Antal Rogán’s legal troubles: two organized crime bosses know a lot about him

The last time I wrote about Antal Rogán’s possible link to members of organized crime was a month ago, after Tamás Portik’s devastating testimony in a civil suit Rogán initiated against Péter Juhász. Here is the background.

Antal Rogán, the number three man in the Orbán government, was mayor of Budapest’s District V between 2006 and 2014. In fact, Rogán has spent his whole life as a modestly paid politician. Yet, especially in the last decade or so, he became a rich man. Péter Juhász, a former human rights activist and now one of the leaders of Együtt as well as a council member of District V, has made it his goal to uncover suspicious sales of municipal property. Juhász unearthed several cases where real estate was sold way below market price. One such piece of real estate went to the common-law wife/girlfriend of Tamás Portik, a convicted murderer and a member of the Budapest criminal underworld. Juhász, in one of his public appearances, called Rogán a criminal. Rogán decided to sue, which may have been a huge mistake on his part.

Juhász’s lawyer argued that Tamás Portik, who during his trial testified that he knew Rogán and that Rogán was lying when he claimed otherwise, should be called to testify in connection with real estate deals he knew about. The defense was especially interested in the sale of a very expensive apartment to Árpád Habony’s mother-in-law, in which Portik acted as a go-between. He was the one who allegedly delivered 10 million forints worth of euros to Rogán as a bribe in connection with the sale. Independent media outlets found the details of the encounter as described by Portik to be realistic, and the consensus was that Rogán is most likely guilty as charged.

But that was not the end of Rogán’s troubles. He is now being tied to László Vizoviczki, who comes from the shadowy world of Budapest night life and who has been under investigation ever since 2012. Over the years Vizoviczki built a restaurant/night club empire consisting of more than 40 business ventures in different parts of the city, most of them in Districts III and V. The word on the street was that without the okay of Vizoviczki no night club could open in Budapest, especially if it was located near one of his own. He achieved such dominance with the active cooperation of crooked cops and crooked politicians.

Although there was an investigation into the links between Vizoviczki and high-ranking policemen, not one of the 61 policemen initially charged in the District V station has to worry. The Chief Prosecutor’s Office closed the case in May 2015.

Despite the closed case, it seems that Vizoviczki spent millions, if not hundreds of millions, of forints for police protection. This usually involved harassing his competitors and making sure that no trouble ever came to his own business ventures. Some of the high-ranking policemen were also the source of inside information that helped Vizoviczki in his dirty dealings. An excellent, detailed summary of Vizoviczki’s rise to power and his connection to the police appears in the first installment of a Vizoviczki portrait by an investigative journalist of


Vizoviczki also had extensive dealings with the local politicians who were instrumental in granting or denying business permits. By 2012, when Vizoviczki’s arrest was imminent and the investigators of the National Defense Service were already on his case, a conversation took place between Vizoviczki’s chief of security and a certain József T., who oversaw the District V business ventures of the crime boss. József T. reported that the district notary, a kind of city manager in the Hungarian system, had given a permit to somebody who, in the Vizoviczki man’s opinion, shouldn’t have received one. The security man says in that telephone conversation that if the city manager gave out such a permit it was “without the knowledge of Mr. Rogán” and, if that is the case, “they went against Mr. Rogán’s wishes” (az ő számításait keresztbe húzták). Although it is pretty certain that over the years the city manager received millions from Vizoviczki, after a lengthy investigation he was acquitted. The tapes were illegally obtained and hence couldn’t be used against him.

But Rogán and his city manager might not be off the hook yet. A few days ago an internet television station associated with Jobbik, N1TV, released a lengthy interview with one of the accused in the Vizoviczki trial, a female employee. She said that the terrace permits cost the businessman 4 million forints at the beginning of every season. She added that Rogán insisted on a personal meeting with Vizoviczki and that, if he was too busy to meet the mayor, the terrace openings had to be postponed. The interview can be seen on the station’s website.

That’s not all. Yesterday N1TV published a 19-page letter written by Vizoviczki, who was already in jail, in which he outlined a possible plea agreement between himself and the prosecution. The deal would be that he would say nothing about Fidesz politicians but would tell everything he knows about the socialists. He made it clear that he has plenty of information on Fidesz and indicated that if the prosecution refuses to oblige, he will not hesitate to talk about their politicians’ affairs. He very much hoped that he wouldn’t be forced to take such steps because his sympathies lie with the present government. The offer apparently involved “a member of parliament-mayor” who, we must assume, was an MSZP politician. He claimed that he has information on criminal activities of this person and his deputy that would rival the sensation caused by Ferenc Gyurcsány’s speech at Balatonőszöd about his lies of the past.

