Brazen plundering of Hungary’s national wealth

A few days ago I read with great interest that the mayor of Óbarok, the village next to the famed Felcsút, which received the most EU subsidies in the country, announced his intention to resign “for the good of the village.” Mihály Borbíró, an independent who has served the village for almost twelve years, believes that because he is not a Fidesz man Óbarok is being deprived financially. The village hasn’t received a penny from the subsidies allotted to Hungary from the European Union. Last year they asked for 10 million forints to renovate the kindergarten and 15 million for roadbuilding but got nothing. Óbarok, with a population of 800, is about half the size of Felcsút, but while Felcsút with 1,700 inhabitants received 600 million forints in EU assistance between 2009 and 2015 Óbarok got 25 million in 2011. Period. This is what normally happens in Orbán’s Hungary if the townspeople elect the “wrong” man.

The exorbitant size of EU subsidies for Felcsút is not the only thing that is suspicious. An incredible amount of agricultural land owned by the Hungarian state and leased on a long-term basis until now was auctioned off. Lőrinc Mészáros, Orbán’s alter ego, and Orbán’s in-laws bought more than their “fair share.” The purchase of land by the Mészáros family as well as others close to Orbán has been going on for some time, but when an investigative journalist tried to take a look at the data regarding land ownership in Felcsút he was turned away, despite the fact that such information is public.

And now to the latest on the Habsburg front. There is no question that Viktor Orbán is fascinated with the Hungarian Habsburg summer palace only a few kilometers from Felcsút. Another building from the original complex built by Archduke Joseph in the 1820s–a structure called “Mosóház” (washing house), which is of historical significance under special protection–was purchased by the Felcsúti Utánpótlás Neveléséért Alapítvány (Foundation for the Education of Future Champions). Although some newspapers announced the purchase as an acquisition by “Mészáros’s foundation,” the foundation was actually established by Viktor Orbán in 2006, if I’m not mistaken, with only 100,000 forints.

The story of this purchase is peculiar, as is almost everything connected to Orbán, Mészáros, and Felcsút. Until December the building belonged to the real estate company Artemis, owned by Henryk Marian Andrew Bukowski, a company with interests in the UK and Poland. Orbán’s foundation purchased not just the building but Artemis itself for 70 million forints. Artemis’s status was changed from profit to non-profit, and the company was moved from Budapest to Felcsút.

I should also note that the building is at the terminus of the five-kilometer run of the narrow-gauge railway that was reconstructed at great expense by the foundation.

Earlier I reported on the agricultural land that Mészáros and family have purchased recently. It is considered to be a good-size estate by Hungarian standards. The Mészáros family now owns over 1,400 hectares, or approximately 3,450 acres. The size of this acquisition is especially glaring if you look at all recent land purchases in Fejér County. Most of the land was sold in relatively small lots, between 20 and 200 hectares (40% of all auctioned off lands). These smaller lots were purchased by 90 individuals. The Mészáros family bought 8.3% of all the land auctioned off in Fejér County. Or, put another way, the total amount of land sold was 17,000 hectares, out of which the Mészároses got 1,425 hectares. The price was 1.9 billion forints.

This is land that Mészáros owns outright. Lately he also acquired the former Herceghalmi Kísérleti Gazdaság Zrt., now called Agrosystem Zrt., which leases 3,960 hectares of agricultural land from the Nemzeti Földalapkezelő (NFA/National Land Administration). Such leases are usually for 25 years, but Agrosystem was awarded a 50-year lease back in 2001. Note the date. This decision was reached in the last year of the first Orbán government.



A few hours ago Zsolt Gréczy, spokesman for the Demokratikus Koalíció, upon hearing that Orbán’s foundation had purchased the historic Mosóház of the former Habsburg estate, reaffirmed his party’s determination that after the fall of the Orbán regime “both those who concocted these suspicious, immoral, dishonorable, underpriced contracts and their beneficiaries will be called to account in the court of law.” As far as DK is concerned, all property currently in Mészáros’s name actually belongs to Viktor Orbán since in their opinion Mészáros is a front man and Viktor Orbán a billionaire.

Meanwhile, Mészáros is busy. He was just awarded a new contract. His company will build a school and sports facility in Dunakeszi, a 3.5 billion forint project. His company was also entrusted with the renovation of the Nemzeti Lovarda (National Riding School) in the Castle District in Buda and the renovation of the palace of the bishop of Szombathely. The latest is that he is trying his hand at a car dealership with headquarters in Felcsút.

When will this all end and how? When will the Hungarian people say: “That’s it! We will no longer tolerate your brazen plundering of our country.”

April 7, 2016
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April 8, 2016 2:39 am

Zsolt Gréczy:”will be called to account in the court of law”

First you need to control the prosecution. Currently, all charges of Fidesz corruption will go in the drawer. First Peter Polt and Tünde Handó needs to be removed and their mandate expire around 2020. I am sure before that time their mandate is renewed somehow.

