György Matolcsy and Goldman Sachs: November 17, 2011

Exactly a month ago I wrote a post about Helga Wiedermann’s forthcoming book under the title “‘Secrets revealed’: Memoirs about the financial attacks on Hungary.” Wiedermann, about whom nobody knew much, turned out to be György Matolcsy’s chief-of-staff when he was minister of national economy. At the time I had to rely on a fairly lengthy excerpt from the book that appeared in Magyar Nemzet because the book was set to be released only about three weeks later. The excerpt concentrated on the heroic work of Matolcsy against bankers, speculators, and western politicians who wanted to see Hungary in ruins and Viktor Orbán toppled. Since then the book has reached bookstores, and now the talk is about something else: the incompetence and irresponsibility of György Matolcsy.

So, what happened? Chess and Poker: Chronicle of the Victorious Battles of the Hungarian Economic War of Independence was released with great fanfare on March 11. Present at the book signing were Viktor Orbán and György Matolcsy as well as members of the Monetary Council. We learned that the idea of writing a book about Hungary’s economic battles came from Viktor Orbán himself. He thought that the Hungarian people should know more about the heroic efforts “we undertook together in defense of the country.” György Barcza, who used to be a respected financial analyst at ING Bank, today is the editor-in-chief of Napi Gazdaság, recently acquired by Századvég, an economic and political think tank close to the government. At the book signing Barcza hailed Chess and Poker as a reference book on how a government should negotiate with the IMF. He emphasized the importance of “economic independence” and cited Turkey and Russia as good examples.

But after the high-profile book launch people went home and actually read the book. And this is where the troubles started. It didn’t take long to discover that one of the leaders of Hungary’s war of economic independence committed a serious indiscretion if not a criminal act. On November 17, 2011, four hours before the Hungarian government’s official announcement that it had after all decided to turn to the IMF for a loan, Matolcsy had lunch with three representatives of Goldman Sachs. He told them that in the morning the Hungarian government had approached the IMF for a loan. According to the detailed description of Wiedermann, one of the three visitors immediately excused himself to go to the rest room, not to relieve himself but presumably to inform, directly or indirectly, Goldman’s forex trading desk of this piece of news. The lunch, Wiedermann recounts, was unusually short. The guys from Goldman had gotten their inside information and presumably had more follow-up work to do.

The EUR/HUF chart from that day shows the immediate buying pressure after Matolcsy’s indiscretion. When the official announcement was made at 3:52, forex traders not privy to its early “release” piled on. There were thus two waves of buying, with the early buyers having a decided advantage.

Teletrade

Source: www.index.hu

Matolcsy, who a couple of days earlier had been praising the book as an accurate chronicle of events, found himself in an uncomfortable position. He changed his tune and now claimed that “Helga Wiedermann wrote nothing but fiction in her economic novel. Naturally the head of the National Economic Ministry did not inform the investors about Hungary’s plans concerning the IMF. Instead he told them that this was one of the possible options.” This is pretty much of an admission as far as I’m concerned.

There are many questions one can pose in connection with this sorry affair. In my post a month ago I set forth the possibility that György Matolcsy himself may have written the book, at least in part. After all, Helga Wiedermann was not present at many of the meetings she talks about in detail. But whatever Matolcsy’s role in writing the book, I think one can be certain that he read the manuscript before it went to press. The scene at the restaurant with the Goldman Sachs people is quite detailed:

After ordering, Matolcsy mentioned in passing that at 8 a.m. he had informed the IMF delegation that Hungary is beginning negotiations with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. Moreover, we already sent the letter to Washington and Brussels. The butter knives froze in the hands of the guests. One of the guests immediately said that he was in need of a restroom and got up. It is not known how many telephone calls he made, but after he returned they finished lunch in record time. Instead of the normal one and a half hours, they finished all the courses in 40-50 minutes.

After this meeting Matolcsy became convinced that all the paranoid rumors were true: the big international investors had launched a life threatening attack against Hungary. What can one say after reading this? Is Matolcsy that ignorant of the financial world in which he is supposed to operate? From the description this seems to be the case, because the message is that Matolcsy thought he had tricked the men from Goldman Sachs into revealing the true intentions of the entire international financial world toward Hungary. This really boggles the mind.

The guys from Goldman did what any smart employee would have done: having received information about an official move of the Hungarian government that hadn’t yet been made public, they rushed to tell their friends in London and/or New York that it was time to buy the forint. There is nothing sinister about this. As Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX Strategy for BK Asset Management, said, “If your biggest Japanese client, who also happens to golf with the governor of the Bank of Japan, tells you on the golf course that BOJ is planning to raise rates at its next meeting, you could go right ahead and buy as much yen as you like.” This is not illegal; there is no such thing as insider trading in the forex market. Moreover, in this case Goldman Sachs’s purchase of forints was not an “attack” on Hungary. In fact, it helped to strengthen the Hungarian currency, which was to the advantage of the Hungarian government.

I think we can safely say that Hungary had an economics minister and today has a governor of its central bank who not only is unqualified but talks too much. Until the news was officially released, it was a state secret which you don’t talk about to anyone, especially not to representatives of Goldman Sachs.

News travels fast nowadays and yesterday at a press briefing by Gerry Rice, director of communications for the International Monetary Fund in Washington, a reporter asked him about this affair.

QUESTIONER: On Hungary, this is kind of a book that came out this week saying that the previous economy minister spoke to Goldman Sachs before making public that it was going to the IMF for a program, and that this resulted in currency trading that some people, rightly or wrongly, are attributing to this sort of speaking in advance to an investment bank. So it just made me want to ask you whether the IMF — obviously there’s Hungarian legal issues that exist or don’t– have any rules on the ministers and governments that it speaks with how they should convey that information? Either if they could trade on it, for example, or if they can convey it to others and then in turn could trade on it?

MR. RICE: I don’t have any information at all on the case you’re referring to, so I don’t have any comment on that. But we do have, of course, confidentiality understandings on information that we would consider confidential in the discussions that we undertake with any authority.

Although the opposition wants to see Matolcsy resign, nothing of the sort will happen. Especially since it would be the task of the governor of the central bank, György Matolcsy, to investigate the case of György Matolcsy, the minister of national economy. The oddity of the whole situation is well illustrated by the fact that the denial of the particulars of the affair came from the Hungarian National Bank, which had nothing to do with it.

61 comments

  1. “The guys from Goldman did what any smart employee would have done: having received information about an official move of the Hungarian government that hadn’t yet been made public, they rushed to tell their friends in London and/or New York that it was time to buy the forint.”

    Fortunately the blogger has zero understanding of economic matters as evidenced by this nonsense. If the sentence was serious by someone serious, then it would constitute an insider trading accusation against the Goldman Sachs firm. The above sentences clearly state that Goldman employee’s acted on the information. While having possession of said information is no crime, trading on it as the blogger claims is in fact a crime.

    Such criminal accusation (if it were made willingly, by someone who understands what they are saying) would be able to damage Goldman’s reputation, standing in business or market value.

    Which in turn would lead to criminal charges against the blogger, or a civil suit to pay damages.

    Goldman Sachs is an interesting position here. In any case I have already notified them about statements of fact on this blog about their company, with the appropriate screen shots of this blog attached.

    Let us hope they will not bring charges in this case and chalk it up to an economic illiterate speaking nonsense. And that’s the lucky case.

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  2. @bank employee: I guess investpedia is wrong, then

    “If your biggest Japanese client, who also happens to golf with the governor of the Bank of Japan tells you on the golf course that BOJ is planning to raise rates at its next meeting, you could go right ahead and buy as much yen as you like. No one will ever prosecute you for insider trading should your bet pay off. There is no such thing as insider trading in FX; in fact, European economic data, such as German employment figures, are often leaked days before they are officially released.”

    http://www.investopedia.com/articles/forex/06/sevenfxfaqs.asp

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  3. bank employee :
    “The guys from Goldman did what any smart employee would have done: having received information about an official move of the Hungarian government that hadn’t yet been made public, they rushed to tell their friends in London and/or New York that it was time to buy the forint.”
    Fortunately the blogger has zero understanding of economic matters as evidenced by this nonsense. If the sentence was serious by someone serious, then it would constitute an insider trading accusation against the Goldman Sachs firm. The above sentences clearly state that Goldman employee’s acted on the information. While having possession of said information is no crime, trading on it as the blogger claims is in fact a crime.
    Such criminal accusation (if it were made willingly, by someone who understands what they are saying) would be able to damage Goldman’s reputation, standing in business or market value.
    Which in turn would lead to criminal charges against the blogger, or a civil suit to pay damages.
    Goldman Sachs is an interesting position here. In any case I have already notified them about statements of fact on this blog about their company, with the appropriate screen shots of this blog attached.
    Let us hope they will not bring charges in this case and chalk it up to an economic illiterate speaking nonsense. And that’s the lucky case.

    Silly

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  4. I hope that if GS find an issue with their name thrown around, they’ll find an issue with the original source of the the information, Helga Wiedermann’s (Matolcsy’s) book that Eva was reporting on.

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  5. I am completely confused. Quote from the article:

    “Goldman Sachs’s purchase of forints was not an “attack” on Hungary. In fact, it helped to strengthen the Hungarian currency, which was to the advantage of the Hungarian government.”

    If the purchase really happened, then the action helped to strengthen the forint as it is written above. Strong forint was something which Hungary badly needed at the time, right? So why is it bad then if this happened, if the result was good for Hungary?

