Is Paks II dead?

On December 27 I read a brief announcement in Magyar Nemzet, which didn’t seem to rouse much interest in the Hungarian media. In the December 23 issue of Magyar Közlöny, the government’s official publication of all new laws and ordinances, there had been a news item about the government’s decision to immediately transfer 8,4063 billion forints to the Hungarian National Film Fund headed by Andy Vajna, an American-Hungarian former film producer, who in the last few years has been a special favorite of Viktor Orbán. The article, titled “The Film Fund is getting further billions,” skimmed over the fact that this large sum was transferred from money that had been set aside for the recapitalization of the company created specifically for the Paks II project. Instead, the reporter expressed his astonishment that Vajna’s fund only this year received 12.3 billion forints. He didn’t worry too much about where this money came from.

I, on the other hand, focused on the source of these billions. Paks II is, as we have often heard, of strategic importance. It will ensure Hungary’s energy independence in the future. How could it be that Orbán suddenly would find culture more important than his pet project, on which he staked his reputation when he was repeatedly accused of being Putin’s puppet who is ready to serve Russia’s interests in weakening the European Union? I immediately jotted down the question: “Is Paks dead?”

A day later I read an article in Bloomberg that related the story of Vnesheconombank (VEB), which for years has been used by Putin to pay for special projects, “from the Sochi Olympics to covert acquisitions in Ukraine to oligarch bailouts.” Now, this state bank itself is in need of rescue, which may cost the Kremlin $18 billion or 1.2 trillion rubles. This is the same bank that is supposed to lend €10 billion for Paks II. Could there be a connection between the financial troubles of VEB, as well as of the whole Russian economy, and the possible scrapping of the Paks II project? We have been inundated with stories coming from Russia about the economic fallout of plummeting oil and gas prices, the expenses incurred in the invasion of the Crimea and the war in Syria, and the U.S.-EU boycott. Inflation is currently 12.1% and, while a year ago one U.S. dollar was worth 40 rubles, today the exchange rate is 70 to 1. For all these reasons there have been conjectures that, given the state of the Russian economy, the Russian government is incapable at the moment or in the near future of financing Paks II.

Russia’s financial difficulties are only the part of the problem. In November the European Commission called on the Hungarian government to suspend all further projects in connection with the construction of the Paks II nuclear power plant because Budapest didn’t follow EU rules governing open bidding procedures. The reaction of the Orbán government was defiant; they swore that everything is going ahead without the slightest attention to the infringement procedure. In fact, János Lázár promised to bring suit against the Commission if necessary.

In addition, it is likely that the European Commission is in the middle of an investigation into possible hidden state subsidies in connection with Paks II, which are also against EU laws. The Hungarian government would have to prove that the enormous investment in the two new reactors is financially justified. At present, most experts say that it is not.

snapshot

In order to prove that Paks II is a financially viable project, the government came up with an “independent evaluation” by the Rothschild Group. In no time, however, it was discovered that the study was anything but independent. The Rothschild Group was instrumental in preparing the ground for the contract between the Hungarian government and Rossatom, the Russian state company that is supposed to build the reactors. Moreover, a former undersecretary of the Orbán government in charge of energy matters is today an employee of the Group and works for the company out of Budapest.

The latest news on the possible fate of Paks II arrived on the last day of 2015 when the public learned that three tenders had been invalidated because the company in charge of the project “will not be able to sign the contracts.” A more detailed reason for invalidating these tenders was not given. The three tenders were for important studies in connection with the proper implementation of the project to the tune of 100 million forints. They were supposed to describe how the new reactors would be integrated into the existing system. If these studies are no longer necessary, it might mean that the whole project has been abandoned.

I vividly recall some commenters on Hungarian Spectrum insisting that there was no way Viktor Orbán would ever give up this project, which he considers the crown jewel of his years as prime minister. It is true that he is between a rock and a hard place, but I suspect that Russia’s financial troubles are the source of his retreat. Since he is fully aware of the snail’s pace of the European Union, if he could get the financing he would immediately embark on the project. By the time the European Court of Justice rendered its judgment, half of the project would be built. Knowing him, he would opt for that strategy, trusting his proverbial good luck. So, if Paks II is scrapped, it will be because Russia is incapable of lending 10-12 billion euros to Hungary.

