The latest business venture of Orbán’s son-in-law

István Tiborcz, Viktor Orbán’s son-in-law, pretty well disappeared from the spotlight once OLAF, the European Union’s anti-fraud office, started to investigate his firm, Elios Innovatív Zrt. The firm specialized in LED street lighting technology and practically cornered the market: one city after the other signed contracts with Elios to modernize its street lighting with funds that came from the European Union. With the EU investigation pending, Viktor Orbán and his son-in-law decided that it might be wise for Tiborcz to “sell” his share of the business to Attila Paár, a well-off businessman with excellent connections to the Orbán government.

Only once, in December, did Tiborcz get any media coverage. The story was about Elios’s work in Zalaegerszeg, which seems to have been less than satisfactory. In some parts of the city it is pitch dark, while in others pedestrians have difficulty navigating because the streetlights shine only on the road, leaving the sidewalks practically unlighted. Complaints poured into city hall, which the mayor, naturally a member of Fidesz, “tried to handle discreetly.”

Now the Tiborcz family is back in the news. It seems that István Tiborcz might be one of the investors who purchased the Schossberger Mansion in Tura, which has been described as the most beautiful castle in Hungary, comparable only to the palaces along the Loire River in France.

Who were the Schossbergers? Not much can be learned about them online, but William O. McCagg, Jr.’s Jewish Nobles and Geniuses in Modern Hungary provides quite a bit of information about the family, who were originally from Moravia. The first Hungarian Schossberger who settled in Pest in 1833 was Lázár. His son, Simon Vilmos Schossberg, was the first unconverted Jew to receive nobility from Franz Joseph, in 1863. In 1873 Simon’s son Zsigmond purchased 13,000 hectares from Prince Miklós Esterházy. Ten years later he commissioned a neo-Renaissance mansion based on the plan of Miklós Ybl, one of Europe’s leading architects in the second half of the nineteenth century. Ybl’s best known work is the Hungarian State Opera House (1874-1884).

schossberger

The Schossberger Mansion

After 1944 the mansion was used by the Germans and the Soviet troops. It then became an elementary school. After the regime change it was sold twice, but no one did anything with the building, which would need serious renovation.

Last October a mysterious new buyer showed up: TRA Real Estate Kft., a brand new joint stock company headed by Dr. Judit Tóth. TRA Real Estate Kft. is the parent company of BDPST Ingatlanforgalmazó és Beruházó Zrt., owned by Judith Tóth and Loránd Aurél Szabó, both lawyers. The new buyer wanted to be sure that the city of Tura didn’t have the right of first refusal and therefore sent the law firm of Endre Hamar to approach the city.

It is here that one becomes suspicious. First, Hamar got in touch with the town of Tura on September 7 in the name of TRA, when the firm didn’t yet exist. It was established only a week later. Second, Endre Hamar is a former business partner of István Tiborcz. Third, Hamar’s law firm might exist only on paper. It is ostensibly located in the same building as the headquarters of Elios Zrt. BDPST Ingatlanforgalmazó, which is linked to TRA, also has the same address. As 444.hu notes, Endre Hamar cannot have too many clients, considering that his firm has no website and one cannot even find the firm’s name on the list of businesses renting office space in the building.

Meanwhile, the deal took place. Whoever bought the mansion paid 200 million forints, including a 80 million forint mortgage, to the Széchenyi Bank.

When the the Schossberger Mansion was purchased, the transaction couldn’t be directly linked to István Tiborcz. But three days ago 444.hu found out that it was István Tiborcz himself who paid the 100,000 forint excise tax on August 14, at the time of BDPST’s registration as a new business. What is still a mystery is where TRA Kft. got the millions of forints that it spent on the mansion in Tura. Neither Judith Tóth nor Loránd Aurél Szabó has any other business venture that could fund the purchase.

If Tiborcz is behind BDPST Zrt., he might also have interests in other real estate ventures because BDPST is the part owner of two other businesses dealing with real estate, AMX HS and AMX Nador House. The CEO of both companies is a wealthy Turkish businessman, Suat Gökhan Karakus, who resides in Budapest. The other part owner of these companies is HBRE International Investments B.V. of Amsterdam.