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  6. @bank employee: Dear bank employee. LOL Eva (the blog) is actually talking about a book that was published by the request of Viktor Orban via Matolcsy. Eva simply letting us know what the book claims. We will be discussing all the possible outcomes for Hungary of Matolcsy’s (and Orban’s) incompetence. Since at one point Matolcsy and her writer, Wiedermann said that the book is true, we, you and everyone else has every right to discuss it and play along with the possibilities. At the same time we wish you luck (honestly) to make Goldman take actions against the Hungarian government accusing them of illegal practices. Please, do come back and tell us what will they do against Matolcsy and Wiedermann.

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  7. An, the link you posted has a full denial of the whole thing:

    Pleschinger “who had been present at that business lunch, was asked about the validity of that story.

    “Contrary to what Helga Wiedermann’s novel ‘Chess and Poker’ no confidential or insider information had been revealed during the business lunch, and so it had never been said either that Hungary turned to the International Monetary Fund or the European Union,” Pleschinger, an external member of the Monetary Council, told origo.hu. ”

    this just makes it more confusing to follow this story. Can’t it be somehow looked up exactly what type of trades took place that day? And what was Goldman trading exactly during that day? It is a very narrow time period to look up as probably the exact names of persons who participated in the lunch on Goldman’s side.

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  8. @bank employee

    “Let us hope they will not bring charges in this case…”

    So, let’s examine this so-called ‘bank employee’, shall we: he hopes that no charges are brought yet he’s the one attempting to instigate some action by sending in parts of the blog…
    How does this fit together? Perhaps the intent of all this is later in the sentence: “… chalk it up to an economic illiterate speaking nonsense.” Aha! This is it: the writer wants to discredit
    the writer. How sneaky. Troll ‘porkolt’, anyone?

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  9. “bank employee”?
    Once again a lousy attempt to discourage anybody, but particularly Eva to publish anything about the total dilettantism of the ruling “elite” of Hungary, hoping to keep secret, that the bragging idiots proudly disclosed themselves again.

    Just how stupid one really must be to do so?

    One thing what Hungary really does “perform better”, the number of self possessed, delusion of grandeur ridden so called politicians.

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  10. blank employee has to learn a thing or two about the Forex market. .Here is the same expert on the matter I quoted in the post:

    “The FX market is different from other markets in some other key ways that are sure to raise eyebrows. Think that the EUR/USD is going to spiral downward? Feel free to short the pair at will. There is no uptick rule in FX as there is in stocks. There are also no limits on the size of your position (as there are in futures); so, in theory, you could sell $100 billion worth of currency if you had the capital to do it. If your biggest Japanese client, who also happens to golf with the governor of the Bank of Japan tells you on the golf course that BOJ is planning to raise rates at its next meeting, you could go right ahead and buy as much yen as you like. No one will ever prosecute you for insider trading should your bet pay off. There is no such thing as insider trading in FX; in fact, European economic data, such as German employment figures, are often leaked days before they are officially released.

    –Boris Schlossberg

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  11. kommentelo :

    I am completely confused. Quote from the article:

    “Goldman Sachs’s purchase of forints was not an “attack” on Hungary. In fact, it helped to strengthen the Hungarian currency, which was to the advantage of the Hungarian government.”

    If the purchase really happened, then the action helped to strengthen the forint as it is written above. Strong forint was something which Hungary badly needed at the time, right? So why is it bad then if this happened, if the result was good for Hungary?

    Because an official who swore to secrecy mustn’t tell people about the plans of the government even if in this case it didn’t hurt the the Hungarian economy. But it could have if, for example, the government decided to raise the interest rates and Matolcsy told someone about it a day before.Then those in-the-know would start selling forint. Result can be devastating.

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  12. I’m sure @BankEmployee is getting paid to monitor what is written on this blog and make similarly inane comments in (lame) defense of a completely corrupt and largely incompetent (but not so incompetent that they haven’t assured their victory in the next election) regime.

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  13. THe interesting question is how much money can Matolcsy or Fidesz make by leaking such info? I wish there would be a chart about some of the Fidesz buddies Forex trading activities around that day. If Matolcsy claims that he could easily blurt out such comments (As he obviously has no idea that this is a “no”) I would love to see his circle of fiends Forex transactions for the last three years.

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  14. karmester :

    I’m sure @BankEmployee is getting paid to monitor what is written on this blog and make similarly inane comments in (lame) defense of a completely corrupt and largely incompetent (but not so incompetent that they haven’t assured their victory in the next election) regime.

    the funny thing is that BankEmployee didn’t read the article very carefully. I specifically said that Goldman Sachs did not nothing wrong. Therefore, it would be very funny if they tried to sue me for something I didn’t accuse them of.

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  15. Some1 :
    THe interesting question is how much money can Matolcsy or Fidesz make by leaking such info? I wish there would be a chart about some of the Fidesz buddies Forex trading activities around that day. If Matolcsy claims that he could easily blurt out such comments (As he obviously has no idea that this is a “no”) I would love to see his circle of fiends Forex transactions for the last three years.

    Given Matolcsy’s history, I doubt very much if he was trying to be clever, or that his mates even knew what he was doing. He was just being his usual bombastic, stupid self.