We can be sure, however, that the public explanation of the government’s failure to build the reactor (assuming it does not proceed) will be the European Union’s interference in Hungary’s internal affairs. The fault will lie with those “swindlers or at best unfit idiots who try to turn us out of office in the most dastardly, the most cunning, and the most boorish way.” Just as László Kövér recently described West European politicians. Blaming the European Union will bring further popularity. Many Hungarians already believe that evil foreigners want to destroy them, and if they learn that Brussels made their “energy independence” impossible, they will feel even more liked a besieged fortress surrounded by enemies.

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Member

If, most of the Hungarian people believe the lies their Government tells them, so let it be. We certainly cannot convince them otherwise, nor can we make them smarter.
The same is true for every other society. We are in an election year in the US and most voters will vote, based on who brainwashed them better. Or, simply, a great number of women will vote for Hillary, only because she is a woman, regardless of the facts they may or may not hear.
If it was not so, Obama would have been impeached long time ago and Hillary would be in jail. The media would not allow it, it is extremely biased.
So, we don’t have to feel sorry for the misinformed Hungarians, we are pretty misinformed ourselves, thanks to the International Media, and for decades they developed political agenda.
For example, Newsweek has different covers and different articles for the US readers, the EU readers, the Eastern Block readers, the Chinese readers and the Muslim readers? These articles state opposite views and slander the other societies’ readers. This is the greatest enemy of democracy.
The little Mafia hoodlum from Felcsut barely wrinkles the surface.

Guest

Speaking of our election year, I’d suggest Putin must be salivating at the thought of our ‘construction’ maven being POTUS. That ostensible touchy-feely thing between the two of them could open up perhaps new real estate ventures for both to offset the Paks situation for awhile. We should be ready for a ‘Putin Tower’ on 42nd and Times Square or perhaps a sale of lower Manhattan to the wonderful oligarchs hiding behind shell co’s. I’d think Orban will be following eagerly for the potential gelt too! Of course I jest but ‘dealmakers’ always have something going on the table. These guys don’t pass up ‘sure things’. As if New York still can’t be sold to the highest bidders.
Really my city is already the reality of klepto and oligarch dreams. ‘Democracies’ do that to people.

Guest

So Russia will put its own interests first and Hungary will suffer as a consequence. Who would’ve thought!

csirip
Guest

The project may be delayed a bit. But if oil and or natural gas prices go up again (and these prices tend to bounce back cyclically, so we can await the it in 5-10 years’ time), Russia and Paks 2 will be back with a vengeance. In that case Russia will have more money and parallely the project will make more financial sense (could better compete with fossil fuels, now it just can’t).

Russia will again get up from its knees. The Russians are not quitters and neither is Orban. Just as Putin and the entire Russian security/political elite never for a moment gave up the idea of recreating the old (ie. existing under the post-Yalta Soviet times) “sphere of interest” just because it was weak in the 1990’s, similarly Paks 2 will not be cancelled. It’s a long-term strategic issue both for Russian and for Orban.

So Paks 2 will be back on when the time is right. It’s the same with the Romanian or the Czech plants. They were never cancelled only suspended and then restarted, suspended again etc.

webber
Guest

Csirip
Where did you buy your crystal ball?

webber
Guest

P.S. As Keynes once put it, “In the long run, we’re all dead.” That goes for Putin and Orban, as well. It’s interesting that you assume they have another decade in office.

Mlac
Guest
Webber: Putin certainly has another decade in office. Why? Because it doesn’t matter whether he is there or not, his successor will be a similarly paranoid expansionist security type. Russians love this type (plus nationalism universally works so why would his successor be any different?) and the whole Russian elite (including supposedly liberal intellectuals) thinks the same about these “strategic issues”. There are no pro-western “liberals” in Russia, they only exist in the wet dreams of Western observers (or in secret they also work for the FSB). It’s a huge mistake to think that just because Putin is gone, things will get “better”. Russia is a military/secret service complex that owns a country (a bit like Pakistan, but I contend Pakistan’s actually more democratic than Russia is). Energy and related know-how – whether nuclear or fossil-based – will always be a political issue for Russia. Always. As to Orban’s another decade, well, I think Hungarians are a bit more pro-Western but given that Orban arranged the election system (a can amend it at any time), the one million votes of the ethnic Hungarians etc. no opposition can ever win decisively against him. As long as he lives, he will rule… Read more »
webber
Guest

Where did I ever say I thought things would get “better” in Russia after Putin dies???
Orban – if he lives another decade, I will be rather surprised. He does not look to be in good health.

