Highway robbery made lawful

A few hours ago Nyugati Fény (Western light), a relative newcomer on the Hungarian blog scene, published an outraged post about a well-hidden change of wording in a bill that allows close relatives of members of the government, the president of the Kúria, the president of the Hungarian State Audit Office, the chief prosecutor, the chairman of the National Bank, and several other dignitaries to participate in bidding for state tenders as long as they live apart from the officeholder. The author of the post predicted that this “brazen robbery” will one day seal the fate of “this gang of college buddies.”

The ruse was discovered by another blogger, who called the new law Lex Tiborcz after Viktor Orbán’s son-in-law, István Tiborcz. I devoted several posts to the highly suspicious business activities of this young man, who recently married Orbán’s eldest daughter Ráhel. Tiborcz’s company won a suspiciously high number of tenders offered by municipalities that had received EU money to modernize their city lighting. Often his company was the only bidder, or the city councils simply favored the son-in-law of the prime minister. Tiborcz’s company, as it turned out, also grossly overcharged the municipalities, or more accurately the European Union, for his services. Currently, the company is under investigation by the European Commission Anti-Fraud Office. Once Viktor Orbán got wind of the investigation, he suggested that his son-in-law sell his share in the company.

The changes in the law that was adopted today are minor on the surface. Just a couple of words: in three places “close relatives” was changed to “relatives living in the same household.” But if before these changes no close relative of a government official could participate in government procurement, how could István Tiborcz win all those tenders that made him a rich man in less than two years? The answer is simple. Since 2011 this is the third set of changes to the law on public procurement. The first one stated that only those who “issued the invitation to tender” and their close relatives were barred from bidding for a public project. Since it was not Viktor Orbán in person who issued the tender, his son-in-law could legally bid for government work.

At the beginning of last month, however, the government decided to tighten the rules governing conflicts of interest. Perhaps an overzealous public servant made the rules far too tight for the taste of this government, which by now many Hungarians consider to be a gang of thieves. The new law excluded all close relatives of the prime minister, members of the government, the president of the parliament, etc. That would have barred István Tiborcz from ever getting another job through public procurement. But someone noticed this egregious error and changed the wording of the law in such a way that relatives–including wives, sons, daughters, sons-in-law, parents, in-laws–as long as they don’t live under the same roof as a member of the government or any of the high dignitaries listed in the law can take part in the public procurement process. So, for Tiborcz and others in his position, the doors are again open to acquire lucrative government business, 90% of which is funded by the European Union.

conflict of interest

At first glance this new legislative package looked as if it dealt only with the reorganization of the National Tax and Customs Office. But, in fact, about 100 articles out of 30 different laws deal with public procurement and other matters. Members of parliament had one day to read the 58-page document, which was only one of several pieces of legislation adopted that day. I’m almost certain that no Fidesz MP bothers to read any of the legislative proposals because, almost without exception, the Fidesz caucus votes unanimously for government or individual Fidesz member proposals. As far as opposition MPs were concerned, they didn’t have to think hard about voting against a law that placed the National Tax and Customs Office under strict political control when András Tállai, a Fidesz MP, undersecretary, and deputy minister of the ministry of national economy, was appointed to be its head. And indeed, MSZP, Jobbik, and LMP MPs voted against the bill. But to everybody’s surprise Gábor Fodor, the sole member of the Liberális Párt, and the four members of Demokratikus Koalíció, apparently by mistake, voted for it.

How could that happen? As I said, several–perhaps as many as twenty–laws were adopted on that day, which were listed as they came up for a vote. László Varju, who was in charge of ensuring that the DK members voted in accordance with an earlier party decision, skipped a page and thought they were voting for an innocuous bill that had something to do with Kazakhstan. Gábor Fodor claims that he just pressed the wrong button. Such a mistake is embarrassing even if Ferenc Gyurcsány pointed out that a simple majority was enough to pass “this disgraceful bill.” In fact, 117 MPs, including the full Fidesz and KDNP caucuses, voted for the bill, which was more than enough to pass it.

