Until now the personal excesses of Viktor Orbán, prime minister of Hungary, could be summed up in one word: “Felcsút,” a small village where, just like Romania’s former dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, he built a luxury football stadium right next to his adobe house and where his private foundation, the Ferenc Puskás Football Academy, is located. Orbán’s foundation is richly endowed. Since 2010 it has received nine billion forints from the tax-free donations of admiring oligarchs. Hundreds of articles have been written about the Felcsút phenomenon, where everything is about Viktor Orbán and his whims. But it is possible that his downfall might come from a village only a couple of kilometers south of Felcsút called Alcsútdoboz, originally just Alcsút, meaning “Lower Csút, as opposed to Felcsút, Upper Csút.
The first time I learned that Archduke Joseph had an estate in Alcsút was when I read an amusing story, related by Mihály Károlyi, prime minister of Hungary in 1918, about the archduke. Archduke József suggested to him that, because of his enthusiasm for the new Hungarian republic, perhaps he should change his name to József Alcsúti. Károlyi wryly noted that he shouldn’t have tried to persuade the archduke to make a fool of himself.
Well, by now it is pretty certain that the Orbán family owns part of that estate and most likely hundreds of hectares of excellent agriculture land surrounding it. Thanks to Nárcisz (Daffodil) the kuvasz, whom Viktor Orbán paraded around to please those who are concerned about animal welfare, information has been gathered that makes it almost certain that Lőrinc Mészáros is a front man of Viktor Orbán. Not that we didn’t suspect that before, but none of the tricks for hiding Viktor Orbán’s wealth could ever be detected. Now, however, we have some idea of how the Habsburg estate ended up being the home of the prime minister’s family.
Until July 2011 the 13 hectare estate with five separate buildings and a water tower belonged to the Csákvári State Farm. It was then purchased by the CZG Real Estate Company, established in Székesfehérvár in 2006 by Győző Orbán, father of the prime minister. As soon as the older Orbán acquired the property, it was rented to Lőrinc Mészáros, mayor of Felcsút and a close “business associate” of Viktor Orbán. Mészáros told Krisztina Ferenczi, the journalist who spent years investigating Orbán’s shady business dealings, that he rented the place to store his farm equipment. For that privilege he plopped down 155 million forints, which allowed him to use the property for ten years. With this 155 million forints Győző Orbán paid off his loan from CIB Ingatlanlízing for the purchase of the estate. The property is still owned by CZG Real Estate.
Back in 2012 Mészáros told Ferenczi that no renovation was taking place, except for the minimal maintenance of these historic buildings. Ferenczi, however, could see even from a distance that several buildings on the property were being extensively renovated. Expensive new tiles from Coruna, Spain were installed on the roof and a second floor with dormer windows was being built from the attic of one of the buildings. At that time Ferenczi reported that on the second floor eight bedrooms, each with a separate bath, were created. By all appearances the Orbáns were planning to move in because the Felcsút house, right next to the site where the stadium was being built, was becoming unbearably noise and dirty. Ferenczi at that time came to the conclusion that, by the look of it, it was “Mészáros who bought a very expensive piece of real estate for the Orbán family.” I think we can flesh this out a bit more. First, Győző Orbán on borrowed money bought property that, although still in the name of CZG Real Estate, actually belongs to Viktor Orbán, who paid for it through Lőrinc Mészáros’s fictitious transaction, which is a crime by the way. What happened here is a typical money laundering scheme.
Ferenczi saw boxes of books that were owned by Anikó Lévai, Orbán’s wife, when she still lived in Szolnok with her parents. She spotted a temporary carpentry shop that was producing doors and windows made out of oak that greatly resembled the ones that were installed in the Orbán’s house in Buda. No question, a very expensive reconstruction and renovation of the buildings was taking place already in 2013. Ferenczi was also told by the locals that Viktor and Anikó Orbán often visited the site, which already at that time was impossible to approach.
I should add that the surrounding agricultural land is in three hands. Lőrinc Mészáros has 155 hectares, which he acquired on a twenty-year lease, after which the lessee, whether Mészáros or not, can purchase the land. A second owner is Anikó Lévai, who purchased land for very little money some years ago. Anikó’s land is rented out to János Flier, who owns substantial pieces of land around the estate. Flier might also be a front man, or at least he was often mentioned in the media as such. Therefore, there is a very good possibility that perhaps as many as 200 or even 300 hectares of land surrounding the estate actually belong to Viktor Orbán.
Unfortunately, opposition politicians failed to pick up the stories published by Krisztina Ferenczi in 2012, which very accurately described the situation. Suddenly now, in search of Nárcisz’s home, Péter Juhász of Együtt, who is the most relentless corruption hound, decided to pursue the story and demand an investigation of Viktor Orbán’s financial situation, which is clearly not what he claims it to be. Under the circumstances I very much doubt that there is any hope of a serious investigation. But thanks to Nárcisz there is now proof that the Orbáns actually live in the former estate of Archduke Joseph. The dog’s microchip tells us that his owner is Gáspár Orbán, son of Viktor Orbán. In 2013, when microchips were made mandatory for dogs, his domicile was listed as Alcsútdoboz. Moreover, the gatekeeper of the estate named Viktor Orbán as his boss, not Lőrinc Mészáros, when talking with the journalists of 444 a few days ago. Slip of the tongue.
I doubt that anyone could prove that the estate is actually Orbán’s. On paper it is still owned by his father’s company, but if Hungary had an independent prosecutor’s office it could certainly probe into the details of the renovation of the buildings. Where did the money come from for what had to be a very expensive undertaking?
László Seres in HVG predicted that “with the discovery of Nárcisz’s domicile the fall of Viktor Orbán has begun.” That’s a far too optimistic assessment of the situation, but given all the country’s domestic problems, the discovery that the modest prime minister is actually a billionaire who lied about his wealth for all these years might inflame the population. Jenő Veress of Népszava also asked: “Could Nárcisz be the banana peel that the empire falls on?” Maybe, but for that the whole opposition must keep the story alive and not let the scandal die, as opposition politicians have so often done in the past.