Smoothie
Guest

Orban is in his early fifties. An average – that is similarly overweight and unhealthy looking – Hungarian man at this age surely has more than 10 years in him, more like 15.

Since however he has a much better access to health care than an average, rural, sickly middle-aged man his prospects are significantly better than that. So Orban may even have 20 active years in him. Get used to it.

webber
Guest

Wanna bet?
Take a look at the man:comment image

Bertold
Guest

fyi:

“This is what half of the country is now excited about”.

Orban sure knows how to play with the minds of Hungarians, the leftists don’t. 10 millions sure work like magic on the minds of the middle class. I’m guessing Orban will stay for a decade. The commies would take away the 10 million because its bad for the budget deficit, but Orban will give them anyway. He knows that hard-working Hungarians are entitled to that money.

http://hvg.hu/kkv/20160105_A_fel_orszagot_ez_hozza_lazba_10_millios

Guest

Are Hungarians (at least a large part of them) really that stupid?
The young ones in my family know that even with their parents’ help they just might be able to buy an old apartment in a panel house e g and peu à peu renovate it.
To buy or build a new house, especially when the wife can’t work and earn money because she has to care for the three kids, is only possible if you have rich parents – or make a lot of money, out of a tobacco shop licence e g …
And there are not that many people in this privileged group!

spectator
Guest

”…the project will make more financial sense (could better compete with fossil fuels, now it just can’t).”

You mean, the world will stand still and wait for the great times when the oil- and gas prices will be high again?
Given that time-frame even the average- or garden variety of Hungarians will understand that investing big money in outdated technology never going to be profitable, whatever the Orbán-Putin brothers may suggest of the contrary!

Within the decade you shouldn’t worry about the fossil based energy, because even as we speak the alternatives catching up around the Globe. Even without bigger technology-leap it will be quite clear to anyone sane enough that Paks 2 is a stillborn idea regarding cheap and sustainable energy.

Only one real purpose make some sense: to fill the coffers of the countless leeches in- and around the government, the political “elit” and their extended families.
A semi-legal way to steal from their own country and the naïve citizens who keep these hoodlums in power — against common sense.

Observer
Guest

Eva, this figure 8,4063, is it 8.4 billion ? Hungarian decimal point is actually a coma, right?

Observer
Guest

Hungary won’t suffer, quite the opposite: now it will keep hundreds of billions from the orban maffia, 6-8 years later will make an informed decision, if this maffia is busted by then, and in such case the local work may be much cheaper withou the fat kickbacks usually demanded in the current period.

Joseph de Maistre
Guest

@Csirip

If you look at the historical oil prices you will see they have cycles roughly between 20 and 30 years in length. The current cycle started in 1998 and spiked in 2008 which means a cycle of about 20 years. This means it would take to 2028 to reach 2008 levels again.

In the mean time there are 3 developments that will lower the price of oil. Firstly the production of shale gas will in the US will rise. Secondly, China with the largest reserves of shale gas worldwide will start producing shale gas in serious quantities where it is hardly producing any at the moment. And thirdly in 2025 between 30 and 50% of all energy sources will be renewable sources. This means the demand for oil will vastly diminish. Making it very unlikely that oil prices will ever reach the 2008 record heights again.

There is a very real option that Russia will never enjoy the benefits of high oil prices again. Which, if Eva is correct, might mean a permanent cancellation of Paks II.

tappanch
Guest
Technically recoverable gas reserves in (10*km)^3 (2013 estimates). natural + shale World total: 187.3+206.7 = 394.0 Russia: 48.7+08.1 = 56.8 China: 04.6+31.6 = 36.2 Iran: 33.6 =33.6 US: 09.9+18.8 = 28.7 Qatar: 24.7 = 24.7 Algeria: 04.5+20.0 = 24.5 Argentina: 00.4+22.7 = 23.1 Canada: 01.8+16.2 = 18.0 Turkmenistan: 17.5 =17.5 Australia: 04.3+12.4 = 16.7 Mexico: 00.4+15.4 = 15.8 S Africa: 00.0+13.7 = 13.7 Saudi Arabia: 08.6 = 08.6 (+ 17.0 uncertain shale) Brazil: 00.4+ 06.9 = 07.3 Iraq: 06.4 = 06.4 Venezuela 05.7 = 05.7 Nigeria 05.1 = 05.1 Indonesia 03.0 = 03.0 (+ 16.3 uncertain shale) Norway 02.3 = 02.3 Various sources and my little calculations
tappanch
Guest

spaces, tabs, carriage returns have disappeared. 🙁

tappanch
Guest

new discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean:

Cyprus = 0.2
Israel = 0.7
Egypt = 0.8

tappanch
Guest

Oil reserves in the same unit of measure (10^12 m^3):

Venezuela: 0.047 (22.4% of world total)
Saudi: 0.042 (20.0%)
Canada: 0.028 (13.2%)
Iran: 0.024 (11.4%)
Iraq: 0.023 (10.8%)
Kuwait: 0.016 (07.7%)
UAE: 0.016 (07.4%)
Russia: 0.013 (06.0%)
Libya: 0.007 (03.5%)
Nigeria: 0.006 (02.8%)
Kazakhstan: 0.005 (02.3%)
Qatar, China, US: 0.004 (01.9%) each

tappanch
Guest

So there is about 1870 times as much recoverable gas as oil in the earth by volume.

tappanch
Guest

The %’s are not correct.

Benoit
Guest
Obviously you don’t know too much about the energy business. It doesn’t matter what is technically recoverable for two reasons. First, if the cost of recovery is higher than the sales price then you don’t do it, secondly if the energy invested in recovery is higher than the energy represented by the gas to be extracted then you don’t do it either. So all of these numbers don’t mean anything. Gas is important but note that with regular mild winters less gas is being consumed during the winter, for heating purposes. Global warming is real and will only get worse. Right now, as we speak, over the North Pole the temperature is some 30 degrees Celsius higher than normal (around zero when it should be more like minus 30 or less). [Imagine that abnormality during the summer, instead of 30 C for weeks, there would be 60 C for weeks, pretty scary.] Right now it is demand or more like the expectations for the future demand which drive the prices – ie. the global growth expectations are low (look at Chine, Brazil will have its worst recession since 1901 etc.). On the other hand producers are hooked on the drug… Read more »
LwwiH
Guest

Sorry @Benoit but your arguments are also flawed. No one is coming out ahead when the spend $90 (approximately the current cost for Russia to extract a barrel)to produce a $45 barrel of oil. The over-supply situation in the market is exacerbated by suppliers needing to preserve market share and consequently are unwilling to cut production. They know that when the recovery comes they know if will be very difficult, if not impossible, to regain lost market share meaning they’d be cut out of the recovery. It’s now a game of chicken…

Plus, the Saudi’s are very fearful of the US working towards energy independence and they know they can easily put the fracking industry out of business by driving prices below extraction costs. I believe the Saudi cost of extraction is closer to $35 so they may not be making much but it’s not costing them to sell.

