“The struggling young couple”: István Tiborcz and Ráhel Orbán

I haven’t written anything about the financial affairs of the Orbán family lately, although news of the shady affairs of the father and brother of the prime minister crops up often enough. Today I’ll return to the financial affairs of Viktor Orbán’s son-in-law who, though barely 30 years old, has most likely already amassed a considerable fortune.

István Tiborcz’s first business venture ended rather abruptly when OLAF, the European Commission’s Anti-Fraud Office, announced that it was going to investigate his company, Elios, which had won tenders for the installment of LED lighting in scores of Hungarian cities. The lighting project was largely financed by the European Union. The Tiborcz-Orbán “family firm” realized that, in this instance, the brazen expropriation of EU funds would not be tolerated. So Tiborcz in a great hurry “sold” his firm to a businessman with very strong ties to Fidesz. Tiborcz then went into the real estate business. As he explained to Origo a few days ago, he, as a member of the prime minister’s family, is limited in the kinds of financial activities he can pursue. He claims that for the past two years he has been buying real estate only from private individuals, no state property.

All this sounds innocent enough, but if we take a closer look at Tiborcz’s business dealings it seems that the son-in-law may have received quite a bit of coaching from the master at hiding his wealth, the Hungarian prime minister himself. When Tiborcz established his first real estate firms, he hid behind two friends who were registered as the owners of TRA Real Estate Kft. and BDPST Zrt. By now these two companies own eight high-priced pieces of real estate, among them former aristocratic mansions and valuable commercial property in Budapest and elsewhere. Some of these properties were jointly owned by wealthy Turkish businessmen or sold to characters like Ghaith Pharaon, the now allegedly deceased Saudi businessman of dubious reputation. Tiborcz hid so well that, as far as the Hungarian media was concerned, his ownership of these companies couldn’t be ascertained. Until now.

To the surprise of those who have been trying to find out more about TRA and BDPST, István Tiborcz gave an interview to Origo, which is now owned by the son of György Matolcsy, Orbán’s right hand and president of the Hungarian National Bank. The title of the article is misleading when it claims that “We investigated: István Tiborcz is owner in the real-estate development company.” After reading the article, one can be absolutely certain that the journalists of Origo investigated nothing. For one reason or other, István Tiborcz went to the pro-government internet site to offer the information, which he had tried to hide at least since the summer of 2015.

People who have been following Tiborcz’s business ventures and his secretive behavior as far as his business affairs are concerned couldn’t figure out what got into him. Why did he feel compelled to open up suddenly? On October 30, the very same day the Tiborcz interview appeared, the internet edition of Heti Válasz  came out with an article from which one could learn that András Bódis of Válasz had been pursuing the case of BDPST’s ownership for some time, without much luck. The “CEO” of the company, a certain Judith Tóth, didn’t even bother to answer Bódis’s inquiries. In fact, Tiborcz was so reluctant to divulge his own involvement in the company that BDPST initially gave up the idea of a capital raise when the Registry Court (Cégbíróság) made it clear that it would not register the firm unless the ownership of the company was released. After some hesitation, Tiborcz decided that he needed the stamp of approval of the Registry Court and relented.

It is hard to fathom why Tiborcz felt compelled to give an interview. One reason may have been his fear that Válasz would come out with some juicy story about its efforts to discover more about Tiborcz and his firm. The other reason might have been that, simultaneously with the Válasz project, Átlátszó was digging into the young couple’s purchase of a luxurious eleven-room, three-story house with servant’s quarters and a swimming pool in the most expensive part of the Kútvölgy section of Buda. The listing price of the property was 360 million forints (about $1.35 million). Therefore, in addition to his admission that he is the majority owner (meghatározó tulajdonos) of BDPST, he casually mentioned that he bought a house as a business venture that is in such bad shape that it is practically falling apart. So, before he does anything with it, the house must be completely renovated.

The modest living room

I’m afraid that truthfulness is in short supply in the extended Orbán family. As Antónia Rádai of Átlátszó found out, the purchaser of the property was not BDPST but István Tiborcz. Therefore, it is unlikely that this luxury property was purchased for resale. As for the state of the house, which he described as “life threatening,” I have my doubts after taking a look at some pictures that appeared when the property was being advertised for sale. It is, however, apparently true that men are working furiously on the building, even through part of the recent long weekend. I suspect that it is still not up to the standards of the demanding young couple.