    In true dictatorial style, Orbán has surrounded himself with idiots.

    This could be our one hope for the future. Were Orbán to succumb to an act of God, there would be no competent successor. Fidesz would soon lose all credibility as it collapsed into internal feuding, and the country headed for financial collapse.

    The way things are, with our gloriously incompetent ‘opposition’, the only hope for Hungary is if Fidesz shoot themselves in the foot.

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  16. Paul :
    A bit OT, but worth a read.
    What makes this especially interesting is that it’s from Australia:
    Democracy distorted in Hungary
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lawreport/5315660

    I love the subtitle: “Ultra-nationalism, anti-Semitism, censorship and violent intimidation: Michael Shirrefs reports on how Hungary went from having one of the most admired legal systems in the world to the most worrying symbol of democratic decline in Europe.”

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  17. Bank Employee is actually right on one thing: it would be indeed insider trading if it was true and if it could be proven (of course we know that investments banks have never acted upon insider info – this would be the first case, right?). From then on though his (assuming he is a he) comments are a free fall straight into the abyss. The accusation is clearly made in the book itself and this blog was just dissecting it. No one (especially GS) is/are going to sue a private blog commenting on a book. On the other hand, I’m hoping that they are going to bring everything they have out against the book’s authors and their backers. They are not going to be stupid to do this openly though. If there has not been a coordinated international effort to bring this non-sense to an end, I’m hoping there will be now. Our only hope – as Paul mentions – is that this circus of clowns really shot themselves in the foot this time (opposition? – what opposition?).

    GS should just buy and annex the whole country. It would not necessarily lift the ethical standards of the country but at least would bring in some efficiency and money …. Wait! The Russians did the former already. And going to annex a country next door on Monday …

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  18. Shinobi :
    Bank Employee is actually right on one thing: it would be indeed insider trading if it was true and if it could be proven (of course we know that investments banks have never acted upon insider info – this would be the first case, right?). From then on though his (assuming he is a he) comments are a free fall straight into the abyss. The accusation is clearly made in the book itself and this blog was just dissecting it. No one (especially GS) is/are going to sue a private blog commenting on a book. On the other hand, I’m hoping that they are going to bring everything they have out against the book’s authors and their backers. They are not going to be stupid to do this openly though. If there has not been a coordinated international effort to bring this non-sense to an end, I’m hoping there will be now. Our only hope – as Paul mentions – is that this circus of clowns really shot themselves in the foot this time (opposition? – what opposition?).
    GS should just buy and annex the whole country. It would not necessarily lift the ethical standards of the country but at least would bring in some efficiency and money …. Wait! The Russians did the former already. And going to annex a country next door on Monday …

    In many jurisdictions insider trading rules do not cover (or did not cover at that time) that kind of transaction. It would be absolutely normal to trade on that info by GS, after consulting their compliance officer, which I am sure they did.

    It was not an attack, it was just a quick trade by the relevant trader to make some money that day. It worked — thanks to Mr. Matolcsy.

    There is no better evidence than the chart above. It’s a smoking gun evidence, if there ever was one.

    Not that it would be too relevant, but Widermann also seems to be Matolcsy’ (former) girlfriend.

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  19. “In many jurisdiction” – what you are describing above is the very definition of insider trading, in any jurisdiction GS operate (not sure about their dealings in Zimbabwe though);
    “It would be absolutely normal” – not going to disagree here. It would be absolutely normal, for GS :);
    “after consulting their compliance officer” – no compliance officer in his/her right mind would authorize such a trade, risking a backlash, for the “quick” profit of a trader. Don’t think we are talking about a volume here that would have brought GS to its knees should it have gone south. Not that I think there was any compliance officer ever consulted.

    Anyway, I’m hoping I’m wrong. I’m also hoping they’ll challenge the incompetent co-author/love-bird duo because they would win, regardless of the truth :).

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  20. The tricky part is that in Forex trading there is no “insider trading” as simply there are no insiders. Insider trading in the form of currency can only happen when selling security. Simply said if anyone dumped or purchased Hungarian Forint based on any info received from Matolcsy that is not insider trading. There are no insiders in the currency market. At the other hand Matolcsy would be in “breach of his fiduciary duty or other relationship of trust and confidence, while in possession of material, nonpublic information about the Hungarian government’s actions.

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  21. Shinobi :
    “In many jurisdiction” – what you are describing above is the very definition of insider trading, in any jurisdiction GS operate (not sure about their dealings in Zimbabwe though);
    “It would be absolutely normal” – not going to disagree here. It would be absolutely normal, for GS :);
    “after consulting their compliance officer” – no compliance officer in his/her right mind would authorize such a trade, risking a backlash, for the “quick” profit of a trader. Don’t think we are talking about a volume here that would have brought GS to its knees should it have gone south. Not that I think there was any compliance officer ever consulted.
    Anyway, I’m hoping I’m wrong. I’m also hoping they’ll challenge the incompetent co-author/love-bird duo because they would win, regardless of the truth :).