On January 8 Együtt (Together) released a communiqué in which the party asked István Tiborcz and Ráhel Orbán to come forward and explain the source of their wealth. I think Együtt can wait for the day when anyone in the Orbán or, by extension, the Tiborcz family reveals the source of their rapid enrichment. Of course, it would also be nice to know where the 2 million euros came from that Lőrinc Mészáros just invested in the NK Osijek football club. That would be quite a job, not just for an investigative journalist but for a whole slew of the best detectives in Europe and the Americas.

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tappanch
Guest

Nobel prize winner (1943, Chemistry) George de Hevesy’s mother was born Eugenia (Jenny) Schossberger.

http://fizikaiszemle.hu/archivum/fsz9907/gergely.html

http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~prohel/names/misc/schossberger.html

Ron
Guest

HBRE International Investments B.V. of Amsterdam is registered at Herikerbergweg 238, 1101 Amsterdam Zuid-Oost The Netherlands.

That address is the same address as the TMF Goup. TMF Netherlands B.V. and Custom House Fund Services (Netherlands) BV , Luna ArenA, Herikerbergweg 238, 1101 CM Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

In the years 2005 to 2010 this company was involved with Yukos and Putin. The Dutch tax office even raided these offices. So they using did based upon reference from Russia. It is convenient that this Group has offices in all these countries, including offshore jurisdictions.

As to the Tura Castle I am not concerned about the investors. Apparently, the City Council can introduce without a problem a complete range of new taxes, as they did with the previous investors. And they do not have to let you know, just publish it by hammering a piece of paper on the door of the City Council House.

tappanch
Guest

“Of course, it would also be nice to know where the 2 million euros came from that Lőrinc Mészáros just invested in the NK Osijek football club.”

He also purchased almost 20 km^2 of prime state-owned agricultural land for 6.2 million euros (1941 million forints) last month.

He took out 1800 million forints of dividends from his companies last May, and 4400 million since 2010.

His dividends/net revenue (taxes/net revenue)
2013: 13.02% ( 0.73% !)
2014: 18.31% ( 0.91% !)

(Of course, it was Premier Orban’s largesse with EU & Hungarian taxpayers’ money that made his former plumber cum friend’s companies so profitable so quickly)
comment image

http://mfor.hu/cikkek/120377.html

tappanch
Guest

Meszaros’s profit before taxes/ net revenue

2013: 16.03%
2014: 19.64%

tappanch
Guest

From the same article:
The Orban administration gave 26.6 billions of public “works” to Meszaros’s companies in 2014. (Watch his profit and dividends for 2015)

tappanch
Guest

I did not know that the corporate tax rate is SO low in Hungary (perhaps only for Orban’s friends)

tax/profit

2013: 4.36%
2014: 4.61%

(For mortals, the corporate tax rate was 19% over 0.5 billion forints of revenue, am I missing something here ??)

Steve 386
Guest

Dear Eva, may I suggest that when you discuss the corruption by Hungarian politicians a translation of your text should also be published somewhere in order that the non English speaking Hungarians can read it. Those who can read or speak English are by now in no doubt about the corrupt nature of the Government and their friends. Btw. I served with a Schossberger in 711/101 in 1944.

webber
Guest

Hungarians can read about all this in Hungarian online on sites such as Index, and in print in Népszava and HVG. Éva surely got her information from published Hungarian stories.

Guest

Éva is already doing a tremendous public service, free of charge, providing those of us who do not read Hungarian with essential information and facts about politics here in Hungary.

As Webber says, Hungarians can read all about it on many sites and a good one for a round up of everything is Budai Liberális Klub. They have in-depth articles from all different sources, including Népszava and HVG, in Hungarian, and occasionally include some English and German articles too about Hungary from the foreign press. So you can get all the news, on one site.

Just google them and click on Subscribe, and you will be on their mailing list to receive weekly emails with dozens of articles about the shameful state of affairs in Orbán’s Oligarchy. Not happy reading, but informative.

Thank you Éva for all your work!

Guest

The main question is not so much whether this information is available for Hungarians to read in their mother tongue but if they simply want to read about it.

spectator
Guest

Steve, the problem isn’t that there is no information in Hungarian, but somehow it doesn’t connect with the Hungarians.
They even read it, hear it, know about it — and ignore it altogether.
Go figure!

webber
Guest

OT: Fidesz’s and Jobbik’s great ally Russia has opened a museum celebrating Stalin. Story here:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/11/stalin-russia-penza-cultural-centre-meduza

tappanch
Guest

You can also visit Stalin’s museum, outside his sculpture, railroad car and house of birth in Gori, Sakartvelo.

