Back in business: the Orbán government is after its opponents

After the summer doldrums Hungarian politics is back in attack mode. In the last couple of days we witnessed two highly disturbing events. The first was the frisking of Ákos Hadházy, LMP’s new co-chairman and a member of parliament, by watchful policemen in Viktor Orbán’s private domain of Felcsút. The second was the crude, but potentially damaging, attempt by people most likely close to government circles to discredit Péter Juhász, co-chair of Együtt (Together), who is one of the most effective political activists in the anti-Fidesz camp.

Frisking in Felcsút

Felcsút is under the watchful eyes of the Hungarian police day and night. They make sure that no stranger loiters anywhere near Viktor Orbán’s precious football stadium. Especially suspect are people who are critical of the regime. As are camera crews. In the past, the police would retreat if confronted (I assume quite forcefully) with the argument that they have no right to interfere because the area is public property. At least this was the case about a year ago when Ferenc Gyurcsány managed to film a ten-minute video on life in Felcsút.

Ákos Hadházy was not so lucky when he appeared in Felcsút in the company of the TV crew of the German RTL2. They wanted to take some pictures of the stadium and the infamous choo-choo train which keeps going back and forth on its 5 km track, usually totally empty. They were stopped and, most likely illegally, frisked, and their car was also thoroughly searched. Apparently, a “helpful” neighbor of Viktor Orbán, who has a weekend house in Felcsút, called the police on them, claiming that they wanted to enter Orbán’s house, which was obviously a lie.

Hadházy on his Facebook page described what happened. “I was just smiling, but the Germans were downright shocked.” After their thorough search Hadházy was informed that the reason for this highly unusual procedure is that the country is under a state of “increased preparedness” (fokozott készültség). A brief video taken on Hadházy’s phone can be seen on YouTube.

When Index inquired about this claim from ORFK (Országos Rendőrfőkapitányság), they were told that the police chief of the country had ordered “increased control” (fokozott ellenőrzés) for the whole country between July 1 and September 30, 2016, which allows policemen to stop anyone or any vehicle and do a thorough search. The police didn’t explain the reason for introducing such a measure between these particular dates. I suspect that this incident has nothing whatsoever to do with the “increased control” measures but rather is part and parcel of the harassment of anyone who tries to call attention to the corruption of Viktor Orbán and his family, especially in and around Felcsút.

hadhazy

Today Orbán was accosted by journalists on his way to the yearly Fidesz picnic in Kötcse and asked about the incident. Orbán said that the police “must have had their reasons.” There are rules and regulations that everyone must obey. János Halász, the Fidesz spokesman, went further. He doubted Hadházy’s veracity because “in the past he has come up with so much nonsense that we are handling this case cautiously.” The “nonsense” Halász referred to is Hadházy’s heroic effort to uncover corruption cases related to EU subsidies.

Fidesz media comes to the rescue of Antal Rogán

This is not a pretty story either. Tamás Portik, who is currently serving a fifteen-year sentence for murder and other criminal activities, testified against Antal Rogán in the case Rogán bought against Péter Juhász, co-chair of Együtt. Juhász called him a criminal  and said that, as mayor, he had embezzled a great deal of money through his sales of property in the ritzy District V of downtown Pest. Portik claimed that at one point he was asked to deliver 10 million forints worth of euros from one of Rogán’s “customers” to the mayor. I covered the story in great detail back in June. Since then the Hungarian prosecutor’s office has declined to investigate the authenticity of Portik’s testimony. But, for one reason or another, Rogán and the people around him still don’t feel safe and so decided to go after Juhász.

On September 7 Pesti Srácok, a far-right Fidesz and government supported internet site, came out with a story that Portik’s girlfriend, Erika A. E., “handles his money” in Hungary, some of which is used to support an unnamed but well-known opposition politician. The claim is that some of Portik’s money, about €22-23 million of which is in Switzerland, is managed by his 20-year-old son. It is used to finance opposition parties.

According to Pesti Srácok, Portik’s money is funneled through a “foundation,” which recently received 80 million forints for the support of the politician. The person Pesti Srácok was obviously referring to, even if not by name, is Péter Juhász, who a few months ago asked the public for financial help because on his meager salary as district council member he cannot provide for his family of four.