The truly peculiar and suspicious aspect of this bill is that it will not become effective as of January 1, 2016 but retroactively from November 1, 2015. The suspicion lingers that there is some “good reason” for that unusual backdating. More than likely some business venture of a relative of somebody important in the government is already underway. Perhaps one day we will find out who the lucky fellow is.

One final comment. Although Zoltán Kovács, the government spokesman, insisted that this law conforms to EU legal norms, I don’t know how this new piece of Hungarian legislation will appease the European Union’s OLAF, which is currently investigating István Tiborcz’s business ventures. Or what OLAF will think when one well-placed relative after the other gets a lucrative job, mostly financed by the European Union. Somehow I don’t think that Brussels will be impressed and applaud the mental acuity of the Orbán government. I can’t believe that it will close its eyes to the incredible corruption of Viktor Orbán and his friends.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Member

Accidentally voted for it. Yeah, right. Retards.

The voting device looks like this. Can they read?

http://tinypic.com/r/eirswo/9

petofi
Guest

Retroactive Laws?
Since when do legitimate parliamentary systems pass such laws?

Guest

The retroactive laws passed by Fidesz will be quoted as precedents by a future liberation government anihilating all Fidesz laws retroactively.

Member

And after rescinding all the Fidesz retroactive ravages, let retroactive legislation itself be rescinded…

Observer
Guest

Since Orban came to power.

Guest

Twenty laws in one day – must be a new kind of record!
Or as I wrote before:

A new law every day keeps sanity away …

Unbelievable, but it seems Hungarians don’t care …

PS:
Might this law also be relevant for those many tobacco shop owners which are relatives of Fiddiks?

bimbi
Guest

Prof. Balogh says:
“I can’t believe that [the EU] will close its eyes to the incredible corruption of Viktor Orbán and his friends.”

No, Prof. Balogh, the EU will not close its eyes to the incredible corruption of the Orbán government. They will be fully conscious of it – but they will still do nothing about it.

This is the sad, sad state we are in. People belonging to a trans-national union that recognizes theft and corruption by governments but is impotent or unwilling to take any action against either governments or individuals and so VO continues on his path towards the title of the Most Significant Politician in the EU in 2015.

bimbi
Guest

Prof. Balogh says:
“I can’t believe that [the EU] will close its eyes to the incredible corruption of Viktor Orbán and his friends.”

No, Prof. Balogh, the EU will not close its eyes to the incredible corruption of the Orbán government. They will be fully conscious of it – but they will still do nothing about it.

This is the sad, sad state we are in. People belonging to a trans-national union that recognizes theft and corruption by governments but is impotent or unwilling to take any action either governments or individuals and so VO continues on his path towards the title of the Most Significant Politician in the EU in 2015.

rózsaszál
Guest
Orban and Lazar are so happy. Merkel will soon be sacked or she will resign and they are pushing for it. There’s no better evidence for this than when Lazar said “Merkel’s sacking is not in Hungary’s interest, after all she always stood by Hungary”. Of course. This statement, now. means two things: either Merkel – as the most influential European politician – always supported the corrupt Orban or at least did not do anything against him and so what Lazar says is true. Knowing that Lazar lies a lot there must be also be an alternative explanation. The CSU friends whisper that Merkel’s ousting is on the agenda (if Tusk went against her so flagrantly then this means that she’s cornered politically and she will soon resign anyway) and Lazar wants to appear the good guy who oh so loves Merkel. I bet Orban will invite the retired Merkel to Hungary who will duly get the grand cross or Szent Istvan order (whichever is the more importnat one) for “her steadfast support of the Hungarian nation”. Merkel’s humiliation will soon start and nobody will be happier than Orban. Don’t say Orban isn’t winning. He certainly feels jolted by the… Read more »
Ibi
Guest

Juncker issued a citation to Tibor Navracsics, commissioner in Brussels, who was openly advocating on behalf of Hungary within the Commission.

http://www.napi.hu/nemzetkozi_gazdasag/itt_az_ujabb_magyar_ugy_juncker_ledorongolta_magyar_biztosat.606885.html

petofi
Guest

Merkel will not be sacked. The Germans have more sense than that.
She will toughen German oversight for the more than 1 million refugees who come, and there’ll be plenty of ‘tough love’ to go around. The refugees will be a boon to Germany. What’s more, there will be much fewer jobs for Hungarian migrants, too.
Just desserts.

