Breaking news: Rosatom was Viktor Orbán’s piggy bank

Lajos Simicska, the former friend of and financial adviser to Viktor Orbán, at last revealed his long-kept secret about the Hungarian prime minister’s plan to buy RTL Klub, the Hungarian subsidiary of RTL Group, on Rosatom’s money, 24.hu reported about an hour ago.

The crucial conversation between Simicska and Orbán took place in 2014, right after the electoral victory in which Orbán’s party again won two-thirds of the seats in parliament. In the course of the conversation, which was mostly about Fidesz’s media program for the next four years, Orbán announced his plan to purchase RTL Klub, the most popular and profitable television network in Hungary. Once it was under his control, he would put an end to the network’s programing. When Simicska expressed doubts about the feasibility of such a move, Orbán wanted to know the approximate purchase price, which Simicska estimated to be about 300 million euros, or 100 billion Hungarian forints. Orbán’s reaction was: “No problem, Rosatom will buy it for me.” It was at this point, Simicska contends, that their friendship came to an end. A week later, when they met again, Simicska told Orbán that he would not be a party to such an undertaking.

Simicska originally told this story in a two-hour interview with Reuters, but the Hungarian businessman stopped the publication of the interview once he realized that Reuters refused to include this crucial part of his interview.

Viktor Orbán  never bought RTL Klub, but about three months after the conversation with Simicska took place the Hungarian government began its frontal attack on RTL Klub, announcing its intention to levy heavy taxes on the media based on advertising revenues. The move was structured in such a way as to specifically target the German-owned RTL Klub. The idea was to force its owners to part with the financially squeezed Hungarian subsidiary. Orbán’s plans were foiled by the German company’s forceful resistance.

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Member

LilliPutin is MiniTrump

Hardly a surprise, just a confirmation that Orban is bankrolled by Russian/nuclear money. What would be a surprise (given the way things have been going) would be if the decent portion of the world finally decided to do something to stop this contemptible sociopath. But with an even bigger one in office in Washington, he’s not even the first in line…
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Member
pappp
Guest

The story is in line with what was rumored years ago that is that Simicska thought that Orban’s pivot to Russia (which Orban told Simicska was gonna to happen after the 2014 elections) was a huge mistake and was one of the reasons why the two had a falling out.

Orban is a Russian agent but nobody cares about that.

People are OK with that. They got used to it like the frog gets used to the hot water.

Jean P.
Guest

The story has a ring of truth about it. Nevertheless proof would be appreciated. Were there witnesses to the conversation? Was it taped?

Black Jack
Guest

Let’s see if Orban has the courage (and ground) to sue Simicska.

Istvan
Guest
Possibly Lajos Simicska should get on the phone with Gábor Stier a major journalist for Magyar Nemzet who has already today from Budapest named the likely culprits in the bombing of the St. Petersburg Metro Line. It’s either the Chechens or the Islamic State from my reading of his report. I suspect that Stier’s conclusion will be consistent with the thinking of the Russian Investigation Committee (SKK). Similarly Neil Farquhar in the New York Times a short while ago raised the specter of those terrorists too. In 1999 there were supposed Chechen bombings of apartment buildings that helped Putin become a bigger public figure when he said: “We will pursue terrorists everywhere. If they are in an airport, then in an airport, and forgive me, if we catch them in the toilet, then we’ll rub them out in the toilet. The question is closed once and for all.” To this day many believe the Kremlin leadership and the FSB blew up the buildings, the actual bombers were never caught. But the bombings did provide cover for the wars in Chechnya, sort of like the false intelligence story about weapons of mass destruction opened the door for the US war in… Read more »
Guest

Someone (or even better, a large number …) being killed by terrorists is always a kind of good news for the sheeple – yes these bloody (insert group’s name her) should be destroyed!

But reality is more complicated, again my favourite:

The young Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari wrote in his book:
Sapiens – A brief history of humankind

“Today more people die from eating too much than from human violence, which is really an amazing achievement.”

Ain’t that interesting/funny/crazy/you name it – in a way?

Humans in the 21st century!