Gori is a very poor-looking, crowded town – close to the Russian-conquered South Ossetia.

His father (other sources: mother) was originally an ethnic Ossetian (cf the Hungarian word for woman is “asszony”. Hungarian [Roman] men , abduction (raptio), Ossetian [Sabine] women … )

By the way, Saakashvili’s [then Georgian president, now Ukrainian governor of Odessa] tried to popularize the removal of Stalin’s sculpture from the main square of Gori in 2010 by alluding to Stalin’s Ossetian origin.

Guest

Whoa so there is really really a love of time travel back to the ’30’s?
Oh brave new world coming up. I’m waiting for the fashionistas to pick up on this pretty soon unless it’s already in the works in warehouses just for an occasion like this. It’s been shown before that in particular eras ‘clothes make the man’.

dr. Szabó Ágoston
Guest

What’s the matter with Stalin now? He won the 2nd World War and created from a rural, agricultural country an industrial super power. Sure, there was collateral damage, but the results speak for themselves, too bad his successors squandered this legacy. No surprise that Fidesz and Jobbik admire Stalin. Staling couldn’t suffer liberals either and history proved him, not bleeding heart human rights activists. Orban will (if he isn’t already) be as important politician as Stalin was. Great leaders are always controversial, but luckily Orban doesn’t give a shit about his liberal detractors. Orban is winning big time, and just like with Stalin the West can suck it up.

Guest

Another funny Fidesz troll?

webber
Guest

I would bet Dr. Agoston is not Hungarian. No Fidesz-supporter would make the mistakes he makes (hint: nobody here has suggested that Fidesz or Jobbik admire Stalin – Fidesz and Jobbik would be appalled by the suggestion)

petofi
Guest

Schmuck is right: Orban is winning big time…but Hungarians, poor saps, are LOSING BIG TIME. Guess which side our troll is on?

Guest

You know autocrats aren’t happy whether things are going well or good. They are the type to hate to be disappointed. Always looking at the next step in terms of will, authority and power. They don’t sleep when holding levers of power.

We will see how the docktor follows events. It could be a matter of time whether he will be surprised at how much much more is needed to be done to get ‘victory’ by the great leader and the sycophants who follow. And not only that but the extent of how far the leaders want to go to ‘win’.

Cautionary tale there I’d say for the organic development of illiberalism as it gets tested out in 21st. Could be a experimental political laboratory showing the slow, inexorable rise of so-called ‘excesses’. And I’d say it is that that brings ‘pyrrhic’ victories where winners learn they just went too too far.

Guest

London Calling!

‘Dr’ alert!

You know – one of those fraudulent ‘drs’ of the Pal Schmitt kind?

One that is inversely proportional to the intelligence of the holder?

Stalin won the 2nd World War?

Ha! Ha!.HAaaaaaaaa! HAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Oh! Sto…… HAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa stop pleeeeeeeees ….HAAaaaaaaaaàa ……
Haaaaaaaa. STOPPPP!!!!!……. Haaaaaaaaaaaàaaàaaa…….

Notice how our ‘dr’ puts it in lower case?

Enough said.

Regards

Charlie

Guest

Two days ago I travelled by car from Hungary to Germany and again I realised the big differences between Central Europe (Austria and Germany) and “Central Europe” (Hungary) – at least 50 years back.

My wife had the same experience around 9 years ago when she compared the villages in Hungary with what she saw in Austria – and nothing has changed.
Just a look at the houses, the gardens and how people move around is enough.

Will that difference in living style, money (of course) etc ever be diminished?

webber
Guest

Wolfi
A fellow I know and respect summed up his view of what is wrong in Hungary with one word:
“igénytelenség”
Ask your wife to explain its meaning. It’s not easy to translate.
It explains how many Hungarians (esp. men) dress, what the street in front of their homes looks like, what their gardens look like, etc.