A bathroom in a house which is falling apart and needs immediate propping up

The interview was really touching. Tiborcz spoke about the struggling firm, which is still not quite profitable. Here and there they make money when they manage to sell a piece of property, but the road ahead them is long and the work is hard. This sob story naturally was spread far and wide by the government propaganda outlets. Of course, let’s not fool ourselves. The majority owner of a company that has yet to turn a profit doesn’t buy a house that costs over a million dollars. We don’t know the full story of Tiborcz’s investments, and I doubt that we ever will.

November 2, 2017
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
dos929
Guest

Just the tip of the iceberg… The fortunes the Orban family have amassed is astronomical measured not only by Hungarian, but by any western commercial standards. More to the point though that all this money was (and still is…) stolen from the Hungarian taxpayers and from the EU funds given to enhance Hungary’ infrastructure. Instead those monies of the tax paying Austrian, German and other EU citizens ending up in Orban and his cronies pockets. Al Capone was a quire-boy next to these gangsters…

Guest

I had to chuckle there: quire-boy 🙂
Actually The Quireboys is a British rock group – but you probably meant to write choir-boy …
Yes, the way the Fidesz honchos consider Hungary as a “self service money store” is extraordinary, even for a Balkan country, it reminds one of places like Azerbaijan etc.
But we’ve been told by Fidesz often that Hungarians long to be with their Asian Brothers, proudly showing off their Mongolian blue spots …
And should the responsibility of the EU come up again:
Remember how long it took to get rid of Berlusconi?
That’s one of the weaknesses of a democracy …
And all those cases of sexual assault that are only now being talked about after many years.

Observer
Guest

dos929
A better comparison is with Lucky Luciano who was more business orientated.
And to paraphrase the saying: what is a bank heist, compared to establishing a bank, but even this pales to winning an election in Hungary.

Michael Kaplan
Guest

Eva, thanks for this article. I loved your sense of humor e.g. the Orban “modest living room” and the “bathroom in a house which is falling apart…” Hell the bathroom alone may be larger than many flats. I wish those photos could be mailed to every voter in Hungary! This entire family of grifters and thieves should never have succeeded in government, let alone “business”. Stealing is their proper vocation.

Observer
Guest

Michael

I use to say to those talking about “gypsy criminality” that the best examples for cheating, thieving, robbing and bullying (the weaker) is Orban. And we are not talking stealing a used car or not even a truckload with contraband cigarettes, but stealing a bridges, buildings, companies and billions from the dupes that let him do it.

Observer
Guest

Eva,
We should always point out that it is not only capos like Orban, Garancsi, Tiborcz, but it’s an institutionalized system at every level and across the country, there is no gov or local gov project without kickback. The loot is unparalleled in the modern history of Hungary, Europe and probably in the OECD world.
We have to acknowledge – these are champions of thieving and the Hungarian dupes are the blindest of them all.

petofi
Guest

@ Observer

I am reminded of a story I heard many years ago from a trusted source: this person had retired from a major position in the US and, wanting to do something useful for Hungary, was about to collect 1,000 (still functioning) computers that he wanted to transport to Hungary and give to high schools. When he had approached the Hungarian government, the members listened patiently and when he finished, they asked just one question: “If we allow you to do this, what’s in it for us?”

Hungaricum.

Hajra Magyarok!

Member

Michael – I would suspect that you could send these photos to every voter in Hungary and Fidesz’s popularity would not change a whit. Orbanites know what their leader is up to. They just don’t care.

Observer
Guest

Alex

Forget about the 1.2-1.5 million faithful, they will follow even in cannibalism if so come. The issue is with the 4.5 million normal people who either don’t have any information about the true conditions or don”t understand or don’t have the impulse to vote.

Member

The information is out there. If my ex-girlfriend’s Orban-worshipping mother in eastern Hungary can log on to kuruc.info (which she referred to as “a hirek”) then anyone can read index.hu, hvg.hu or atlatszo.hu. They choose a news diet of propaganda, and it seems to suit them. Hajra.

Member

Plus, you know as well as I do what most people would say upon receiving photos of Pisti and Rasi’s swanky digs: “It would only be worse under Gyurcsany.”

wrfree
Guest

Re: that ‘diet of propaganda’

Don’t think it even started ‘recently’. It has to be going on since post ’56. Whether overt or subtle the passing on an undercurrent of ‘fear of freedom’ has to be a prevailing feature of propaganda getting hold and influencing generational populations. It’s almost as if the
Magyar ‘personality’ has fallen in on itself and curled up in a ball determined
to conform deliberately to those who seemingly ‘hold all the cards’.