Slightly OT: Yesterday, in Budapest on the Korut I was taken over by a Ferrari (new one and M license plate), according to me the son in law of VO was driving it. According to my wife it was somebody else looking like him. But my question was who can afford such a car in Hungary, with such high (double) taxes.?

April 8, 2016 4:09 am

” . . who can afford such a car in Hungary, with such high (double) taxes.?”

If you don’t pay income tax it may be affordable. Some people know how to avoid taxes altogether.

April 8, 2016 7:26 am

In Hungary only the poor and the stupid pay taxes …

You shouldn’t forget that especially the poor pay 27% VAT on almost everything.

PS and a bit OT:

After a few years full of stress (120 nights in hotels in one year on business trips …) I left the company and became a freelancer, doing the same job but with the advantage that I could steer the volume of work – generally I tried to work two thirds of a regular job …

What I earned less was more than made up by the free time and also the opportunity to buy almost everything for my small business, whether it was a computer, a pen or a new car …

And my colleagues and I often joked that you made more money effectively thinking about ways to minimise your tax burden than doing paid work!

The income tax on every extra Mark I made was almost 40% in Germany in the 70s up to the 90s!

April 8, 2016 9:08 am

I am sure there are many people who — if they were earning enough to feed, clothe and shelter their families decently and to educate their children — would not mind paying a tax of 50% or even more to help the common good, as long as the system was transparent and honest and they could be confident that others were doing likewise and that the tax contributions were not being misappropriated. No country is perfect in this regard (as the Panama papers prove), and of course we have grotesque, institutionalized kleptocracies like Zimbabwe, North Korea and Russia. But who ever would have thought that anything remotely like them would turn out to be not only possible within but even subsidized by the tax-payers of the EU?

How can we be surprised that Hungarian tax-payers tolerate it if EU tax-payers do?

April 8, 2016 4:21 am

EU gives money to renew railroads in Hungary. A 50 km segment would cost 171 million euros. A consortium that includes the prime minister’s friend (yes, it is Mr Mészáros again) was awarded the contract, but for 36.6% more money. The European Union pays the 62 million euro difference too.

April 8, 2016 4:59 am
–“When will this all end and how? When will the Hungarian people say: “That’s it! We will no longer tolerate your brazen plundering of our country.””– There won’t ever be an end to this in Hungary, for three good reasons: 1. The thieves and looters today are ‘mieink’ (our own), and not ‘idegenlelkűek’ (‘alien minded’ Jews and other liberals). 2. Thus these days any ordinary Hungarian (= not a Jew or otherwise liberal) may justifiably entertain ardent hopes that s/he could also hit the jackpot with cheating, thievery and looting, provided that s/he was ‘ügyes’ (smart) enough. 3. After hitting upon the brilliant idea, in the early 1920s, that thieving, looting and expropriating (Jews) would be the handiest solution to the nation’s economic woes, and then carrying out this policy with commendable ‘efficiency’ between 1938 and 1945, thieving, looting and expropriating has become literally part of the DNA of the Hungarian nation, a ‘haladó hagyomány’ (progressive tradition) that continued throughout the communist era and the quarter of a century since the regime change, and continuing today quite unabated, if anything on steroids. Nothing surprising here folks, this is the Hungarian way. The ordinary Hungarian well understands and appreciates its ins… Read more »
April 8, 2016 8:01 am

In looking at the Hungarian situation, it is time to forget about the terms ‘corruption’, ‘thievery’…and the like.

Plain and simple, Orban now treats the country as being his, personally, to do with as he pleases. The inhabitants are just slaves.

Welcome to Egypt of 3000years ago, on the Duna.
The citizens have become the jewish slaves.

When the Hungaricoes will wake up, what they’ll dislike most about their situation is to have been told that they have become ‘jews’…

April 8, 2016 8:01 am

Re: that ‘Mosohaz’

If it’s a peculiar purchase it’s also a sure ironic one. As they say in real estate , ‘location, location, location’. Nothing like having a Habsburg laundromat available to wash all the ‘dirty laundry’.

Not sure about commissions paid on real estate sold in the country but selling places for almost 2 billion forints sure has to kick off a nice piece of change to those involved in the transaction. No doubt a bunch around that real estate trough.

April 8, 2016 8:45 am

Up date on education reform process: Nepszava has a short article on the Civic Public Education Platform’s position on the latest attempt of the government to effectively reconstitute the round table discussions Probably the most interesting thing in this article was a reference to the government’s position that the Civic Platform’s 12 points were effectively incorporated in the joint union strike committee’s original 25 demands. Hence by having discussions with the unions the concerns of the Civic Platform were affectively being addressed.

To see the 12 points in Hungarian go to to see the 25 demands in English go to . The reference in the Budapest Beacon’s translation of the demands to 22 lessons per week is understood to be a 22 hour basic work week for teachers with all additional hours being paid to teachers on an overtime basis. This was discussed by Mrs. Galló, president, Teachers Trade Union (PSZ) last week. Its a major sticking point in the union government discussions, the 22 hour school week is also mirrored in the 12 points.


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