Azeri and Russian companies in charge of the Aquatic World Championship’s information technology

I already wrote a post on the escalating cost of hosting the Aquatic World Championship. I collected a few figures, going back to 2014, on the estimated cost of the project when the organizers assured the country that only 23 billion forints would be needed for the whole project. A year later, in May 2015, Magyar Közlöny, the official government gazette, revealed that the government had put aside about 50 billion forints to cover the cost of the two-week event. So, within a year, the estimated outlay doubled. The swimming center that was supposed to be “the new miracle” and “the jewel” of Budapest and that was originally estimated to cost 8 billion forints turned out to be a 33-billion “depressing parking garage,” to quote László Szily of 444.hu. By mid-2016 expenses had reached 90 billion forints.

In May 2017 Miklós Seszták, minister for national development, who is in charge of the project, came out with a new figure. The cost of hosting the Aquatic World Championship will actually be 130.6 billion forints. Index described this announcement as a “bombshell” since no one had dared to contemplate a price higher than 100 billion before. Seszták insisted, however, that, despite that enormous amount of money, the actual staging of the event will cost Hungary only 43.36 billion. How did he come up with that figure? No one really knows, but he refused to include about 85 billion forints in the total cost because, according to him, several big projects, like the rebuilding of the lower wharf on the Pest side or the reconstruction of Margaret Island would have been done sometime in the future anyway.

That was the situation at the beginning of May, but as of yesterday the cost went up a tad more, like by another 35 billion forints, because the figures Seszták revealed at his press conference didn’t include two important items: the technology necessary to broadcast the world championship and the installation of powerful broadband interconnectivity. According to people in the know, these two projects are actually among the most expensive. In addition, the organizers will provide 1,400 cell phones and 600 laptops for use by the athletes, representatives of FINA, and volunteers.

Antenna Hungária, a state-owned telecommunication company, was the “contractor” for these jobs. It hired, without any competitive bids, four Hungarian and two foreign companies to provide the necessary software and hardware for the event. The 35 billion forints didn’t come from the sum put aside for the project but was given, somewhat surreptitiously, to Antenna Hungária outright. Yesterday I detailed the way in which the Orbán government helped ORÖ (Országos Roma Önkormányzat) cover its debts at the end of last year when it gave away 300 billion forints to its favorites. As far as Index knows, Antenna Hungária was also on the receiving end. It got a “gift” of 23 billion so it could hire domestic and foreign companies with a knowledge of internet technology to undertake these jobs.

The people of Budapest and Balatonfüred, one of the other venues, will be the beneficiaries of the free wi-fi which is being installed all along the Danube between Batthyány tér and Margaret Bridge. This will be a permanent installation with long-lasting benefits. But, as usual, there are some questions concerning this project.

Installing the system is WandaFi, an Azeri company with headquarters in Baku. Two Azeri businessmen, Rafik Abasov and Anar Aligioulov, established it in March 2016. WandaFi, according to the promotional material available on the internet, is “an automated engine designed exclusively for hotels, restaurants, and cafes.” A rather strange choice for this particular job because it is supposed to be “a unique marketing tool” that allows hotel and restaurant owners to “get to know” their customers. It collects data that in turn allows the owners to offer personalized services and promotions. In brief, the software is capable of collecting personal data on those who happen to be in the area being monitored. This particular capability worries the opposition parties and the socialist chairman of the parliamentary committee on national security.

Why the organizers could find only a very young Azeri company to do the job I can only guess. One possibility is that one of the satisfied customers of WandaFi is Buddha Bars, a chain of restaurants in Hungary. The Budapest Buddha Bar is owned by two Jordanian investors who are on excellent terms with Viktor Orbán. Or perhaps the ministry of foreign affairs and trade in its eagerness to develop good relations with Azerbaijan, a country Orbán has been courting for some time, looked specifically for an Azeri company capable of doing the job. Anar Aligioulov, the co-owner of WandaFi, was formerly co-chairman of the board of R.I.S.K. Co., which is described as “one of the leading IT companies in the Central Asian and Caucasus markets.” President Ilham Aliyev and Aligioulov know each other. So, it is possible that the Azeri government called the Hungarians’ attention to WandaFi.

The other foreign company is a Russian startup called Marsatpro, which produces software designed to organize sports events. It handles the registration, arrival, departure, and lodging of the participants. But, if Index is correct, this time Marsatpro is responsible for navigation software to be installed in the Audis that will be provided to representatives of FINA. At least Rashit Khairullin, the 31-year-old software designer and head of the company, does have some experience with large sporting events. Apparently, he was involved with the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan. This was indeed a large event: 10,400 university athletes from 162 countries participated in 13 mandatory and 14 optional sports.