Observer
Guest

Last week the top story on the Curruption News channel was the 4.8 billion to be misappropriated by Mészàros/Orbán from the Danube bridge project, where the chaper bid of a Slovak/Italian cinsortia was frivolously isqualufied http://index.hu/gazdasag/2017/10/28/duna_hid_meszaros_olasz_szlovak_konzorcium/

The wealth of Mészaros/Orbàn grew tremendously last 12 months – olmost x3 to reach an estimated 300% or 160 -200 billion Ft. The net worth would be much lower .

NWO
Guest

If nothing else, one can be assured (looking at the pictures) that this villa’s interior design is generally consistent with the poor taste and tackiness of most Buda villas redesigned over last 20 years. Istvan’s and Rahel’s friends will feel right at home when they come over.

Jean P
Guest

The baroque balustrade is priceless.

wrfree
Guest

After reading this outrageous piece I wish good old Max Weber was around. He certainly would have to modify his his analysis of that ‘Protestant ethic’ married to the ‘spirit of capitalism’.Eternal salvation can never come so easily to those who view the ‘ethic’ as ripping off, robbing and pillaging those Magyar ‘treasuries’ for their own sybaritic lifestyles.

Hard work? Thrift? To the VO gang it’s been left in Calvin’s coffin.

Guest

Not too much OT:

Mészaros is involved in Kall industries which is building a gigantic Isoglucose factory in Hungary.
Isoglucose is better known as HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) – the unhealthy alternative to sugar, used by Coca Cola and others in the USA and Hungary to sweeten drinks, ketchup, baked stuff, anything …
One of the unhealthiest things around – partially responsible for the obesity epidemic in the USA and Hungary which leads to diabetes etc and in the end an earlier death for many people.

I’ve written about this before:
One of the biggest problems of Hungarian society is that men smoke and drink pálinka to die early and if they don’t their wives feed them fatty and sugary stuff to an early death!
Several of our neighbours in retirement weigh more than 120 kilos …

Guest
petofi
Guest

@ wollfi7777

What makes you think that even in advanced societies, like that of Canada, that the government is really in favor of prolonging the life of retirees?
In fact, the subtle signs are–an I mean irksome difficulties for pensioners–point to a sneaky policy of demoralization. There is no attempt on the part of government–provincial or federal–to harness the experience and wisdom of older folk and transmit it to the younger generations. (I’m thinking of teenagers.)

What I have noticed, though, is that if one partner of a marriage dies, the other (especially if male) follows soon after….to the satisfaction of government, budgetary types.

So, one may reasonably project that the major, future, conflict will be a generational one–

Guest

Yes, petofi, the growing number of old people will be a problem in the future – that’s why the Japanese (and others) are working on household&care robots and Germany wants immigrants.

We have a bad joke about this problem aka the “pensioner deluge” in Germany:
Soon our government will make a law that allows pensioners to cross the street when the pedestrian traffic light is red and if that isn’t enough, the law will be changed so they have to cross the street when the light is red!

Rather OT but interesting re immigrants/refugees in Germany – a report on the careers of refugees (men and women) who arrived over the last six years from Africa and the near East (of course these are special examples):
http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/soziales/fluechtlinge-auf-dem-arbeitsmarkt-die-schaffen-das-a-1122717.html

petofi
Guest

The problem is quite severe…capitalism requires heavy, constant demand. With prosperity, most people will have acquired what they need for a few years. Can demand be maintained? Only with growing population, whether natural or immigrant. “Natural” doesn’t work well because it requires 25 years before people acquire disposable income.
Now immigrants…

Guest

Yes, petofi, we see this problem already in Germany – there’s too much money around and people don’t spend enough, at least that’s what some economists say.
And German industry is so successful in exports – while Germany doesn’t import enough …

Member

The plant has been built in Tiszapüspöki and is enormous. We drive by it all the time. I did not know that “PÉNZTÁROS” as he is referred to around here was involved but am not surprised.

bimbi
Guest

“…OLAF, the European Commission’s Anti-Fraud Office, announced that it was going to investigate his company, Elios…”

The Great Lighting Rip-Off was a couple of years ago. So what happened to the “OLAF investigation”?

Same old EU incompetence. Same old Orban/Fidesz/pillaging of Hungary.

wpDiscuz