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Fidesz MEP Turns to OLAF, Accusing Opposition Politician of EU Fraud

Hungary Today 2021.08.10.

Tamás Deutsch, MEP of governing Fidesz, has filed a complaint with the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) in the case of the opposition Momentum MEP Katalin Cseh, on suspicion of fraud involving EU public funds.

Deutsch is referring to the allegation that surfaced a few weeks ago in several pro-government portals claiming that Momentum MEP Katalin Cseh might be the politician who through her company and other associated companies, could have won several billion forints in EU funding and hundreds of millions of forints in public procurement. Later, Fidesz communications director, István Hollik, accused the family’s company of using EU funding “to develop software they’d had for a long time, and simply pocketed EU money.”

Opposition Politician Accused of Winning EU Tenders Before Political Career
Opposition Politician Accused of Winning EU Tenders Before Political Career

"Those in the Fidesz propaganda factory have put their heads together and produced a piece of writing that can hardly be called defamatory," Katalin Cseh said in reaction to the accusations.Continue reading

In a complaint shared on Facebook on Tuesday, Tamás Deutsch wrote that OLAF’s involvement in the case is justified, as a member of an EU institution (in this case a Member of the European Parliament), committed a serious breach of ethics.

OLAF is competent to investigate the case, as Pannónia Nyomda Kft., of which Katalin Cseh was managing director between 2013 and 2018, applied for EU funds in 2016.

Deutsch recalled that in December 2016, Pannónia Nyomda Kft. received a grant of HUF 68,126,864 in an EU tender, and later, the same company won a grant of HUF 217,579,410 in another EU tender for the development of a so-called holographic spatial description language and a digital holographic printer.

The politician wrote that there is strong suspicion of fraud – deliberately deceiving others for personal gain or to the detriment of another party – in the case of the above tender, as the company led by Katalin Cseh applied for EU funding to develop holographic technology that was already available at the time to a partner company with a business connection to Pannónia Nyomda Kft. “There is therefore, a strong suspicion that no real product development took place,” said Tamás Deutsch.

Momentum's Cseh on Corruption Allegations: Amusing when Fidesz Speaks about OLAF
Momentum's Cseh on Corruption Allegations: Amusing when Fidesz Speaks about OLAF

Fidesz said they are turning to the EU's anti-fraud office over companies owned by the family of Momentum MEP Katalin Cseh, which the party maintains should pay back EU subsidies "obtained illegitimately."Continue reading

There is also suspicion of deliberate deception because the companies mentioned moved their premises from the Central Hungary region to another region in Hungary in order to get access to more EU funds, the Fidesz politician wrote.

Cseh responded to the accusations in a statement, saying: “…there is something funny about [governing] Fidesz talking about OLAF investigations, especially because in recent years it was Fidesz that did everything to make EU investigations impossible. But at least now Fidesz politicians can talk to OLAF officials about István Tiborcz, the Elios affair, and other misconducts related to the government.”

The Momentum MEP is surely referring to a former two-year investigation by OLAF which had found “serious irregularities,” and a “conflict of interest” related to an EU-funded street lamp project whose contract was won by a company partially owned by István Tiborcz, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s billionaire son-in-law.

Featured photo by Balázs Mohai/MTI