As with other difficulties–think Greece–the EU will tough it out, and with their new-found strength, revamp EU laws. Hungary will be relegated to the outer chamber, if not the outhouse…

Guest

I just read an article with an interview of an old friend of mine – she’s an emergency doc, local boss of the Red Cross – and member of the Schwab parliament …

And she cares for the around 600 – 700 refugees/immigrants that live in a shed in a village nearby. Of course there are some who are disappointed – they really believed German is the land of milk and honey. But most of them are very happy to be here and now of course comes the hard work of either integrating them – or send them back, at least this will happen to people who came from the Balkan!

Gergő
Guest

The EU totally accepted the Italian corruption.

In southern Italy the EU funds are being stolen in the same way.

If it’s OK in Italy it will be OK in Hungary too.

Corruption is built in the system, the EU knows it well. There’s nothing special in that.

Only the Hungarian lawyers, law makers are smarter.They already prepare for the very unlikely scenario when Peter Polt won’t cover their asses. The EU people can’t ever catch the boys, they’re way to smart for inane Brussels bureaucrats.

Observer
Guest

Here we go again with the Hungarian virtues:

The dumb Europeans stuck in their naive, hones ways will never catch the thieving Hungarians, ’cause we are smart, so It serves them right.

Memento Lechfeld !

Henrietta Foster
Guest

http://www.politico.eu/list/politico-28/viktor-orban/

A Hungarian friend told me about this ‘award’ this morning. I thought that he was joking or had made a mistake. There are no words for this. Obviously Politico does not subscribe to HS

Observer
Guest
Right. Here is the letter I wrote to Politico Dear Sirs, I wonder what article you would have written about the most influential person in 1939 Europe and his achievements, although most of which were still to explode and thunder in the next few years. Back to hour times and to a smaller scale, you chose to give you top media spot to the political villain of Europe. Acknowledging your attempt to note more aspects of his political career, I still fail to understand how could you use a couple of suggestive sentences to cover what is in fact a historic achievement of Mr. Orbán’s – he easily turned a start up Western type democracy into a fascist -light state without major upheaval. You seem to miss Mr. Orbán second and even greater achievement: he has become the most corrupt PM in Europe and also in the Hungarian history and runs a respectively corrupt regime, which was aptly referred to as the “mafia-state”. To use the simplest of example: Mr. Orbán pushed his nonentity village neighbor into the 100 Richest Hungarian List within four years, all on government contracts. I bet you no European PM has ever achieved something like… Read more »
petofi
Guest

@Observer

YOu missed the key point in the letter: why didn’t you just ask how much money they banked for their whole nonsense?

Member

@observer

I like the wording of your essay. Short, sharp and shaky. But I am afraid the hungarian public gets an another perception of the hole spectacle. I honestly tried to comunicate with some people with no success. If you do not accept their view you can become a traitor, left-liberal, jew in a jiffy. Thank you.

Observer
Guest

@ Albrecht Neumerker December 3, 2015 at 1:55 pm
“If you do not accept their view you can become a traitor, left-liberal, jew in a jiffy…”

Welcome to the club.

After years of humming and innuendos in the face of utter nonsense and lies, I decided – no more mister nice guy – I’ll insist on the truth.
Than was the end of half my social life, not that I miss it.

So, welcome again.

petofi
Guest

@Henrietta Foster
Orban–man of the year (sic)

Revolting.

A couple of thoughts:
first, I tried accessing the ‘comments’ section several times but it didn’t come up. Suspicious;

second, we now can understand why Orban keeps a couple of reps in the states….every now and then, a well-placed $50-$100,000 can get you a blurb such as this. It would not surprise me.