Guest

Webber, thank you!
My dictionary (it’s the PONS – two thick volumes, very good …) translates this nicely:
Anspruchslosigkeit, Bedürfnislosigkeit, Genügsamkeit.
Seems I’m lucky that my wife is the opposite of that. She wants everything around her to look nice – even me …

NWO
Guest

Ok. So the sources of funds used to supposedly buy the mansion are questionable, and it no doubt stinks if the son in law of the sitting PM acquires such a property. But what has been happening over the last 25 years? Why wasn’t the property properly developed? Who kept it off the market, or was it that no one wanted to invest in a “white elephant”? It is not like Tura is a particularly enticing place to live, or that there are great commercial opportunities (even with a glorious building) in Tura. There a hundreds of reasons to detest the corruption and dishonesty of this Government, but at least sometimes they get things done (unlike the old governments) (see: varkert bazar, Moszka Ter rebuild).

petofi
Guest

@NWO

‘…but atleast…they get things done…’

Rubbish.
Who can’t take EU money and fix up prime, heritage properties and re-open them as tourist spots for private profit?

Observer
Guest

@NWO

Pls don’t fall for the Orban’s assiduous stream of lies.
Here are some figures in several areas:

• GDP
1989 – 2001 +9%
1989 – 2008 +36%
2001 – 2008 +25%.

• Pensions purchase power:
1989 – 2001 -18%
1989 – 2009 begin +16%.
2002 – 2009 begin +40%

• Net average income, employed:
2001-ben avr gross / month 104 000 Ft., net 65 000.
2008-ban avr gross / month 199 000 Ft. net 122 000.

• Purchase power, income 2001 – 2008 +30%.

• New residential units
2001-2008 period 35 600 avr per year or 258 000 total
1998-2001 period 22 000 avr per year or 88 000 total

• Motor vehicles
Growth from 2.6 to 3.1 million or +20%.

• Higher education students
2001/2002 academic year – 193 k students
2007/2008 academic year – 243 k students , or 26% more 243 ezren.

• State scholarships in higher education.
2002 academic year – 51% of all students
2008 academic year – 65% of all students, or 27% more.

• National School Renovation Program approx. 500 buildings were renovated.

Try comparing the above with the past 6 years; I bet you will find Hungary is in the middle of an evolving catastrophe.

tappanch
Guest

Document shows that the real aim of “rezsicsokkentes” is the fideszization * of utility companies.

*fideszization = forced nationalization, followed by privatization to friends & family at ridiculous prices. The Fidesz deadline for nationalization is January 1, 2017.

http://tldr.444.hu/2016/01/11/eddig-a-kulfoldiekkel-fizettettek-a-rezsicsokkentest-most-muszaj-lesz-ujat-huzni

tappanch
Guest

OK, Vajna gave more money to the movie “Saul fia” than I wrote on January 4.
Let me correct the data.

In millions of forints:
2012-04-26: 3.5
2013-03-05: 7.5
2013-07-05: 205.0
2014-03-27: 75.0
2014-12-08: 30.6
2015-05-07: 4.0 (Cannes festival)
2015-09-24: 3.5 (other festivals)

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

Together:
321.6 (about 1 million euros, half the cost of the production) +
7.5 (for the festivals)

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

On the other hand, the Jewish people who were shot to the Danube by the Hungarian Arrow Cross in 1944,
and whose remains were found at the Margit bridge in 2011 are still not buried.

http://nol.hu/belfold/maradjanak-a-dunaban-1583835

Istvan
Guest
EU cohesion programs have failed to achieve their main goal as publicly stated by the European Commission: creating a more economically homogeneous Europe. Evidence of vast economic gaps between Southern and Central Europe and more developed nations in Northern and Western Europe are readily apparent. Record high unemployment levels, especially among the youth in numerous Central European nations, hence the economic migrants to the UK, the human trafficking of Hungarian women ( see this video http://nol.hu/video/magyarorszagon-36-ezer-rabszolga-van-1580951 ), and even the mass immigration of university educated Hungarian that Eva has commented on repeatedly in posts is all evidence of this failure. But the EU cohesion programs have made money for holders of EU bonds, they have made money for Western European and US firms that provide materials for various projects for firms like Elios Innovatív Zrt. On this see the partners of Elios Innovatív Zrt ( http://www.elios.hu/cegunkrol.php ) that in include GE, Siemens, and many others. OLAF, the European Anti-Fraud Office is a standing joke, in 2014 Romania had 36 investigations opened against it, Hungary 13 and Bulgaria 11. The links between corruption and these funds have been academically studied, for example see http://www.crcb.eu/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Fazekas-et-al_EU-funds-and-grand-corruption-in-CEE_v2_2013.pdf Instead of focusing on the money only… Read more »
Guest

London Calling!

