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

Hungary Today 2021.07.30.

It is rather amusing when Fidesz speaks about OLAF investigations, says Momentum MEP, Katalin Cseh, after Fidesz said they were turning to the EU’s anti-fraud office, OLAF, over companies owned by the opposition politician’s family. While Fidesz maintains the company should pay back EU subsidies “obtained illegitimately,” Cseh rebuffs allegations and says Fidesz “propaganda” only pushes the case because they prevented them from unlimited plunder in the EU.

About two weeks ago, several pro-government portals published news claiming that the Momentum MEP could be the politician, who through their company and other associated companies, could have won several billion forints in EU funding and hundreds of millions of forints in public procurement, and accused Katalin Cseh of wrongdoing. While the case seems rather weak at this point, pro-government outlets are still thriving to keep it on the agenda.

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

Most recently, Fidesz MEP Tamás Deutsch said in a video statement that Cseh had been “attacking her homeland” and setting her sights on exposing “corruption, abuse, and extortion regarding anything that moves.”

Earlier, Fidesz communications director, István Hollik, accused the family’s company of using EU funding “to develop software they’d had for a long time; they simply pocketed EU money.”

Hollik accused Cseh’s family of “hypocrisy.” “While Cseh’s party was campaigning at full-tilt against [Budapest hosting] the Olympics, the companies in her family won Olympics-related tenders,” he said.

Deutsch insisted that companies connected to Cseh had systematically drawn down domestic development funds and EU subsidies on a large scale. He said the companies in question had even relocated in order to apply for EU funding. Between 2013 and 2018, Cseh ran a company that secured EU money based on the possibility that Hungary may be a contender to host the 2024 Olympics. Subsequently, her party Momentum was behind the referendum campaign that scotched the bid.

“It turns out that Cseh was only ever interested in money and power,” he said.

Cseh: Fidesz and OLAF are amusing when used in the same sentence 

In her reaction, Cseh said “there was something amusing when Fidesz talks about OLAF investigations, all the more so because it has been Fidesz that was doing everything in recent years to make EU control impossible.”

When commenting on Tamás Deutsch’s recent words and the OLAF investigation, Cseh, in reference to the Prime Minister’s son-in-law’s case, ironically noted that “Fidesz members can finally talk to OLAF about István Tiborcz, the Elios case, and other abuses close to the government.”

The Momentum MEP also said why in her view, “Fidesz and its propaganda media” are now “attacking” her: “It’s because we have achieved that from now on they cannot steal EU funds freely. “This does hurt them, and that’s why they’ve kicked off a baseless attempt to discredit me,” she argued.

“It is well known in this country who have become billionaires from the theft of EU funds – and it’s not me, but Lőrinc Mészáros and his mates,” Cseh insisted. “Of course I am ready for any investigation, because I know very well that the propaganda accusations lack any basis,” she said.

Independent MP Hadházy: Fidesz should have turned to OLAF in 200 other cases

Ákos Hadházy, a very active anti-corruption fighter in the opposition, has also spoken up after Deutsch addressed him. The former Fidesz and LMP member (now independent MP) revealed that he had contacted Cseh and her company about the matter, who were helpful, unlike for example, Chief Medical Officer Cecília Müller, during the pandemic.

“If they go to OLAF, they are doing so very rightfully; OLAF will investigate if there is a case. What they didn’t do well was that they didn’t go to OLAF in the 200 or so other cases I have shown them. It is very interesting that according to Mr. Deutsch and Fidesz, this is the only case in the last ten years that OLAF has had to investigate.”

Following Controversies, Govt Gives up on EU Money for Elios Projects
Following Controversies, Govt Gives up on EU Money for Elios Projects

In the midst of an election campaign in February of last year, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) announced it had uncovered “serious irregularities” and “conflicts of interest” related to an EU-funded street lamp project. The project’s contracts were won by a company partially owned by István Tiborcz, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s son-in-law. The story seemed […]Continue reading

“I very much hope, however, that if they suddenly find OLAF a competent organization, other reports, such as that of [Orbán son-in-law] István Tiborcz will be made public too,” the independent lawmaker noted in his reaction, adding that if there are indeed wrongdoings that have happened, it would raises concerns regarding the responsibility of both the Finance Minister and the IT Minister.

featured image: Katalin Cseh; via Tamás Kovács/MTI