Sergey
Guest

Gabor Stier is as pro-Russian as you can get. He went to IMO (MGIMO) the school for Soviet ‘diplomats’.

This bombing may well have been an inside job. Wouldn’t be the first for Russians that’s for sure.

Tyrker
Guest

“To this day many believe the Kremlin leadership and the FSB blew up the buildings, the actual bombers were never caught.”

Actually, the perpetrators of the (failed) Ryazan bombings *were* caught, and they did indeed turn out to be FSB agents.

Observer
Guest

This is a very interesting step, looks like an escalation in the limited war between the two. If the Simicska say is supported by other proof, this may turn into a major, even crucial event (God willing).
All related events point in the same direction: Orbán has been or has cornered himself in the Paks 2 case, where surely a huge corruption scheme has been included.
In any normal country a grand investigation should have been running, but …

aida
Guest

All will be revealed in the fullness of time. It is now beginning to happen that former high office holders are prosecuted, see the ex president of Argentina and ex Prime Minister Fillon. Also some are actually booted out of office and prosecuted such as the Brazilian President and the one in Siuth Korea. Hungary is unlikely to feel OV’s collar whilst in office but he is no longer PM there are many who will be happy to take a look at what actually happened during his years.

It may happen sooner than you think. The mob is very capricious and its mood change can be both sudden and violent. The longer the guy stays in power the more enemies he makes. His fall could be quite a spectacular affair.

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘The longer the guy stays in power the more enemies he makes. His fall could be quite a spectacular affair’

Could be an interesting lesson in perhaps ‘overreach’. You know the fellow may think he is a Marcus Aurelius with gravitas. On the other hand, even the people’s ‘patience’ with a Nero wears out.

And as far as opposition political advertising in ’18 it just may be as quiet as a church mouse. It will be tough to get a word out as the larynx gets strangled. Rosatom or not still VO understands what Putin the media maven has done in the ‘home’ country. CE has a very good copycat.

Observer
Guest

Amen!

Istvan
Guest
Simicska is very much like Donald Trump except possibly fatter and with an even worse golf game. I find his justification for his break with Orban to be dubious, Orban had made numerous overtures to Putin while Simicska was sitting on top of Fidesz and controlling party finances. Orban worked to increase his ties to the Putin regime consistently since he came to power in 2010, Simicska said nothing until his own economic interests were potentially threatened. What is very clear is that Simicska shared with Orban an obsession with Hungarian past glory and a deep resentment of the Treaty of Trianon along with all that accompanied it. Both are Hungarian irredentists of only a slightly more mild type than the Jobbik. Orban seems to have identified intellectually with Putin’s and Aleksandr Dugin’s idea of restoration of mythical past glory. Simicska has no use for such grand theories, he is inherently a crude man that wants money. Simicska was an important part of the corrupt Mafia state consolidated by Orban that he was pushed out from. Simicska promoted that consolidation. His anti-Russian justifications for the break with Orban are just that. To be honest there are no “bombshells” from Simicska… Read more »
Observer
Guest

Istvan
Simicska built the mafia state, financed the Did activities, d they were a symbiotic couple with Orbán. Sim rightly thought himself the key figure there, something Orbán disliked and feared. Of course the rift had pecuniary reasons, but the operator Sim felt better without Big Russian Brother above him.
There are bombshells on Sim’s racks e.g. account details, this is why the war was limited, very unlike vengeful Orbán.

Member

It is not the 1st, and not the last

Member

I agree!
Nothing will happen, as usal.

Member

Vote on 2017-04-03 about making the “Ban the CEU” bill an emergency bill and limiting debate to 3 hours (more then half of the time goes to the government and the ruling party):

Ruling party (Fidesz-KDNP): Yes = 115, No = 0, Absent = 16;
Jobbik: Yes = 0, No = 19, Absent = 5;
MSzP: Yes = 0, No = 20, Absent = 8;
LMP: Yes = 0, No = 4, Absent = 1;
PM, Egyutt, LMP, independent: Yes = 0, No = 6, Absent = 1
DK: Absent = 4

parlament.hu

Member

2017-04-04, 1:25 PM

The ruling party pushed through the bill banning the CEU.

wrfree
Guest

I’d think the equivalent of throwing bricks through the academic/university windows. It’s an ‘omen’ the late Gregory Peck would understand. Home-schooling arguably could be the best under the circumstances down the road for those with limited educatiinal options.

