Opposition Calls for Hungary to Join European Prosecutor’s Office in Wake of Elios Case
Miklós Halász-Szabó 2018.11.07.
The opposition Jobbik and Socialist parties on Wednesday called for Hungary to join the European Prosecutor’s Office, saying that dropping the investigation against Elios Innovativ on suspicion of fraud showed that some people in Hungary enjoyed preferential treatment.
The police said on Tuesday that the procedure against Elios, on suspicion of fraud in public procurement procedures, was terminated on Tuesday as the authorities concluded that no crime had been committed.
The deputy group leader of the Socialist party, Tamás Harangozó, noted that Elios is a company formerly connected to István Tiborcz, the prime minister’s son-in-law.
The EU’s anti-fraud office (OLAF) raised suspicion that Elios operated fraudulently in public procurement processes for public lighting projects. OLAF reported about 35 cases of fraud and 17 cases of organised crime, he noted.
The irregularities may still result in the European Commission demanding the payback of 13 billion forints (EUR 40.4m) from Hungary, he said. The EC scrutiny is independent of the Hungarian procedure, he said. Harangozó insisted that the case “makes it clear why Orbán and his Fidesz party refuses to join the European Public Prosecutor’s Office”, and called on Hungarians to sign the opposition’s initiative to join the EPPO “to stop this outrageous injustice and the ransacking of the country”.
György Szilágyi, the spokesman of conservative party Jobbik, said that by keeping Hungary out of the EPPO, which is tasked with examining the use of EU funds,
Fidesz is trying to avoid scrutiny … rather than protecting the country’s independence”
He said OLAF’s report concerned a network engaged in fraudulent activities and not isolated case. “The case is very severe,” he said. “It should have been investigated.”