The preparatory session of ruling Fidesz MP István Boldog’s court hearing will be held on June 30, at the Budapest Regional Court, Péter Novák, the defense attorney of one of the accused, told independent news site Telex. The lawmaker has been charged with corruption, and faces imprisonment for 6 years if he is found guilty.
Boldog and eight of his accomplices are suspected to have accepted bribes a number of times in exchange for influencing the outcome of tenders for European Union funds.
The Central Prosecutor’s Office of Investigations has asked the court to sentence István Boldog to six years in prison, to impose a fine of five million forints on him, and to confiscate 6.6 million forints worth of his assets. The prosecutor’s office also calls for Boldog to be restricted from participating in public affairs for 5 years.
FactIstván Boldog’s name first appeared in national news in 2011 after his car was filmed having a laser jammer against police speed cameras. After an Afghan refugee committed sexual assault in Budapest in 2018, he proposed the chemical castration of recidivist pedophiles and multiple sex offenders. In 2019, when Coca-Cola launched a controversial ad campaign promoting LGBTQ rights, Boldog immediately called for the boycott of the soft drink.
The corruption allegations against the politician surfaced at the end of 2019 after the former Fidesz mayor of Kengyel, Szilárd Nagy, made a plea deal with authorities, telling them how the EU tenders in Boldog’s constituency had been pre-determined.
Boldog and certain mayors of his constituency had made deals on exactly what each municipality could bid for, which companies should be contracted for public procurements, and how much should be paid back to whom.
Several people have been arrested, including Boldog’s right-hand, Fidesz municipal official Petra Fehér.
If Boldog were found guilty and convicted before the 2022 elections, the ruling parties would formally lose their two-thirds (qualified) majority in the National Assembly. In practice, this would probably not make much of a difference, as the government could still count on the German nationality advocate (also Fidesz party member) Imre Ritter, while occasional cooperation would be possible with several independent MPs, including former Jobbik and Mi Hazánk lawmaker János Volner, or Erik Fülöp and the representatives of far-right Mi Hazánk. However, since other Fidesz politicians are also affected by on-going proceedings for criminal activities, a series of unfavorable rulings could pose a threat to the governing parties.
In January, Boldog called the case a “political campaign” and denied all charges.
Featured photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI