telecommunication companies etc. Together with so called one key taxation, these austerities further debilitate the more defenceless. Regarding employment data, if someone is working abroad (hundreds of thousands), it contributes to Hungarian emloyment data, which statistical method is different from other countries. Hungarian data are collected on ones own… Read more »
Kingfisher
Guest

One wouldn’t shouldn’t be naive: had Sukoró actually come off as a deal, vast amounts of money would have vanished into party pockets (the fact that Veres was in the vicinity pretty much guarantees it). And it is also sadly likely that a deal like this would have led to money going to Fidesz as well to guarantee there would be no problems for the investors come the post-election period. I don’t know how far these backroom deals advanced but I suspect the collapse of the case has more to do with these unofficial dealings than actual innocence of those accused.

Healthy Thinking
Guest

Petofi1 “Moreover, to be an effective thief, one does not have to be a thinker; one just has to be without scruples.”

Eva works very hard to present the Hungarian misery.
Petofi1 has made a very accurate observation.

I would call for a movement to repair this nation.
We all can see a deep crisis, and growing social storm.
Let us look around for partners for repairing our sick nation, before it is becoming a terminal disease.

Member

Kingfisher :
One wouldn’t shouldn’t be naive: had Sukoró actually come off as a deal, vast amounts of money would have vanished into party pockets (the fact that Veres was in the vicinity pretty much guarantees it). And it is also sadly likely that a deal like this would have led to money going to Fidesz as well to guarantee there would be no problems for the investors come the post-election period. I don’t know how far these backroom deals advanced but I suspect the collapse of the case has more to do with these unofficial dealings than actual innocence of those accused.

“had [Sukoro] come off”, “would have”, “would have” You cannot have a trial based on if, could, should, would. Simple is that. Al Capone was charged with tax evasion, not with blackmailing, killing, torture, or hiring others to kill. Put people on trial for things they have done, and you can prove they done it.

Member

Healthy Thinking :
I would call for a movement to repair this nation.
We all can see a deep crisis, and growing social storm.
Let us look around for partners for repairing our sick nation, before it is becoming a terminal disease.

I am sorry, but what the heck are you talking about?

Kingfisher
Guest

Eva, perhaps this case is conjecture but instances of where Gyurcsány/Veres were doing very dodgy deals in cahoots with Fidesz are not. You have my registered email. Contact me if you want more details. I can’t put them up here for obvious reasons.

Member

Kingfisher :
Eva, perhaps this case is conjecture but instances of where Gyurcsány/Veres were doing very dodgy deals in cahoots with Fidesz are not. You have my registered email. Contact me if you want more details. I can’t put them up here for obvious reasons.

Well, then maybe you should contact the right people with your proof and let them bring the culprits to justice. Do you want them to be charged for crimes they committed or not? If not, then do not list the could/should/would. If you want them to be charged then contact the right authorities.

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