Eva has kept us abreast of Orban’s propaganda war by proxy and his media stranglehold – but here Reuters gives a good summary of the shenanigans so far and the ominous silence and refusal of the government spokesman to comment:

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN0UL17M20160111

“But it takes knowing when to shut up, and 25 billion will influence that too. If you shut up you can proceed to the cash desk,” said the executive, adding: “There is no independent media in Hungary.”

Regards

Charlie

Guest

“Hungary’s government denies exerting pressure on the media and says it meets EU standards on media freedom.”

Ha! Ha!.HAaaaaaaaa! HAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Oh! Sto…… HAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa stop pleeeeeeeees ….HAAaaaaaaaaàa ……
Haaaaaaaa. STOPPPP!!!!!……. Haaaaaaaaaaaàaaàaaa…….

tappanch
Guest

The price of crude oil vs gasoline, $/liter –
Brent crude in the world market price vs gasoline price in Hungary (MOL)

June 25, 2014. : 0.717 $/l vs 1.891 $/l = 426 Ft/l
January 11, 2016.: 0.208 $/l vs 1.115 $/l = 325 Ft/l

So while the price of the Brent crude has decreased by 71.0%, the gasoline price in Hungary has gone down by only 23.7% in forint or by 41.0% in dollar terms.

To put it differently, the
(profit of the Hungarian state + profit of intermediaries close to Fidesz + profit of MOL ) was

June 25, 2014: 164%
January 11, 2014: 436%

[minus the cost of refinery]

http://hvg.hu/cegauto.kozlekedes/20140623_Most_tankoljon_szerdatol_megint_megugrik

tappanch
Guest

US:
2015. last week of June: 0.960 $/l, Brent/gasonline = 1 + 39%
2016. first week of January: 0.529 $/l, Brent/gasonline = 1+ 154%

So the decline of gasoline price in the US has been 47.1% in the same period.

https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=EMM_EPMRU_PTE_NUS_DPG&f=W

tappanch
Guest

Gasoline prices on June 4, 2016, in $/l

Venezuela 0.02
Saudi Arabia 0.23

Russia: 0.49
USA: 0.60

Ukraine: 0.75

Hungary: 1.12
Austria 1.19
Slovakia: 1.28

Germany: 1.37
France: 1.39

Netherlands 1.68

http://www.globalpetrolprices.com/gasoline_prices/

nbvc
Guest

Orban persuaded Kiss not to resign.

resignation, giving in is never an option. Whatever the criticism, there can be no consequence of it. It’s weakness to give in and must be avoided. It was avoided.

Orban won again.

Viktor Varga
Guest

Hillary is in trouble. Bernie Sanders (I mean if Obama was a Communist or Stalinist then are there even proper adjectives for Sanders left?) will easily lose against Ted Cruz or Trump.

The Democrats are in deep trouble. Obama just had to veto the repeal the ACA, Cruz will not hesitate for a moment. If the Republicans keep both houses (very likely) and gain the presidency, it’s game over for Democrats for a few decades.

Orban wins again.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/01/11/fbis-clinton-probe-expands-to-public-corruption-track.html

Guest

I don’t believe a repug POTUS would enjoy O’s friendship with Putin …
PS:
Why do you Fidesz trolls always come up with such nonsense?
The republicans don’t like corruption either!

petofi
Guest

Correct, Wolfi.

What’s more, the Repubs will bring the hammer down on Mr. Putin lover–they won’t wait for Bruxelles to act.

spectator
Guest

I hope, you guys don’t seriously mean that someone with such ridiculously outdated hairdo and matching manners could become the president of the US..?
Heavens to Murgatroyd, what the World has became..?

Observer
Guest

It’s a virtual world u have there, the only real thing is the booty. If u share in the spoils, i understand. If not, u’re just a sucker and yes, O wins a freebie.

Member

I just don’t have the inner power to read the news from Hungary. Evas blog is an excellent source to update my knowledge of the happenings. She is the best of referring of the hungarian issues. Hungary is definitely not my world. Eva, thanks for your energy and engagement.

petofi
Guest

Quite right, A.N.
It’s only a matter of time before they start burning books..

spectator
Guest

If only books…

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