    Shinobi, I agree that the GS trades do seem to be covered by insider trading rules, at least that is a natural reaction to assume so.

    Having said that, in Hungary, to use one admittedly imperfect example, it is still not covered (see: section 410 of Act C of 2012 on the criminal code).

    That is because the insider trading in Hungary, according to this brand new law, covers only ‘financial instruments’ (the term was obviously taken by the Hungarian Criminal Code from the Market Abuse Directive although it is separately defined in the Criminal Code).

    Since spot fx transactions (among other instruments and transactions) are (were) not covered by the definition, the alleged transactions were not covered (at least it would not have been in Hungary).

    In fact it seems to me that the EU is still just proposing a new directive to harmonize criminal sanctions against various abusive transactions (abuse of benchmarks, commodities etc.). That implies that the current member state laws which cover the legal area diverge.

    Now I did not do a research for this post and I am not familiar with English etc. laws, but what I wanted to say was that it is far from clear that this transaction was covered.

    http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-14-78_en.htm?locale=en

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  22. OT – but important

    Remember when we talked about that no Hungarian authority has jurisdiction to investigate the forged signatures which were used to get pseudo-parties on the ballot (to confuse voters) and thereby receive state funding?

    It turns out that ironically a signature of one of the local canvassing board (election board) member was forged and – along with his personal data like address – was used for not less than five separate party recommendation sheets.

    Unfortunately, though, nobody may find out whether his or her signature was forged (used unlawfully in these party recommendation sheets) because – says the authority – “that would mean too much work for the local election boards”.

    This is the resolution of the Data Protection Authority, which abruptly replaced the independent Data Protection Ombudsman when the new “Basic Law” was approved by Fidesz.

    The Authority is of course headed by a tried and loyal Fidesz soldier, named Attila Peterfalvi, who is rumored to be closeted, which kinda fits his position.

    Anyway, that is Hungary in 2014, where authorities serve the citizens.

    Of course these pseudo-parties were encouraged and incentivised by Fidesz which promised to protect them and it seems Fidesz stands true to its word.

    http://index.hu/belfold/2014/03/14/naih_nem_tudhatjuk_meg_hogy_melyik_partok_eltek_vissza_a_nevunkkel/

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  23. “Goldman Sachs is an interesting position here. In any case I have already notified them about statements of fact on this blog about their company, with the appropriate screen shots of this blog attached”

    Hee! Hee! That’s Ms Wiedermann’s goose well and truly cooked then;) Let’s hope GS go gentle on her and take into comsideration that as is the case with her erstwhile boss/lover it is obvious that she has more than a few screws loose.

    It is quite possible that Matolcsy did write this *fiction* and it is also more than likely that he and Orban really did not understand the implications of what they wrote. As I said previously, in the area of economics they are truly morons.

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  24. The admired Kossuth-Deak Hungary 1848 was turned into the lawlessness of Fidesz 2014.

    It is time to go back to the best human rights concepts of April 1848.

    Let us pay our respect to those Titans.

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  25. Eva: Would it possible to remove posts from trolls who use different user names over and over again and keep repeating the same darn discredited information again and again and again.

    I wanted to reply in detail to “Gone with the wind” about all the corruption of Fidesz, the legislation Fidesz brought in about money laundering to legalize the Fidesz mafia millions, the Fidesz building that was sold under suspicious circumstances, the freud committed by Fidesz’ Scmitt Pal who Orban put is a president, the incompetency of Matolcsy (and his misleading the Hungarin public), the Orban’s Azeri axe murderer’s affair, the extras hired by Orban to make him look popular, the secret tenders where Fidesz gave millions of Euros to Fidesz best friend’s, Simicska’s company, the “solid” basic law that Fidesz keeps rewriting, making Hungary a laughing stock on the International scene, the Fidesz privatization (stealing) of millions of forints from retirement savings and loosing the money, the awards that Fidesz gave out to anti-semites, the revisionism attempts by Fidesz, Orban’s peacock dance where he sucks up to the EU for fun and profit but rewards those who march against the EU, how Orban holds back info about how much money the EU gave to Hungary (much to Simicska via Fidesz), how the whole Oszod speech deal as it turns out was organized by Fidesz to bring down the government at the time and how they lied about it.

    I can go on Eva, and the above info misses all the details. If we have to reread all the troll accusations over and over, you see I would need to reply in detail as I do 90% of the time quote, and post a valid link to a valid, factual information. Unfortunately this would take up hundreds of lines of valuable space for valuable discussion.
    Please consider removing repetitive troll posts. I am not saying that do not allow diverse opinion, for the contrary, let discussion go on various subjects, but please, please, please do not allow the same stuff to pop up over and over again. (Can we limit the user names to two words also?)

