About 500 protesters gathered in downtown Budapest on Saturday for a demonstration held in support of victims of the bankruptcy of the Quaestor brokerage firm. The protest was organised and addressed by politicians of the opposition Socialist Party (MSZP), the Democratic Coalition (DK), the Dialogue for Hungary (PM) party and the Hungarian Liberal Party (MLP) as well as some victims of Quaestor’s bankruptcy.
Quaestor, supervised since last month by the National Bank of Hungary after it was suspected of issuing some 150 billion forints (505 million euros, $535 million) in unauthorized bonds. The governing Fidesz party has proposed raising the maximum compensation amount from 20,000 euros to 100,000 euros per investor. If approved, the Fidesz proposal would return principal investments to most of the approximately 32,000 people who invested with Quaestor. However, the investors say the government failed to protect their money because of lax financial oversight and demanded that the government compensate fully for their losses. “We are people who have suffered damages and are close to a nervous breakdown,” said Istvan Kálmán-Pikó, one of the protesting investors urging PM Viktor Orbán to speed up the compensation process.
Speakers of opposition left-wing and liberal parties demanded that an early election should be called, the government should resign and those involved in the scandal should be brought to court. Socialist deputy leader Zoltán Lukács said that “hundreds of thousands of people on disability or service pension, pensioners who benefited from early retirement, broken tobacconists, entrepreneurs, people deprived of their private pension savings and tens of thousands of stranded Quaestor investors” are all victims of Viktor Orbán’s regime. DK Board member Szabolcs KerékBárczy urged early elections and said that Quaestor owner Csaba Tarsoly was only a “small-town front man as compared to the true gangsters sitting in the government and the gang leader who had only informed his cronies about the bankruptcy in advance.”
via hungarymatters.hu, AP and reuters.com photo: Zsolt Szigetváry – MTI