Benoit
Guest
I agree that market share maintenance is a factor, but only one, small factor. This is because oil is fungible (more or less) so it doesn’t really matter who you are buying from and whom to do you sell it to and nobody really cares. MOL may have fields in Pakistan but it will not refine it in Hungary (use it for the Hungarian car owners), rather it will sell it to local buyers (I guess) and use that income to buy oil from the Russians (it’s a kind of hedge). Market share can be regained relatively easily. You fundamentally misunderstand the oil market (btw I was talking about natural gas and using metrics like technically recoverable reserves) if you think that countries buy from each other or for that matter that US invade Iraq to grab its oil for itself. The issue was that the oil had to be kept on the market – for whoever is able to take delivery given the geography and technical issues like location of refineries best suited for the given type of oil. The US wanted to ensure that Iraqi and Libyan oil remain on the market and then its private importers would… Read more »
Solomon Fierce
Guest

Just a comment on the first part of your post. Regardless of how one feels about Andy Vajna – and he certainly has his detractors – it is inarguable that he singlehandedly revamped and renovated the film tax rebate scheme which had been left in shambles by the previous administration. The new, current tax subsidy is hugely robust and successful, attracting major productions, such “The Martian”, to shoot in Hungary, creating thousands of jobs. I have heard anecdotally that when all of the ancillary expenditures such as hotels, etc., are calculated, the Hungarian film production services space accounts for something like 3% of GDP. I do not know if this is entirely accurate, but I can tell you that many thousands of crew members, vendors and support industries directly benefit from the new and improved tax scheme.

This is more remarkable in light of the fact that the Orbán government is famously indifferent to the film industry, preferring the world of sports in general, and soccer in specific.

Observer
Guest

@Ron

Thanks for the correction. 0.16% is very far from 3%, which I found absolutely incredible at first glance, agriculture is 4-6%.

@Solomon F

I don’t feel very positive re Vajna, as he is part of the Orban mafia – he ripped off approx. 5 billion HUFs from a casino monopoly handed to him by Orban. Vajna is now building some media holdings to return favors. Taxpayers money go through casino profits and into Fidesz owned media. Typical organized crime scheme, isn’t it?

Vajna’s producer expertise notwithstanding, we don’t know
what were his benefits from the Hungarian production business, if any,
what are the net results of this business (The Impact analysis of fiscal incentive schemes .. were pay material).

After all he could have helped the Hungarian film industry by free advice, although I can’t imagine Vajna donating like Soros or the Norwegians/Swiss have been doing.

Member
In fact the many productions should/could benefit the Hungarian economy. I am not sure if the co-productions wouldn’t be there without Vajna. To say that there were no movie business prior to Vajna is just silly. These are movies prior to Orban / Vajna in Budapest Étoile (1988) Music Box (1989) Howling V: The Rebirth (1989) The Cremaster Cycle (Episode 5) (1997) Gloomy Sunday (1999) Au Pair (1999) In the Beginning (2000) An American Rhapsody (2001) Last Run (2001)[2] Dinotopia (2002) Perlasca – Un eroe Italiano (2002) I Spy (2002) Underworld (2003), 8mm 2 (2005) Munich (2005) Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008) The first movie in the Korda studios although…. Transporter 3 (2008) Iris (2009) There are other movies like, being Julia, Sunshine, The Golden Compass comes to mind. Korda studios were built in 2007, the largest stage in 2009, before Orban . Vajna (not surprisingly) has financial interest in the studios as he is one of the shareholders. Vajna in 2001 owed $41.1 million from back taxes and penalties for tax evasion and was the subject of a criminal investigation by federal authorities. No charges were ever brought against Vajna . Vajna eventually settled his case with the… Read more »
Member

I seem to understand why Eva@ narrows down the already complicated subject. Still, let me bring in some new directions to this equitation. One is the Nord Stream II that Germany don’t need but Angela the Savior (Merkel) wants badly. It looks like everybody aspire to be an energy giant or at least a distributor for the rest. https://euobserver.com/energy/131605 To present this problem as a double standard would be very much in government’s propaganda style. Though simply not true.
The second is so far a theoretical/ scientific consideration, at least in Hungary. Unfortunately only in Hungarian: http://nol.hu/velemeny/a-mi-nagy-lehetosegunk-1582811
The 3rd one is just for pure fun: http://hungarytoday.hu/news/frank-koszorus-jr-setting-record-straight-hungarys-history-80131 What a pity.