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  26. OT:
    Zsuzsa Ferge: Three millions for sure live worst then four year ago
    “Social mobility is only awarded to those who have demonstrated their loyalty to the [Fidesz] government.”
    Fidesz promised a million of new jobs.
    “110,000 more people are employed now than in 2010, although it is unclear how many received employment through the government’s public works scheme.” and outside the border!
    “long-term employment […] shrunk by 70,000 jobs. At the same time, the number of jobs for indefinite periods has grown by 130,000. Over the past three years 30,000 full-time jobs in the private sector have disappeared but have increased in the public sector by 20,000. Fidesz’s promise to create jobs was in private sector employment. ”

    “The welfare system’s database shows that poverty rates significantly spiked between 2011 and 2012: those living in poverty grew by 4 per cent (of the total population) and the number of children living in poverty grew by 20 per cent.”

    ” Hungary’s top 10 per cent have enjoyed a significant growth in incomes, while incomes in the bottom 10 per cent have declined – a 900 per cent difference in income separates the two groups.”

    http://www.atv.hu/belfold/20140311-harom-millioan-biztosan-rosszabbul-elnek-mint-negy-eve
    http://budapestbeacon.com/public-policy/zsuzsa-ferge-offers-troubling-insight-hungarian-society/

    Now dear trolls, those above are factual informations!!!!
    Zsuzsa Ferge:
    -professor of Sociology at Eotvos University
    -founded the first department of social policy in Hungary in 1989, becoming a Professor Emeritus from there in 2001.
    – visiting professor at French, English, American etc. universities. She is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, of the European Academy, and the European Academy of Yuste, and has a honorary degree from Edinburgh University. She has published fifteen books.

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  27. Opposition demonstration cancelled because the Institute of Meteorology announced an alert of dangerously high winds. When Orbán spoke this morning everything was calm and sunny. Now, suddenly dangerously high winds. I wonder.

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  28. If there is active censorship of comments it might be a good idea to outline the reasons or some general guidelines. Otherwise it can be intimidating for new readers and create a chilling-effect and self censorship.

    What seems to be the problem with tolerating differing opinions, we are stronger than this. Censorship without reason or explanation is a Fidesz tactic and we should not embrace it so hastily and without giving proper reasons. And having consistency is also important, just in this discussion a commenter was calling the author an “economic illiterate” and essentially threatened to facilitate some sort of nastiness against the author. Seems like the perfect candidate for a comment to be removed, but it was allowed to stay. All I’m saying that giving proper reasons is important because people who read the discussion later will not see the comment and just see that if they “step over the line” they will get smacked. But what good is it for them if they don’t know where the line is.

    Of course everyone is entitled to censor as much as they want on their own blog but it would be common courtesy towards the readers to offer the guidelines based upon which their comments may be removed.

    Sorry if I take free speech issues a bit too seriously but I think this is what makes us different from the other side.

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  29. Eva S. Balogh :
    Opposition demonstration cancelled because the Institute of Meteorology announced an alert of dangerously high winds. When Orbán spoke this morning everything was calm and sunny. Now, suddenly dangerously high winds. I wonder.

    Local time Szentendre: estimate wind power 5 – 7 mild to heavy rain. This morning up to noon no rain, clouded and wind power 4- to 5.

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  30. LPP :
    If there is active censorship of comments it might be a good idea to outline the reasons or some general guidelines. Otherwise it can be intimidating for new readers and create a chilling-effect and self censorship.
    What seems to be the problem with tolerating differing opinions, we are stronger than this. Censorship without reason or explanation is a Fidesz tactic and we should not embrace it so hastily and without giving proper reasons. And having consistency is also important, just in this discussion a commenter was calling the author an “economic illiterate” and essentially threatened to facilitate some sort of nastiness against the author. Seems like the perfect candidate for a comment to be removed, but it was allowed to stay. All I’m saying that giving proper reasons is important because people who read the discussion later will not see the comment and just see that if they “step over the line” they will get smacked. But what good is it for them if they don’t know where the line is.
    Of course everyone is entitled to censor as much as they want on their own blog but it would be common courtesy towards the readers to offer the guidelines based upon which their comments may be removed.
    Sorry if I take free speech issues a bit too seriously but I think this is what makes us different from the other side.

    This is not a free speech issue and if a comment was removed, I’m sure there were good reasons for it.

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  31. @Some1.

    I’ve read that social/economic inequality in the OECD is highest in Hungary, there’s a lot of info on that available in the net:
    http://www.socialwatch.org/node/13997

    The following has some interesting observations – but only until 2009:
    http://inequalitywatch.eu/spip.php?article91&lang=en

    And really interesting:
    “Hungary ranks low among OECD countries on some well-being indicators since both income inequality and poverty increased substantially between 2009 and 2012, the OECD said. In 2012, more than 25% of Hungarians lived amid severe material deprivation–as measured by the OECD, followed by less than 20% in crisis-stricken Greece and less than 10% on average among the EU-15–the older members of the European Union, the OECD said.”
    http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20140127-701853.html
    I had the original source for this, but right now I can’t find it, maybe later …

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  32. LPP :
    If there is active censorship of comments it might be a good idea to outline the reasons or some general guidelines. Otherwise it can be intimidating for new readers and create a chilling-effect and self censorship.
    Sorry if I take free speech issues a bit too seriously but I think this is what makes us different from the other side.