Member

This time almost all of the Fidesz-KDNP members were present and voted for the bill (Lezsak did not vote).

Jobbik MPs were present, but did not vote yes or no (i.e. did NOT oppose banning the CEU)

MSzP, LMP, PM, Egyutt, Fodor vote NO

DK members were absent, as usual.

Result :
for= 123 (only Fidesz-KDNP)
against = 38 (MSzP, LMP, PM, Egyutt, Fodor) = 38
did not vote = 38 (Jobbik and absentees)

Member

Democracy scores of Eastern European countries by Freedom House, for years 2006-2016:

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The black, steeply declining line is Hungary

Member

The usual argument in this blog is that Orban was doing this ban to please Putin. But why would Putin be afraid of this university? There are a few dozen Russian students.

Another argument would be that he wanted to get Trump’s attention and get an audience from him. (Perhaps, somebody from Trump’s inner circle whispered in Orban’s ear – but I do not think Trump would care about Hungary one way or another)

But the most likely reason is that dictator Orban was miffed at his failure of oppressing the Budapest Olympics referendum. “Momentum” members were able to hold a rally at CEU, for instance – so Orban decided to exterminate the last potential center of resistance to his regime.

Orban has had 7 years to destroy every democratic institution in Hungary (press, mass media, constitutional court, constitution, election system, autonomy of the local governments, courts, universities), but Ms Angela “money bag” Merkel is still silent and finances this tyranny!!!

pappp
Guest
tappanch: as usual things have many causes. My take is the following. 1. I agree that Orban is working at Putin’s behest whenever he can. Putin owns Orban and Hungary is now effectively a theatre in this special info war the Russians are waging against the West. Russian agents operate freely in Hungary and Orban ceded the entire state and Fidesz media to Russian narratives. Hungary is also home of a number of extreme right wing operatives – many supported by Russians one supposes. Putin has been carrying out a long-standing war against NGOs and liberals and CEU’s banning is just a part of this script. An adaptation of the Russian original, a strategy supported by Russian specialists. 2. Orban also viscerally hates CEU and any and all liberals, so he was happy to liquidate CEU. It’s classic enjoyment, look at the faces of him and the people around him in Parliament yesterday. It’s pure pleasure for them. It’s like sick kids tormenting insects or setting cats afire for pleasure. 3. I also agree that Orban always, without fail responds (and feels he must respond) to defeats. He must always look like a “winner” in the eyes of his underlings,… Read more »
Member

The “ancien regime” banned potato out of unfounded fear, so when the price of bread skyrocketed, France had the revolution of 1789.

Potatotes from France in a Budapest Lidl were @180 Ft/kg in a 5-kilo bag yesterday,

Wholesale price @ 100-120 Ft/kg
https://www.agroinform.hu/nagybani_arak

So we cannot count on the housewives to start the revolution.

petofi
Guest

Orban–a maladjusted, angry, 12-year old…with the powers of an adult.

Istvan
Guest

Trump does appear on occasion meet with Sebastian Gorka so the possibility does exist Trump may have actually heard from both American conservative supporters of CEU (former Governor George Pataki ) and people like Sebastian Gorka who are not very sympathetic or outright hostile to CEU. I doubt this whole thing is of much concern to Trump, but it is possible the issue came up at some point since it is formally an American University registered in Trump’s home state of New York.

Member
webber
Guest

OT – Gyurcany’s party, DK, did not vote on the bill against CEU. Neither did Jobbik (not a surprise). All other opposition parties voted against it.

Those of you who like Gyurcsany, can you find any reason to defend this? This is not the first time his party has voted the “wrong” way. It has happened on at least three occasions now. They always say it was a mistake, but this is not an error. This was done on purpose.

Is there a single person now who still thinks Gyurcsany could be a serious opponent to Orban?