Once the Pesti Srácok story was out, revelation followed revelation in the right-wing media. Válasz, another Fidesz mouthpiece, revealed that Juhász was the politician in question. A few hours later Attila Menyhárt, a former cellmate of Portik, showed up at Andy Vajna’s by now notorious TV2 studio. He recalled that Portik had proudly told him that he is able to influence politics even from inside his cell. He said that Péter Juhász was “Portik’s man, and that means a lot. He is the one who tells Juhász what to say, what to do, and what kinds of statements to make in public. Portik considers Juhász his puppet.” Portik would like to see the current government overthrown, which he believes will result in his freedom.

Naturally, Fidesz decided to pursue this juicy story. Moreover, as if the story weren’t damning enough on its face, it kept getting embellished. By the time it got to István Hollik, a member of the KDNP parliamentary delegation who was assigned to the case, the claim was that Juhász had admitted that he had accepted money from Portik.

How did this story gain traction? According to Juhász, Erika A. E., whom he didn’t know at that point, phoned him and offered him a picture on which Portik and Rogán can be seen together at some kind of gala gathering. The picture was evidence that the two men knew each other, or at least had met. When Erika delivered the photo, she asked whether Juhász would be good enough to collect some articles about the Rogán-Juhász trial for her from the internet because she is not too familiar with the ins and outs of the internet. She would like to give them to Portik, whom she visits frequently. Juhász obliged, collected the material, and was seen giving an envelope to Erika.

Juhász’s friendly gesture was a potentially costly mistake. We can expect a lengthy, ugly case that will track down the financial sources of the “foundation” and try to uncover the contents of the envelope. Rogán and his friends might have gotten hold of a story, however flimsy, that will ruin Juhász’s reputation.

September 10, 2016
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Jean P.
Guest

If the whole “state security” is looking into someones affairs they are bound to find something that can be blown up. If they would look into the affairs of the people in power they might have the satisfaction of making real scoops which would do without blowing up.

pappp
Guest

If Juhasz is pictured with an envelope taking it over from Portik’s people then he is probably finished. Sad story.

I can also imagine that “Erika” was actually working for Rogan’s people (or at least both to Rogan and Portik but more to the Rogan people than to Portik) in order to bring about this kompromat.

It’s smells like an old-school state security set up, the only question is why was Juhasz so naive. People around Portik must have been flipped to serve state security long ago.

Jean P.
Guest

Why would he be finished? He is doing a great service to the country by digging up and publishing information about corruption in the present political “elite”. This information is hard to get at, and he should not be blamed for utilising any source available to him. If contact with criminals is suspicious, he should try to avoid being photographed together with any important Fidesznik.

pappp
Guest

I sure hope he continues but imagine what will happen in the campaign with his paparazzo picture holding an envelope (which does NOT contain money) all over the place. I’m not sure the conservative southern district 5 voters (the southern part is conservative and they are the majority in that electoral district) will too be happy about that knowing also that he wanted to legalize drugs. I don’t blame him at all but he should’ve been much more careful.

tappanch
Guest

Orban quoted [chief anti-Semite of the 1990s] Csurka in his speech in Kötcse.

He also called his political opponents in the EU (Juncker, Verhofstadt & Schultz) “nihilist”, not liberal.

“We have already won our most important battles, but we cannot put down our swords”, he boasted.

http://pestisracok.hu/orban-viktor-mi-ellenfeleink-nem-liberalisok-hanem-nihilistak-itt-kotcsei-beszed/

tappanch
Guest

new attempt to post.

Orban quoted [chief anti-Semite of the 1990s] Csurka in his speech in Kötcse.

He also called his political opponents in the EU (Juncker, Verhofstadt & Schultz) “nihilist”, not liberal.

“We have already won our most important battles, but we cannot put down our swords”, he boasted.

http://pestisracok.hu/orban-viktor-mi-ellenfeleink-nem-liberalisok-hanem-nihilistak-itt-kotcsei-beszed/

PS

tappanch
Guest

Mrs Clinton’s medical problem is not good news – Trump is a dark horse.

https://youtu.be/dDPJcxuImig

PALIKA
Guest

Well, I would not be sorry if stood down. I much prefer Bernie or Biden.

webber
Guest

Markets are falling heavily in part because of the news of Clinton’s illness, in part because of expectation of rate increases by the Fed.

