László Bige, one of Hungary’s wealthiest businessmen, has again been arrested. According to Telex, Bige, who gained wealth in fertilizer production, has been detained on suspicion of financial crimes and the case might be different from the one in which the prosecutor’s office has asked for his imprisonment.
According to the news portal’s information, police raided and searched Bige’s house on Tuesday morning, and evidence was seized.
at the moment the 10th wealthiest Hungarian with an estimated wealth of HUF 112 billion (Eur 315.5 million). He slid back from last year’s 5th place, when his assets were valued at around HUF 170 billion.
This is not the first time that Bige has been in trouble with the authorities. Back in 2018, the businessman’s sulfuric acid plant in Szolnok was raided. Police at the time said they were investigating violations of the waste management law. Although the authorities closed the plant and started an investigation against the businessman, later the court ruled that the plant shutdown was unlawful.
Then this May, the prosecutor’s office requested Bige to be imprisoned, and the confiscation of HUF 135 million forints (EUR 379,000) after he was suspected of bribery back in 2010. Bige consistently denies the bribery charges and suggests political motivation is behind the case.
He regularly voices his opinion that the authorities’ dislike towards him is caused by him not being part of Viktor Orbán’s System of National Cooperation (known as NER for its Hungarian acronyms). He also points to his long-running dispute with Hungary’s arguably most influential businessman, OTP Bank chairman and CEO Sándor Csányi. In his view, Hungary fails to work according to the rule of law principles, so he couldn’t expect any help against the “attacks,” because all power is in the hands of the prime minister (who has a close relationship with Csányi, who denies his involvement). Bige also argues that contrary to the huge amounts he invests in Hungary, he has never gotten any support from the state.
featured image via Attila Balázs/MTI