And then Orban’s minions point to it to confirm the high regard that Orban is held in in the US. Rubbish. Typical gypsy, slip-sliding con-artistry.
Or, in Hungarian–‘szelhamossag’.
The Viktor is the indoor champ of such shenanigans.

Guest

London Calling!

“The truly peculiar and suspicious aspect of this bill is that it will not become effective as of January 1, 2016 but retroactively from November 1, 2015.”

Retrospective laws can have unintended consequences – and are the embodiment of “the law is what I (Orban) say it is”.

Orban used it for cutting the retirement income of government employees who were unable to recover their income because it was too late – making a mockery of retirement planning.

This whole shenanigans of passing legislation in Hungary is a farce.

Commercial organisations can never know when they will be hit from left field so this commocracy is becoming less and less attractive as a trading environment.

The sooner the EU kicks out Hungary the better it will be for its citizens – and the EU.

But, of course, it won’t happen.

Juncker has just been found out about what he has been doing in Luxembourg regarding the favourable discounts some companies have received for domiciling there – as revealed by some secret documents.

We know Orban has been doing the same with those ‘strategic partnerships’ involving car firms and Big Pharma.

Look out for more ‘ex post facto’ law.

“Here comes my fellow corrupt dictactor – slap slap!”

Regards

Charlie

HiBoM
Guest

I find it almost toe-curlingly embarrassing how this blog is trying to explain away Gyurcsány’s inexplicable vote. How can someone touted only a few posts ago to be the natural leader of the opposition fail to press the correct button when all the idiots in MSZP, Fidesz, KDNP, as well as LMP almost managed to hit the right one?

We are told that the party had decided to vote for this bill. A bill that places the tax authority under direct political control. Why on earth would DK support that? And how does Gyurcsány square that decision with his proclaimed shock when he heard that Simicska had been placed at the head of APEH back in 1998?

If parliament does not allow enough time for MPs to read the legislation they are being asked to vote on, a NO vote is their moral obligation.

A disgusting piece of legislation and disgusting irresponsible behaviour from the genius that is Gyurcsány

Gik
Guest

Orban decided to move into the Sandor Palota (Sandor Palace on the Castle Hill in Buda).

And he is moving (in 2017 when Áder leaves it). If Orban decides something he accomplishes it.

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20151203_Orban_a_Sandorpalotaba_koltozik

Ágnes
Guest

Russia may not be so strong after all.

That said, Orban made his mind up to follow Putin loyally (as Orban thinks that on the long-term Russia will be successful, while the West is going down the drain) and so he won’t be discouraged by some “short-term developments”.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-02/russia-tries-soft-touch-with-europe-as-market-blunts-gas-weapon

petofi
Guest

@Agnes

“…on the long-term Russia will be successful..”
Nonsense.
And, Viktor knows better.
Russia is on its last legs: the price of oil is down to $40/barrel and heading south. All Russia has is oil and gas and then the cupboards are bare; and the value of those commodities–especially oil–is worth ever less.
No, Vickie’s backing of Russio is much more surreptitious. He may have no choice at all. (Deals made in the past and all that.) But one thing can be said: Vickie is having a helluva lot more fun with Vladimir’s laissez-faire direction than he might have under the ‘old man’ control of the EU or the US who would insist on maintaining democratic principle and sobriety.

(So passez, n’est pas, Vickie?)

Hungaricum.

Emoji Emőke
Guest

The EU has just signed off on the state of Hungarian democracy.

“Democracy and the rule of law are not in danger”, though admittedly there are some minor issues (like corruption and suchlike), but everything cannot be perfect, right?

http://444.hu/2015/12/02/az-europai-bizottsag-szerint-ha-nem-is-leselkedik-veszely-magyarorszagon-a-demokraciara-magara-azert-vannak-aggaszto-jelek

Polgári
Guest

According to rumors – which seem to be unbelievable – Janos Lazar (one of Orban’s two consieglieres) is trying to prevent the publication of information about his trips all over Europe because he was with Karoly Nemcsak, a well-known fidesznik (male) actor and theatre manager.