Guest

Not Too much OT:

Nick Cohen has written a damning comment on the idiocy of Brexit and how Britain will suffer for it:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/10/why-would-eu-appease-deluded-brexiters

PS: Wasn’t the opinion here that Nick was too lenient on O? Well this time nobody can accuse him of leniency!

PALIKA
Guest

He is absolutely right about Brexit. Many who voted for it belong to an indolent underclass who believe the fairy tale that the English will succeed by just the reason of the fact of being English. It is a bit like the mindset of youn women who regard themselves as rather beautiful. Until they grow up a bit they believe they can make a success of lif simply by being pretty. The English are an agreeable bunch on the whole but they have long way to make up. The education system is a disgrace. Few speak any foreign language and many hardly speak comprehensible English. No wonder the productivity of the despised French worker is about 30% above the U.K.’s. They have allowed themselves to be deluded because the Brexit lies flattered their elevated self esteem. Unfortunately it may well end in tears but by then I maybe living elsewhere.

Jean P.
Guest

The English sing “Rule Britannia, Britannia rule the waves” in the Royal Albert Hall, but they know it is nonsense. They don’t believe that one day they will dominate the Oceans as before.

The Hungarians decorate their living rooms with maps of Greater Hungary, and they really believe that one day they will again be a Herrenvolk ruling over Slavs and Romanians who vastly outnumber them.

The English are excused for not learning foreign languages. They don’t need it because English is the universal language. The English can use their time better.

The Hungarian language has vanishingly little to offer compared to English. It is inexcuseable that the Hungarians don’t learn English at least.

PALIKA
Guest

No one could take the silly song seriously..
Hungary is going nowhere pretty fast. It is its worst enemy. It represents a potential strategic threat but of limited extent probably easily handled.

The UK represents a serious problem both for its inhabitants and for the rest of Europe. That is why I believe that an absence of realistic assessment of the place the English occupy is truly worrying. This is a disgracul period of English history. I wish that this was nothing more than a bad dream.

Sztív
Guest

Sadly I concur Palika.
The 48% don’t show any signs of fighting back but instead accept a PM that supported remain whilst she flounders about devising an exit strategy.
Our education system has been an unmitigated disaster since the 1970s and would take decades to sort out.
The indolent under class aren’t quite a malevolent as you imply. Buy them a new flat screen TV the size of a wardrobe, a new (German) car and two golfing holidays in Spain / year and they’ll be quite happy wallowing in their ignorance. Yes this is a disgraceful period of English history. Our politicians are utterly gerinctelen but of course they are the politicians that we deserve.
I’m surprised to hear that productivity here is so poor compared to the French given the number of hard working Eastern Europeans who work here.
Please let me know where you decide to go next as we’re also looking for inspiration.

PALIKA
Guest

Most of the Cameron created jobs are low calibre and require low level staff. Since the new jobs require mostly uneducated workers their productivity is pretty low. Parcel delivery people, cleaners, servers at Byron or Macdonalds, pub staff,
The indolent are not malevolent, just ignorant and indolent and have sense of reality.
From about 1960 there was a breakthrough in that grammar school educated youngsters could reach the top. Until then even in the Labour Party most leaders were public school educated. But grammar schools needed the 11 plus filter. It creamed off the best. They were hated by their group more than they resented the rich. So the talented, industrious ambitious poor were deprived of the chance to break out by being crammed into comps where they perpetuated the cult of ignorance and indolence with the support of champions of equality. What is the payoff? Brexit.

Sztív
Guest

I can only presume that you’ve been here rather a long time.

Observer
Guest

Hungary is going nowhere pretty fast. It is its worst enemy. …

Hear, hear!

Jean P.
Guest

“No one could take the silly song seriously..”

How about the silly map?

Guest

Do you mean “Greater Hungary” that is featured on many large cars driven by Hungarian mafiosi – with Slovak licence plates …

You know, those Greater Hungarians don’t like to pay Hungarian taxes – in Hungary only the stupid and the poor have to pay tax!

Jean P.
Guest

Please read my comment 3:21 pm and Palika’s answer 5:44 pm.

PALIKA
Guest

Eva, am I right that the recently appointed Hungarian Ambassador to London, Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky, who looks like his name suggests, is a contributor to your blog? I remember he wrote something on Juncket v OV.