Naturally the law against CEU passed very handily, because all Fidesz MPs voted for it. If the President signs the bill and it becomes law, CEU will have to stop admitting new students to its programs in Budapest starting in January.

pappp
Guest

Totally agree. Gyurcsany is an idiot and he’s losing it too just like Orban is.

I think Gyurcsany figures that this is a “controversial issue” and it’s better to sunnyog (avoid it) than go with the expected liberal line and come out against the banning of a major employer and important educational institution – which is the only sane and moral stand.

Voters demand clear statements from politicians (even if they don’t agree with the part’s particular stand on a single issue) and they don’t forgive impotence, flip-flopping or avoidance of tough questions.

DK is apparently the party of the same hollowed out, grey, old-school (former) Socialist, morally bankrupt bunch of mutyi people (people prone to shady backroom deals with Fidesz in exchange for some minimal advantage) as MSZP is. Gyurcsany is a disgrace.

Member

Didn’t DK decide to boycott the parliament except for crucial votes where their vote could make a difference? (It’s similar to the decision of the entire liberal opposition to abstain from the revisions of the constitution when Orban’s 2/3 majority made their cooperation ineffectual and likely only to legitimize the Orban/Szajer nonstitution.)

Symbolic votes under these conditions are worthless.

This is clearly again just an excuse for Gyurcsany-bashing (itself a symptom of the insidious self-hate and auto-immune response successfully instilled in the opposition by Orban’s hate campaigns).

aida
Guest

I have never understood the concept of Parliamentary boycotts. The Chamber is there for debates. I accept that sometimes it is more effective to make points outside, but MPs are elected to attend there and to try to make a difference for the voters.

A small news item today from Nepszava which reported that the lady Ambassador Szemerkenyi in Washington is being replaced as ambassador by her boss the deputy foreign minister Szabo. When OV was asked about it in a Parliamentary corridor he replied “no ugyekkel nem foglalkozom” which means roughly ” don’t trouble me with female problems”. That seems to outtrump Trump. He clearly thought it was amusing.

webber
Guest

I agree. Gyurcsany’s parliamentary boycott is what Fidesz did to him – they left whenever he entered Parliament. That was disgusting on Fidesz’s part. I am not going to say it is acceptable from Gyurcsány. If Gyurcsany calls for a boycott of the elections, what will his defenders say, I wonder?

Ferenc
Guest

But are there any real debates in the Hungarian Parliament (or “T.Ház” as I have seen it recently called in Hungarian)?
I am not aware of such, so for me a boycott is OK.

The next thing to boycott is that “National Consultation”, not by throwing in the garbage, but by collecting the forms from people ALSO not agreing with the method, the text, the expected campaign and all other upcoming nonsense around it. Suggest people to cross-out all the questions/texts and ask them to write the by themselves considered main problem in the Hungarian society at the bottom. Then keep a continous official count of the number of forms collected.

Member

Gyurcsany & his party DK opposed the bill, but they boycott any votes except those requiring 2/3 majority to win by Fidesz. I think they should have made an exception and vote against the measure this time.

Jobbik on the other hand supported the content of the bill, but decided not to vote with Fidesz.

Lezsak of Fidesz also supported the bill, but he was the chairman of the session, so he could not vote. All other Fidesz MPs present voted yes – no one had the spine to stand up to Orban. Pecunia non olet.

az angol beteg
Guest

Well considering that Simicska was about to become the owner of TV2 before he fell out with OV, I guess he knows all about this kind of deal. In the end of course Vajna picked it up. Dirty business the media.

Member

Former Fidesz advisor Lánczi, who is the new president of the Corvinus (former Karl Marx) University of Economics, warned professors and students today of “ethical investigation” [and disciplinary action] if they speak their mind.

https://444.hu/2017/04/04/a-corvinus-rektora-megragadta-a-pillanatot-hogy-figyelmeztesse-az-egyetemi-polgarokat-a-velemenynyilvanitas-korlataira

Member

Tarsoly, who embezzled cca 1 billion euros of clients’ money from his financial institution was released from jail today.

https://444.hu/2017/04/04/kiengedtek-tarsoly-csabat

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