I always thought Lazar was negotiating Paks 2 with Russians under some bullshit cover, but this is also juicy. Though of course this could be a decoy to veil the Russian angle.

http://martonbede.tumblr.com/post/134464561894/na-j%C3%B3-ezt-nem-hiszem-el

Guest

From FS Fitzgerald who knew quite a bit on money and corruption: ‘There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.”

Fit in the Hungarians who are all ‘outsiders’ whether by politics or religion or other ‘status’ as the pursued, the ‘F & J’ gang both as pursuers and being busy and finally ‘all others’ making up the society’s balance who seem to be not only tired but full out of stamina and integrity to fight and eradicate that ‘incredible’ corruption. Alot of Xanax must be ingested now.

Istvan
Guest

Eva I am confused by this statement in your post. You write: “So, for Tiborcz and others in his position, the doors are again open to acquire lucrative government business, 90% of which is funded by the European Union.” The EU itself states: “Currently over 95 % of all public investments in Hungary are co‑financed by the EU. The EU invests heavily in Hungary’s regions, with projects such as the modernization of water systems in many cities or the new M43 motorway going all the way to Romania.” Are you saying that all the contracting projects which are subject to the law in question are only 10% co-financed by Hungary? Or are you saying that 90% of the projects subject to the law in question have some level of EU financing?

According to a statement made by János Lázár Hungary spent HUF 6880 billion (EUR 23 billion, USD 30 billion) between 2007 and 2014 on projects which qualify for EU funding. He stated as of January 2015 of that, Brussels had reimbursed 75 percent in the form of development grants. I am finding this a little confusing.

spectator
Guest
If anybody ever interested to take seriously the “conflict of interest” regarding Hungary, there wouldn’t be a single politician in power! Particularly in- and around the present government. I guess it was in ’95, when the ruling ‘Socialisterna’, the Swedish Social Democratic Party was about to change the leadership, because of the retirement of Ingvar Carlsson (who succeeded Olof Palme after his assassination). The most promising candidate to both as party leader and PM was Mona Sahlin, a young and talented politician, at the time the Minister of Equality and Deputy Prime Minister. Unfortunately she was a bit careless while traveling, she has paid for some Toblerone bars and Pampers diapers in the airport shop with her “company card” instead of her private — amounted to a few hundreds of SK. Right after the trip she put it right, but it didn’t helped her! The “incident” became public due to press coverage, shortly thereafter she resigned from all her political roles. The so called “Toblerone affair” managed to break her promising career right in the middle. (This lead later to the Premiership of Göran Person, who “sold” the Gripens to Viktor..) Such trivial story, isn’t it? Well, obviously those boring… Read more »
petofi
Guest

@Spectator–the significance of Swedish chocolate

I never heard of the Mss, but if she resigned on such niggling non-issue than she certainly didn’t have the requisite grit to be PM. She should’ve toughed it out.
When Prime Minister PM was defeated on a money bill in Canada–something that almost automatically led to the governing party resigning and holding elections–he refused to buckle under. He knew better. The last thing Canada needed at the time was another election.

(Pearson–arguably one of Canada’s greatest Prime Ministers.)

spectator
Guest
Actually she fought for a couple months, but election appeared on the horizon and her party wanted to secure the post. Let alone, that the ‘nice’ vultures of the media managed to dug up one similar occasion and a few cases when she was late with her telephone bills and/or taxes. A single mother with a child – besides of her political role – who had no personal assistant. (Such function were nonexistent at the time. Not even the king was entitled to household help – servant, if you prefer the archaic approach – since everyone is equal, therefore nobody supposed to ‘serve’ another person.) So, everything was on her, and – in my opinion – it was too much in this respect. Otherwise not ever the size of the fraud what makes the principle less valid. It was against the law, rules, whatever, and she crossed the line. There is no such way to cross “only a little”, you see. It’s only black or white, I’m afraid. As opposed to the Orbán regime – just look into the Florian Farkas case and the Orbanian handling of it! There is a law, but there is the exception to the law… Read more »
leppard
Guest
petofi
Guest

correction: “When Prime Minister PM…” should read, “When Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson…”

trackback

[…] Farkas. I devoted one post to the checkered career of Farkas, which I then followed up with Ákos Hadházy’s investigation of certain Roma programs that were being generously funded by the European Union. It turned out […]

petofi
Guest

Orban has turned Hungary into one, giant, Ponzi scheme.

petofi
Guest

An update for you pro-Muslim fans: the San Bernardino couple was seen by a neighbour with several Muslim men days before the shooting….but he didn’t want to report it for fear of being called RACIST.
(How’s that for the results of political correctness?)