    The “opinion” that was removed was a lengthy “same as before” non-relevant mumbling by somebody. It had no relevance to the current subject, it was not even an OT comment. It was posted on previous threads, and it clear purpose was the distract the readers of the blog, who will tune out after reading the same noon-factual garbage over and over again.

    Eva does not try to limit who can post what and where, simply tries to clean HER blog from the clutter, obstacles, and garbage that are in the way of real and meaningful exchange of opinions. Freedom of speech and opinion is wide open WordPress for anyone who wish to publicize any information, at any length on their own blog on wordpress.
    Example my opinion about if Orban should have a goldfish collection or not because of his political stance should be removed by Eva, especially if I would repost it it great length over and over again. It is my right to express my opinion about the subject, but it is not my right to do it on this blog.

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  33. “When Orbán spoke this morning everything was calm and sunny. Now, suddenly dangerously high winds”

    He now controls the weather alongside the media, judiciary etc?!!
    Just back from the Varosliget with the dog and with the way the weather is going, if I were a Jobbik/Fidesz fascist heading for their rally, I would be somewhat perturbed that I might be blown into the Danube.

    With regards free speech, Professor Balogh runs this blog, unlike Hungarian state tv it is not funded by taxpayers money- if she wants to ban idiots then it is 100% up to her. It is up to the reader whther they continue reading or not.

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  34. Eva S. Balogh :

    An :
    @kommentelo: look at the chart, somebody was trading the forint before the official announcement.

    The chart is quite telling. Doesn’t matter what P. says.

    If it were stocks being traded that chart alone would have sparked an investigation in a properly regulated environment. Price charts are regularly correlated with announcements and trades monitored precisely to prevent this type of trading with stocks.

    That said, FX markets are indeed very lightly regulated. However direct efforts to “manipulate” will bring security regulators to your door step (and into your trading practices). But, this is not an act of trying to manipulate the market but more of one just using information that the markets most likely should have known about anyways. Interest rate directions are generally never a surprise which means markets generally have absorbed the information before the announcement. Just as markets have positioned themselves for Russian annexing the Crimea on Monday and the potential fallout for them doing so.

    I personally owe a lot of thanks to Matolcsy. It’s almost uncanny how he always seems to open his trap at the right time to either save me money or for me to make more than I was expecting to. And right now the government is in a position where the took on a lot of debt at 290HUF/€ and now they can unload it at 305€. That is a pretty nifty trimming of a few points off of those expensive bonds. But don’t cry for the traders, they factored in this type of shenanigans into their decision to buy so they’ll still make out like bandits. The currency will get flipped back to 280-290 when the current set of FX bonds need to be dealt with.

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  35. Did anyone have listened to the Orbán-speech?
    It really something!
    OMG!
    Based on these few minutes at least… I hardly wait to read it too!

    This part of the Orbaniadas is about the “onions of the revolution” and similarly brilliant metaphors…
    (You may better be alone when watching, I warned you!)

    http://index.hu/video/2014/03/15/orban/

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  36. Spectator, I am going to post my comments on the speech shortly. I didn’t say anything about the onions in it but you imagine what I thought when I heard it. Especially when I found out that an onion “szárba szökik.” But what about “televény,” “vajha,” “koldus tarisznyája,” or “keresmény.” I don’t know which one I like best. 😉

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  37. NEED TO ARCHIVE TROLL-FAQ FILES

    Some1 :
    Eva: Would it possible to remove posts from trolls who use different user names over and over again and keep repeating the same darn discredited information again and again and again.
    I wanted to reply in detail to “Gone with the wind” about all the corruption of Fidesz, the legislation Fidesz brought in about money laundering to legalize the Fidesz mafia millions, the Fidesz building that was sold under suspicious circumstances, the freud committed by Fidesz’ Scmitt Pal who Orban put is a president, the incompetency of Matolcsy (and his misleading the Hungarin public), the Orban’s Azeri axe murderer’s affair, the extras hired by Orban to make him look popular, the secret tenders where Fidesz gave millions of Euros to Fidesz best friend’s, Simicska’s company, the “solid” basic law that Fidesz keeps rewriting, making Hungary a laughing stock on the International scene, the Fidesz privatization (stealing) of millions of forints from retirement savings and loosing the money, the awards that Fidesz gave out to anti-semites, the revisionism attempts by Fidesz, Orban’s peacock dance where he sucks up to the EU for fun and profit but rewards those who march against the EU, how Orban holds back info about how much money the EU gave to Hungary (much to Simicska via Fidesz), how the whole Oszod speech deal as it turns out was organized by Fidesz to bring down the government at the time and how they lied about it.
    I can go on Eva, and the above info misses all the details. If we have to reread all the troll accusations over and over, you see I would need to reply in detail as I do 90% of the time quote, and post a valid link to a valid, factual information. Unfortunately this would take up hundreds of lines of valuable space for valuable discussion.
    Please consider removing repetitive troll posts. I am not saying that do not allow diverse opinion, for the contrary, let discussion go on various subjects, but please, please, please do not allow the same stuff to pop up over and over again. (Can we limit the user names to two words also?)