Guest

Koszorus is one of those people:
“It’s always someone else’s fault” – almost brilliant how he describes the 1000 year old Hungarian kingdom …
Btw when did the last “real Hungarian” king reign?
And the Jew laws from the 1920s on are ignored as well as other stuff …

Istvan
Guest
The film industry is a transitory source of income for any geographic location. Chicago where I live once in the early 1900s was the world center of film production (see http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/movies/ct-chicago-closeup-chaplin-20150219-column.html ) before it moved to California. Movie production again entered Chicago in the 1980s with the state of Illinois becoming a leader in money spent on film production. Notable films from the 1980s include Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Color of Money, Risky Business, The Untouchables, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and When Harry Met Sally. Illinois passed a law in 2009, providing a 30% tax credit on all production costs within the state of Illinois. Just like Hungary many filmmakers have committed to Chicago for production. Recent films with Chicago as a filming location include Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Contagion, and Source Code. The new bill is supposed to benefit Chicago with increased tax revenue from $70 million in 2009 to $100 million in 2010. But these subsidies are a poisoned pill and the big film producers always want ever greater tax breaks and to take control of City streets for production. Just like Hungary uses tax breaks to attract auto producers, it is doing the same thing… Read more »
Member

When Harry Met Sally was set in New York.

But you left out Home Alone, and a few other movies by John Hughes. Hughes was from Chicago, which was why all of his movies from the 80s and 90s were set there (Ferris Bueller, etc).

Istvan
Guest

The early scenes of the film Harry Met Sally were shot at the University of Chicago on location before they went to New York.

Solomon Fierce
Guest
I said in my original comment that I wasn’t certain regarding the 3% GDP. That notwithstanding, the film industry in Hungary employs A LOT of people and brings an enormous sum of money into the local economy. Clearly, several posters don’t understand how the tax incentive scheme works in Hungary. In short, profitable Hungarian companies that wish to mitigate their tax liabilities contribute to a fund, and subsequently are able to write off the amount AND have the amount deducted from their tax base. Where one gets a “tax-evasion scheme” out of this other than unsubstantiated conspiracy theory, I’m not sure. Film tax incentives around the world operate variations of the same theme, and for the same reason: to bring millions and millions of dollars into the local economy. My comments are limited to the success of the Hungarian tax scheme in causing Hungary to become hugely competitive in the film production space. This is no small feat, especially in such a fractious time, especially in such a hostile environment. It is this new system that made Hungary’s entry for the Oscars, “Son of Saul”, possible. To have a healthy, vibrant and robust film industry is something to be proud… Read more »
webber
Guest

Apparently you didn’t read the piece above:
On corruption, tell me –
In which other country can money set aside to cover the costs related to a loan from a foreign country designated to build a nuclear power plant be used to support a media mogul’s bid to purchase a television and radio station (or the film industry, for that matter)?
In which country would this not be seen as corrupt?

And while you are on the line, how did Andy Vajna make his first million? I mean, BEFORE he got into the film industry.

Lock
Guest

Vajna – according to the stories he tells – got into the movie business while living in Hong Kong after selling a wig making company there. True or not this is how he is supposedly made his first millions. How he got the money to buy the company is not known.

Later while in the US Vajna also knew intimately the so called LA Hungarian mafia whose members were famous in the 1990’s (ie. the surviving members returning to Hungary).

One Sandor Pinter used to investigate them back during the communism, that is before they left Hungary, with the help of state security according to rumors.

There are still nice articles lingering on the internet about this bunch.

Vajna probably wasn’t a core member but he is an experienced fellow. Orban is extremely paranoid and if he trusts Vajna with such big, sensitive deals then Vajna must be very reliable.

Guest

Just an FYI on the film industry, Szeged and Hollywood have lost a great cinematographer, Vilmos Zsigmond, who worked on many fine films which included ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, ‘Obsession’, ‘The Deer Hunter’ and ‘McCabe and Mrs. Miller’. His camera rolled in ’56 on the Hungarian streets. Pretty good for him and the US film industry where he honed his craft and noted, ‘ I hate movies where the light looks phony’.
He certainly helped to make real good ones. Curious if he met up with Andy. Not sure though since Vilmos liked to work in the ‘light’. Andy well his part of the biz deals with ‘dark’.