BTW, the two killers–a husband and wife team–had just returned from Saudi Arabia where, apparently, they were ‘radicalized’.

Now, the question is this: 15 of the 18 people of 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia. (And probably, a lot of other terrorists originate from the extremist Wahabee sect of Islam in Saudi-land.)

Why is the Saudi connection not pursued?
Does it have anything to do with the Bush family’s connection to the Saudi rulers and Saudi oil?

Istvan
Guest
Petofi because as you are aware here in the USA we have many muticutured communities so I would not call the FBI if one of my neighbors who dressed as an highly observant Muslims had several male visitors. Now if I saw them carrying AR 15s (the type of gun used in the attack) dressed in black combat fatigues I might, on the other hand I might shoot at them with my own AR 15 before I called. Petofi as they say the good lord helps those who help themselves. Just for the record California has among the most strict gun laws of any State in the US and these terrorists had no problem buying a NATO level semi-automatic type of rifle. The primary response to this attack has been yet another attempt to restrict gun ownership rights here in the USA by Democrats in Congress. Data shows that between 2000 to 2010 two million AR 15 type weapons were consumed by citizens in my country. I know Eva believes in gun control, but the majority here do not and I expect sales of assult rifles in this country to rise in response to the terrorist threat. Petofi we are… Read more »
petofi
Guest

@Istvan

Forget the generalities now. Read the article…cnn, I think. The point is, these men had not been seen in this neighbourhood before. Add to that the many reports for the last two weeks that terrorists were crossing over from Mexico. (San Bernardino is in southern california, close to the Mexican border.) So you see, if you put one and two together, you can come up with a reasonable suspicion about those people meeting a few doors down….and, except for brain-washed political correctness, the person should of gone on the blower to tell the local FBI office of suspicious happenings.

This new age of Terrorism requires that people be alert and observant of their surroundings…

Guest
Re: ‘This new age of Terrorism requires that people be alert and observant of their surroundings’ That is true though from what we’ve read it appears the couple were pretty good in hiding their tracks and lying low. All the way to have an awesome arsenal of weaponry in their home. San Bernadino looks like a game changer here in that allegedly the perpetrators of the massacre were ‘home-grown’ and have acted. Another ‘front’ directly opening up by the jihadists which will pose deep problems for our democracy. I’d think fear and paranoia can be a deadly combination in the fight against Islamic extremism now. I’d think we need to be real sharp with future threat assessments. Istvan is correct that there are plenty of ‘Cowboys’ waiting to jump the terrorists. But we must be aware that this ‘asymmetrical’ war we are in comes with possible consequences and questions on our ‘freedoms’. Will we manage it? Will we avert a ‘police state?’ But in any case to paraphrase an insightful Roman military man, Vegetius, ‘If we want peace we must prepare for war’. I think we have no choice at this point. Yes, God bless America and the world in… Read more »
petofi
Guest

On another topic…the planet is entering the twilight zone: Trump is starting to make sense. “Take out the terrorists’ families…”

(A new morality for extreme times, as the world edges to the precipice of self-destruction. How many have seen the film, “The Day After”?)

Guest

Re: the ‘Day After’

A blockbuster of a film from the early 80’s on nuclear war and its aftermath. Jihad wasn’t top of mind at the time but rather the fisticuffs between the Big Two cold-war adversaries. But jihad is now. Something to think about if the jihadists manage to take over land near or in nuke sites. Put a fork in us. We could be all be done in a flash. The ‘hot’ oven bears vigilant watching….and the film too if it hasn’t been seen.

wpDiscuz