    Completely agree that Professor Balogh should block trolls as soon as they’re detected. But a complementary strategy would also be to post and save TROLL-FAQ response files, and re-post them every time each canonical piece of troll-trash gets posted. Each FAQ could have a self-explanatory name and number, and can be re-posted each time the same point gets raised. It’s almost better to leave the troll-trash up and re-run the FAQ each time, so people see that the same tired points keep being posted over and over… Just name the troll-FAQ in bold the first time you post it, and note the URL of the posting too, so when it pops up again, you can post the FAQ name, the URL, and the full text of the FAQ itself. Worth doing till the election at least. (And make the troll-faq names not only self-explanatory but deservedly derisive too.)

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  38. Stevan Harnad :
    NEED TO ARCHIVE TROLL-FAQ FILES
    Completely agree that Professor Balogh should block trolls as soon as they’re detected. But a complementary strategy would also be to post and save TROLL-FAQ response files, and re-post them every time each canonical piece of troll-trash gets posted. Each FAQ could have a self-explanatory name and number, and can be re-posted each time the same point gets raised. It’s almost better to leave the troll-trash up and re-run the FAQ each time, so people see that the same tired points keep being posted over and over… Just name the troll-FAQ in bold the first time you post it, and note the URL of the posting too, so when it pops up again, you can post the FAQ name, the URL, and the full text of the FAQ itself. Worth doing till the election at least. (And make the troll-faq names not only self-explanatory but deservedly derisive too.)

    Love this idea!

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  39. Hi kyuties! My comput’r in wepair… and a week gone by. I looked back at the blogs posted and appreciated all the logical effort taken by Éva to promote the cause of truth. An effort NOT to be underestimated !!!

    Methinks would be TIME for Word-Press Co. to organize the resulting comments to belong to comments that each answer to.

    Without that you get a seeming mumble-jumble that is MOST difficult to decipher and is COUNTERPRODUCTIVE to the requirements of the most ELENTARY dialogue…

    I know that the above is VERY pertienet and I ask Éva to bear on Word press to design its comment dialogue accordingly. In this day of technical competence it is NOT too much to ask from a concern which is supposed to be committed to DIALOGUE.

    That is my commenty for the day.

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  40. I am deeply concerned that the account of Stevan Harnad was hacked, and taken over
    by a troll. I have concluded that the real Harnad cannot possibly be the poster.
    This is because only a full retard would think that this website (read by 0.00000001% of
    voters within Hungary) actually influences the Hungarian elections. Therefore only
    a retard of this magnitude would demand special defensive action to be put in place
    “until the election”. Never go full retard, that is a basic rule.

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  41. Eva S. Balogh :

    Jean P :
    Who is bank employee working for? Orban´s friends or Orban’s enemy the International Capital?

    He doesn’t know what he is talking about. Most likely a nut.

    That’s what I thought as well, it must be Matolcsy himself!
    After all there was that telltale clue “bank employee” too..

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  42. Eva S. Balogh :
    Spectator, I am going to post my comments on the speech shortly. I didn’t say anything about the onions in it but you imagine what I thought when I heard it. Especially when I found out that an onion “szárba szökik.” But what about “televény,” “vajha,” “koldus tarisznyája,” or “keresmény.” I don’t know which one I like best.

    The whole thing even more frightening when you read it.
    Once I made one of his loud supporters actually read a couple of passages from the very speech what he listened to and was thrilled by.
    He just couldn’t help himself but admitted – when he faced with it black on white, how idiotic it really was, – that he didn’t really get it while listening, just how badly written the speech was.
    That’s what Orbán counting on too as I see it, his people most certainly will get an ‘eargasm’
    just hearing his voice, and a couple of easily digestible buzzwords will do the trick for substance.

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  43. TROLL-FAQ #1: “IS ORBAN’S MEDIA-CONTROLLED HUNGARY IMPERVIOUS TO WORLDWIDE OPINION?”

    Yet another Fidesz Troll wrote:
    …only a full retard would think that this website (read by 0.00000001% of
    voters within Hungary) actually influences the Hungarian elections…

    Orban currently controls most of the TV, radio, billboards, media ad revenue, media laws, constitutional amendments, banks, livelihoods and judicial system in Hungary, but he does not control the Web. Nor does he control the media outside Hungary.

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