Still, both are odd choices for the jobs they are ostensibly responsible for. Index tried to find out more about these two foreign companies as well as the four Hungarian ones, but no one is willing to talk.

July 11, 2017
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Member

Don’t forget about the opening ceremony, which will cost an eye-popping 3.4 billion forints (about $12 million US) for 2 hours. As Index points out, no one will care about it except for the participants, and Eurosport isn’t even broadcasting it.

ps. the main act is no longer Emeli Sandé but CeeLo Green.

http://index.hu/kultur/2017/07/06/vizes_vb_megnyito_120_perc_3_4_milliard_ft._sziget_fesztival_nagyszinpad_het_nap_1_85_milliard/

Little Lamb
Guest
Guest

I almost threw up reading about this – what’s next?

Is it ok if you use “ko drops” on someone?
No means no!

Observer
Guest

You mean perhaps half the money, is USD 6 million will be stolen? Like the F.Farkas millions, like all the other state/EU money?

But the country is proud … (if not so strong as Andora) although I can’t find anything to be proud if now.

dos929
Guest

There were not and there is no more corrupt regime in post-war Europe than that of the Orban led Hungarian Government… There are just not enough words to express the truth about this morally and financially corrupt government and its cronies…

Observer
Guest

Re anti Soros campaign:
This article shows that the current one is “just a skillfully warmed up Nazi campaign”, posters included :http://welemeny.transindex.ro/?cikk=26720
Couldn’t copy the poster directly here.

exTor
Guest

comment image

MAGYARKOZÓ

exTor
Guest

comment image

At the bottom of the ‘When Jews Laugh’ advertisement is ‘Read the most recent issue 11 of The Storm’, which was a virulently antisemitic paper [Der Stürmer] published by überNazi Julius Streicher, who was such an outré scumbag that even some Nazis [eg: Göring] loathed him. As early as 1933 Streicher called for the extermination of Jews. Shortly after the end of the war in Europe he was captured by Americans in Austria, then judged at Nuremberg and executed October 1946, his ashes disposed to the wind.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

And there is an internet site called “The Daily Stormer” which folllows this tradition …
But of course this is just one of many Nazi sites in English, I lost count and soon got disinterested, they’re all producing the same idiocies in a way.
The latest crazyness I found was that Angela Merkel is the illegitimate child of former chancellor Kohl (who just died – the hassle in the family wasn’t pretty) whose real name was Cohn …
But then someone else claimed that Mrs Merkel was the result of a genetic experiment with AH’s frozen sperm – can you believe that?

exTor
Guest

Sometimes I’ll click onto a YouTube site just to get some yucks listening to the stupidities tumbling from mouths seemingly brain-disconnected. Lots of 9/11-US-inside-job videos, subAntarctic-icecap-civilization videos, flat-earth videos for endless amusement. Truthers are intellectual oxymorons, attempting to foist dubious untruths on the vacuous.

I am aware of The Daily Stormer, a US neonazi website founded by a loozer by the name of Andrew Anglin, to me a suspicious name reminiscent of the South African nationalist founder of the neonazi AWB. He was [died 2010] called Eugène Terre’Blanche, a convenient appellation.

Hitler and sperm? Many have pondered the connection. Googling ‘hitler’s sexuality’ produces myriad interesting links. Wikipedia has an article on it. It is the leadoff result. Number-three result is http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/11165627/Adolf-Hitler-sex-life-Eva-Braun.html, which I’m going to read before heading out to the gym to pump iron.

MAGYARKOZÓ

petofi
Guest

The anti-Soros campaign is nothing more that Orban’s gypsy-electioneering style. He’s saying: “I hate the jew just as much as you do and am not afraid to say it.”

As per usual, Hungarian communication is subterranean…

vroni
Guest

Once can safely assume that this is a joint Russian, Azeri and Hungarian intelligence operation which is also partly privatized so that participants could earn some money on the side. If the intelligence leadership is more satisfied it is more likely they stay loyal. Remember that sports both in Russia and Hungary are a national security issue. Sports associations and foreign sport diplomacy are traditionally supervised and controlled by domestic intelligence-state security. Another option is that that the Russians and the Azeris helped Budapest to get the right to host the games so this is a way to launder some money back to those who helped Hungary (which at the end of the day is about burning the price of an entire metro line on a two-week party).

bimbi
Guest

THEFT AND INCOMPETENCE, INCOMPETENCE AND THEFT

The watchwords of the Orbán government are still well in evidence at the FinaBudapest 2017. Of course the project demanded repeated massive cash injections because that allows those in control repeatedly to skim off their ‘cut’ each time.

