Riding the waves of the international offshore scandal dubbed “Panama Papers”, Hungarian opposition parties have urged the conservative Fidesz-KDNP government to take immediate measures against offshore activities, while the ruling party insists Hungarian left-wing “pumped out billions from the country through offshore companies” when it was in power before 2010.
The radical nationalist Jobbik party insisted that lawmakers with ties to offshore companies should be stripped of their mandates. MPs should sign affidavits that they have no ties with offshore companies, Jobbik lawmaker György Szilágyi said. He accused former ruling Fidesz party lawmaker Zsolt Horváth of having “syphoned off development funding”. Jobbik has filed complaints over companies identified as suspects but has received no response, he said.
The opposition Liberal Party’s leader Gábor Fodor said that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in 2010 announced a “war against offshore knights”, yet it seems that “this war has been lost”. Andrew Vajna, “the emperor of casinos”, built his wealth on a network of offshore companies supported by loans from stateowned Eximbank while cabinet chief Antal Rogán and Árpád Habony, Orbán’s informal advisor, were close to companies that profited from Hungary’s residency bonds offered to foreigners at a discount, Fodor insisted. He added that central bank governor György Matolcsy bought the central Budapest office complex Eiffel Palace using an offshore firm. “Offshore companies are in the background in all these cases,” Fodor insisted.
Green opposition LMP said that Hungary’s political elite had robbed the country over the past 25 years through offshore companies. LMP co-leader András Schiffer insisted that the equivalent of two-and-a-half times Hungary’s public debt had been “pocketed” in this way. Citing press reports concerning the so-called Panama Papers, Schiffer told journalists that a former ruling Fidesz party lawmaker had had connections with offshore vehicles.
Fidesz dismissed the accusations, saying that the opposition now hurling charges against the government “pumped out billions from the country through offshore companies” when in power. Under the Gyurcsány-Bajnai governments 1 trillion forints landed untaxed in bank accounts in Cyprus and Switzerland with the knowledge of the country’s leaders, Fidesz said. The ruling party referred to former central bank governor at the time as an “offshore knight” and said that a senior official of the Socialist party, Gábor Simon, had held hundreds of millions of forints in foreign bank accounts. Jobbik is also implicated in “one of the biggest corruption scandals in Europe” through MEP Béla Kovács, it added.
via hungarymatters.hu and MTI