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Prime Minister Under Fire From Opposition Over Remarks On Quaestor Scandal

Tamás Székely 2015.03.26.

Hungarian opposition parties have called on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to resign and claim responsibility for troubles at the Quaestor brokerage firm. Orbán said that it was on his instruction that government ministries had withdrawn funds from Quaestor prior to its bankruptcy. He said he had ordered that the money should be taken out after learning about the scandal at the brokerage Buda-Cash at suggestions that it could start a domino effect at other independent Hungarian brokerages.

The Socialist opposition (MSZP) called on Orbán to resign for “leaving Hungarian people in the lurch,” referring to his remarks as an “admission” that the ministries had acted on his command. The green LMP said suspicions of insider dealing in this case were valid, as ministries could gain the kind of information in question through their connections. The left-wing opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) said Orbán should not evade responsibility and that he must be held to account, even against his personal assets. The radical nationalist Jobbik party said it would file a complaint for insider dealing and demanded a list of individuals and companies which had withdrawn money from Quaestor before it collapsed.

Yesterday PM Viktor Orbán visited Sopron, Western Hungary, where he has announced a nationwide development programme for Hungary’s provincial cities and towns. At the press conference the topic of the Quaestor case was also discussed. When asked whether he thought it strange that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade had taken its money out of the firm just before it went bankrupt, Orbán said that it was he who had ordered ministries to take their money out from brokerage firms after the Buda-Cash scandal, when the Government had been informed that a domino effect might occur. He also added that the money of many local governments and even that of one of the voluntary insurance funds for Ministry of Defence employees stayed at the company.

The government decree issued at the cabinet meeting ordered ministries to review their financial relations and to immediately take out all resources “parked” at brokerage firms, because in times like these “where there is a threat of a domino effect, not even a single forint must be kept” at brokerage firms, Orbán insisted. Reacting to the accusations circulating in the media and voiced by the opposition, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has published a number of statements in which it repeatedly states that neither the Ministry nor its background institutions have received any information illegally, and they have not concealed any information either.

via hungarymatters.hu and kormany.hu photo: Zoltán Máthé – MTI