Despite my enthusiasm for swimming (actively) I shall not be in attendance. The idea of support for such a disgraceful rip-off from the
Hungarian people in order to enrich Orbán’s oligarchy is simply repulsive.

Jean P.
Guest

With its 3000 participants and an out of proportion opening ceremony FINABUDAPEST is a roaring mouse.

petofi
Guest

Not only do the Hungarian politicos steal from the public purse, but they use some moneys to bribe for future considerations. That’s planning, Hungarian style!

wrfree
Guest

Re: The Aquatic Championships

Perhaps after this….. ‘the deluge?’ Incredible how sports in its ostensible quest for so-called ‘physical fitness’ can engender a sort continual dismal dystrophy. None other than a wasting away of ethics, morals and principles as many swim in the fetid pool. Magyar ‘waters’ sure run dirty deep and dangerous.

Istvan
Guest

Russians, Russians, everywhere. Their SVR agents want to help Trump get elected and meet with Trump’s son to give him important info on Clinton. Orban wants to make sure the SVR can penatrate the internet adequately so he gives a contract to WandaFi who will without question forward useful information to Orban’s security operatives. All very delightful.

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘Russians Russians , everywhere’

Next up on the agenda Trump will propose building a naval base for Russia off Brooklyn. Called ‘Coney Island Beach Base’. Come on in the water’s fine! Why make’em travel so far to get Lavrov’s favorite… Nathan’s hot dogs. And it’s all in the ’emails’. Yes, ‘The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!’😎

petofi
Guest

Hasn’t anyone else wondered why, with all the leaks from the White House, there’s narry a peep about Trump’s tax returns?..?…?

wrfree
Guest

Nobody cares but the Dems. If we think about it it’s kind of ridiculous to have a POTUS who on a leaked return in 2005 says he made 150 million when avg hh income is under 60k around here. Mere bag’o’shells. As Ben Franklin said ‘time is money’. We can be sure Trump would like to have 8 years of filling HIS treasure chests. He and VO… two peas in the financial pod.

petofi
Guest

@wrfree

re: Trumps tax returns

The problem is that Trumps returns may well show that his last 12/13 years of financial gains have been Russian-connected.

Now, do you think that fact would matter?

wrfree
Guest

Re: petofi: ‘Trumps returns…. gains …Russian-connected’

Right you are. And people are wondering what ‘they’ might have on POTUS.

Bowen
Guest

If you’re feeling strong enough, check out the official English-language site of the FINA event. The English is absolutely appalling. Completely amateurish.

https://www.fina-budapest2017.com/en/home

exTor
Guest

Well Bowen, I probably write English as well as anyone participating in this forum. I checked out the website you reffed. Unfortunately you linked me to the website’s homepage. Nothing severely egregious from a language standpoint caught my eye, so I went looking. Perhaps obviously, I opened ‘Canadians to surprise the Chinese divers’. Other than leadoff quotation marks occupying line bottoms (rather than line tops) nothing semantically untoward caught my eye. Since I am averse to wild-goose chases, perhaps you can help shorten the search by being specific, rather than general.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Bowen
Guest

I’m thrilled that you think the website is OK.

exTor
Guest

Actually, I dont care one way or another about the website, Bowen. That’s your baby. I went there looking for “English [that] is absolutely appalling”. Finding none yet, I pointed out the per-English misuse of quotation marks, suggestive (perhaps) of a website that is a Magyar production. I asked you for an example of bad English, however you have not been able to find one.

MAGYARKOZÓ

petofi
Guest

Stopping flapping your feathers, exTor.
At best, your English reaches up to the heights of mediocrity…

exTor
Guest

You looze[r]. Lúzer Magyarországon. Sajnos.

MAGYARKOZÓ

bimbi
Guest

@ Bowen 9:40 a.m.

Out of curiosity I have just looked at the ticket prices for the swimming – from 1,000 – 9,000 HUF but I sure was completely unable to find a schedule of events. “Swimming Championships” are fine, but it would be nice to know the events programme beforehand. Lots of b-s about concerts etc, however. Too much fluff not enough information.

petofi
Guest

To my larger comment below, I might add that the anti-Soros poster thing is really a part of the election campaign. It is Orban declaring: “Look, I’m more like you (the electorate) than all the other candidates. I’m not afraid to show what you and I feel…”

Member

The fascists will be removing their anti-Semitic hate posters just in time for the start of the FINA Championship. Cynically evil to the core.

xavier
Guest

And once they’re gone a new version of those billboards will pop up. Remember that Orban and Kövér predicted a hot autumn. Tensions will only increase.

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘… the eyes of the world will be on us’

And the ‘big show’ starts. But no peepers will see the perps taking them down. It’ll be done in the dead of night…😎

wpDiscuz