Observer
Guest

@ Solomon F

Surely “To have a healthy, vibrant and robust film industry is something to be proud of”.
Unfortunately the Hungarian one is neither of these.
With court favorites, corrupt subsidy distribution and with an overwhelming Kulturkampf unleashed by the current regime this happy state of affairs is not to be expected anytime soon.

Vajna’s casino licenses with special tax breaks are not a “tax-evasion scheme”, but a corrupt pumping of state funds into private pockets. The state owned Serecsejátek company had revenues from licenses and casino ops, now they don’t have them.

They do it everywhere and all the time. FYI:
http://budapestbeacon.com/economics/hungary-in-2015-the-year-in-review/30498

Ron
Guest

That notwithstanding, the film industry in Hungary employs A LOT of people and brings an enormous sum of money into the local economy.

Again I ask you, where do you get this information from?

For example The Martian had a budget of USD 108 million. Do you really think that USD 108 million was spend in Hungary? The tax incentive Hungary offers is 20-25%, and normally 50% of production costs is spent in Hungary. Production costs, and not marketing, special effects, computer animation, which makes about 70 to 80 % of the budget is included in the 50%.

On the topic of Saul Fia (Son of Saul) I do not believe the producers received any money from the government and if they received it it must be very little.

Member

The Hungarian National Film Fund provided some breakdown on money given to various projects but the reporting is very confusing, as some items come up as “revised” with no indication if it is a revision of a previous item or not.
Son of Saul:
3,500,000 forint for film development
7,500,000 forint for pre-production
205,000,000 forint for productions
280,000,000 forint for productions (revised)
310,600,000 forint for productions
4,000,000 forints to participate at Cannes
3,507,200 forints to other festival participations

If I add these together (without the festival participations)
808,600,000 forint for pre- and production cost or 2,578,783.74 EUR

If I belive IMDB it is 280,000,000 forint (4th line), and indicated as revised on the NFF breakdown or 892,975 EUR.

http://mnf.hu/winner/wpage.php?&sortt=dontdat&asc=ASC check each page.

tappanch
Guest

Thank you for the link.

In other words, 1.25% of the budget of “Saul fia” originated from Vajna, ie. the Hungarian government.

This amount is also 0.43% of the total money they gave to film production in general.

Biggest support (a factor of 80 of Saul) went to

Feher Isten (not a bad movie)
a Kalomista (former Orban apparatchik) movie

Member

Kincsem got 3x as much as most! There are many more who received more. There are 5 pages, you can flip the pages at the top.

webber
Guest

Questions:
Was Andy Vajna ever a US citizen?
Since Andy Vajna took a Hungarian government position, should he not be stripped of his US citizenship (if he ever had it), or has he already renounced it? (generally required by law, I believe)
Assuming Vajna does not now have citizenship, should he not be blacklisted from entering the US because of corruption? (required by Federal regs, I believe)

Istvan
Guest

Webber I don’t know the answer to those questions, but they are good ones.

Member

Read above.

matteo
Guest

I heard that fideszniks assume that Vajna works for one of the two dozen US intelligence agencies and so he is protected no matter what he does. He is also probably friendly with the Hungarian counterparts so he is protected by them too. Case closed.

webber
Guest

I don’t believe you.

Lock
Guest

There are no miracles, webber.

If Vajna is still a US citizen and the US hasn’t investigated him then he must be protected by someone powerful.

Vajna is nose deep in government corruption and money laundering and has been for years. Yet, he is as confident as ever.

Vajna is also heavily involved in the casino business which in Hungary traditionally had strong ties to deep state elements.

Sherlock Holmes said that if you eliminate all the other possibilities the remainder – however unlikely – must be the truth.

You don’t have to believe, we will probably never know for sure. But we can always assign a certain (very high) probability to these and I guess fideszniks do so as well.

webber
Guest

Who says the US hasn’t investigated him?
They apparently investigated Ildiko Vida, and banned her (and others) from travel to the US. That never would have come out if Fidesz’s Napi Gazdasag hadn’t published an outraged article on it.
So, how do you know Vajna hasn’t been and isn’t the subject of investigation?
Unless you are in the FBI, you cannot know that.