Admittedly, three years have gone by since this letter was written, but on July 6 Pesti Srácok, a Fidesz-sponsored internet news site, reported that Vizoviczki will apparently be released on a 250 million forint bail. Release on bail is relatively rare in Hungary, and therefore the news caused quite a stir. Given Vizoviczki’s extensive business dealings in District V, attention immediately centered on the possible connection between the unexpected release of Vizoviczki and Tamás Portik’s testimony against Rogán at the civil suit Rogán launched against Péter Juhász. The connection between the two events is made stronger by Vizoviczki’s sudden announcement a few days after he received the good news of his release that he has never met Rogán in his life. It looks as if the prosecutors rushed to help Antal Rogán who, it seems, is truly worried about his political future.

July 16, 2016
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July 16, 2016 11:34 pm

There is not much to discuss and getting lost in the details… The whole FIDESZ from top to bottom is an association of common criminals. Even the lowest ranking party members are part of this mafia organisation if by no other means but by the way of bribes, etc… And the higher is their ranking in the FIDESZ the greater their crime. In any decent country for much less than Rogan’s deeds the ‘politician’ would be in jails. Look for example at the case of Israel, where the ex-president, as well as the ex-prime minister, are both in jail; the latter exactly for the kind of dealings as Rogan. And there are preliminary proceedings against their sitting PM as well. Not that the Israeli politician are more corrupt that the Hungarian establishment, just theirs is not a democracy on paper only… Can you imagine that in the ‘democratic’ Hungary any such thing could happen? Even in communist China people like Rogan, Orban, etc… would have been convicted and jailed, not to speak of pitting against the wall… What has happened to the world, what has happened to the EU that tolerates such criminals as Orban? The mind boggles!

July 16, 2016 11:42 pm

Speculation: As long as the boss of bosses remains in office, Roguan is safe. There’s no honor among thieves, but lots of joint self-interest. Orban is most vulnerable to being toppled by a conspiracy of disgruntled thieves; I think he realizes that that’s where his biggest risk lies, and that he has to keep appeasing them. But of course, among thieves, appeasement (and extortion) is a bottomless pit (and a sign of weakness). And of course PP, the crooked Über-lawyer, is not immune either. (In how many countries is the Attorney-General in the pocket of the PM?)

July 17, 2016 11:13 am

How different is all of this than the political relationships between Mafia based organizations in Bulgaria and Ukraine. The EU and INTERPOL have been aware of these relationships for many years. There have been reports for years that the CIA was concerned about the interface of the Russian Mafia with the Central European mob because of the close relationships between the Russian Federation security services and elements of the Russian Mafia.

Putin’s power was in part founded on his links to organised crime. One would suspect that Orban is well aware of that history. Putin has a close circle of criminal oligarchs at his disposal and has spent his career cultivating this circle.

Karen Dawisha’s book, “Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia” documents how during Putin’s time as deputy mayor of St. Petersburg he was alleged to be was involved with the local Mafia, ex-KGB apparatchiks and bureaucrats in schemes involving the diversion of municipal funds, illegal arms shipments, the food shortage scandal of 1991, the local gambling industry, and money laundering for the Cali drug cartel through the Real Estate Board of St. Petersburg.

July 17, 2016 12:36 pm

And so far the Magyar and Russian states look like they are ‘brothers in arms’ when including pillaging and robbing as a necessary and useful accessories in the continuance of power. How long that can go in without some implosion beats me. But as this example may show the rotted ones will have their opportunities to take the other rotters down. Igen, even ‘goodfellas’ know when ‘loyalties’ have seen their day.

July 18, 2016 3:07 am

“The whole FIDESZ from top to bottom is an association of common criminals.”

Wholeheartedly agree. No wonder that their first step in seizing power was to put Polt into the chief prosecutor’s chair. This happened in the first Orban-era, but has perfected by now. With that high level protection in their back they can feel as safe as possible.

July 17, 2016 9:55 am

There is a connection. there is no doubt. The “testimony” from this criminal will go to the highest bidder. No doubt “his sympathies lie with the present government” as under this government he has grown his empire such extensive level, and he knows that when this government is gone, so is he. Any government that will follow Fidesz, regardless of political stance, will start with a huge clean-up. There will be reviews of contracts and past practices, and unlikely will be any “personal meeting” for terrace permits.

I think our only hope is that the opposition parties unite and bring in a “whistleblower protection” law. There is no low-paid employees that would blow the whistle at this point, as their livelihood and their lives would be at risk. In Ontario the “Ontario Securities Commission will now pay up to $5 million for tips as first in Canada to offer whistleblower rewards”. Something the Hungarian opposition should push for: protection and rewards.

July 18, 2016 4:29 am

@ ” …first in Canada to offer whistleblower rewards”

Yes. I thought of this or a similar “finder’s fee” when the ill gotten wealth of the fidesz mafiosi are investigated. There will be a lot of singing then.