Ron
Guest

As to Andy was US citizen. He said he was.

http://www.xpatloop.com/interviews/470/

Member
Hi webber, you asked the same question back in March 28, 2015 regarding Nagy. The whole thread can be read here: http://hungarianspectrum.org/2015/03/28/the-european-union-has-had-enough-no-money-for-a-110-billion-project-already-underway/?cid=95504 “OT – a question for American legal experts or people with experience in the State Department: I seem to remember from school, ages ago, that a person who served a foreign government could lose his American citizenship. Is this still the case? I ask because I’ve just read an interesting article in the latest issue of the weekly Vasárnapi Hírek about the American citizen, the banker Stephen I. Nagy (Nagy István) who serves as Hungary’s Ambassador to Switzerland and, allegedly, assists Orbán and the MET company with banking issues they have in Switzerland.” I gave an answer at the time: “I am not an expert, but I searched the Internet: http://www.newcitizen.us/losing.html Newcitizen.us was formed and organized by a patriotic group of naturalized and native-born Americans. Holding A Policy Level Position In A Foreign Country If you become an elected official or hold a policy-level position (like an ambassador, cabinet minister, or any high level administrative position where you make government policy) in your native country or a foreign country, you run the risk of losing your US citizenship.… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

Vajna at work:
comment image

tappanch
Guest

Official data published on January 5, 2016

A.
September – November 2015 (average), ages 15 to 74

Employees and self-employees inside Hungary: 3.9232 million (up 1.3% y/y)
Fostered workers who “regard themselves as such”: 02367 million (up 34.8% y/y)
Employees abroad, who are counted in the Hungarian statistics: 0.1127 (up 5.6%)

So this piece of statistics covers 4.2726 million people.

http://www.ksh.hu/docs/hun/xftp/gyor/fog/fog1511.html

B.
On the other hand, another statistics finds only 2.9202 million employees and fostered workers in October 2015:

Employees in enterprises: 1.9225 million (up 2.9%)
Fostered workers in enterprises: 0.0057

State employees: 0.6989 (up 1.7%)
Fostered workers paid by the gov’t: 0.1850

non-profits: 0.0958 (up 1.7%)
Fostered workers paid by non-profits: 0.0123

this gives 0.2030 million fostered workers.

http://www.ksh.hu/docs/hun/xstadat/xstadat_evkozi/e_qli035.html

webber
Guest

Eximbank has given Istvan Garancsi a large sum of money to purchase the public space on the Danube, Kopaszi Gát, where tens of thousands of Budapesters spend their free time every summer. Could this, also, have been funded using Paks money?
The below article has some details, though it also contains a big fat lie – that Kopaszi Gát was “neglected” (in Hun., actually – hányattatott sorsú). It is constantly full of visitors when the weather is good, and many of the small restaurants there do great business.
http://index.hu/gazdasag/2016/01/02/kopaszi-gat_garancsi_market_csoport/

webber
Guest

for those who don’t know, Garancsi is a close friend of Viktor Orbán’s.

regény
Guest

You meant “close friend.” Garancsi is one of Orban’s most trusted fronts.

Now Garancsi’s early days must be interesting too.

How Orban chose him for the CD Hungary (the company which still owns most diplomatic real estate in Hungary and as such used to be treated as a non-privatizable company) privatization?

tappanch
Guest

Garancsi worked for K&H Bank between 1991 and 1994.

(Attila Kulcsar scandal ?)

MET (2012-?) – vehicle in the energy trading scheme to deprive the public from the full relief of the falling oil prices, officially known in Orbanian language as rezsicsokkentes = “government mandated decrease of the utility prices”

Brent oil price on June 20, 2014 = $114
oil price Jan 6, 2016 = $35, i.e. 70% less.

Did your heating, electricity, etc price went down by 70% in the last 1 1/2 years?

Of course not. Who profited from the difference?

tappanch
Guest

National Bank led by Matolcsy ——-> 0.4 billion to a bank owned by his cousin ——-> loan to his son, so his son’s enterprise be able to buy a 22 times greater furniture company.

http://444.hu/2016/01/06/matolcsy-gyorgy-fia-tenyleg-a-matolcsy-gyorgy-fele-hitelprogrambol-lett-gyartulajdonos

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