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Foreign Minister Caught Vacationing on Pro-Govt Businessman’s Yacht While Posting Office Photos

Hungary Today 2020.08.18.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó has been caught vacationing with his family on the Adriatic Sea on a luxury private yacht belonging to a pro-government businessman. The Foreign Ministry argues that Szijjártó works even when he is on holiday but, according to the state news agency’s report, did not reflect on the ties with the billionaire who owns the yacht.

Investigative site Átlátszó caught Szijjártó on camera from an inflatable rubber boat on Sunday. The yacht, called Lady MRD, belongs to pro-government billionaire businessman László Szíjj, Hungary’s fourth-richest person. One of his companies is Duna Aszfalt, a recipient of Hungarian state orders. (In fact, many thought that the yacht belonged to the even wealthier Lőrinc Mészáros, who has also been seen spending a lot of time on the boat, but it was revealed only recently that the yacht is in Szíjj’s possession).

The photos were taken on the 16th, but the Minister is suspected to have arrived there much earlier, as the yacht left its docking site near the Split airport on the 12th. Based on the flight data, Átlátszó supposes that the foreign minister flew out to Croatia with an Austrian private jet (called OE-LEM), that the Prime Minister also used recently.

The photos caused significant controversy, as on the same day they were taken, the Foreign Minister posted photos on his Facebook channel depicting him to be working, more specifically they showed him in talks with his Latvian, Estonian and Lithuanian counterparts regarding the situation in Minsk that morning. He emphasized that “it’s not an exaggeration to say that the phone lines are lit both at the prime ministerial and the foreign ministerial level in connection with the developments in Minsk.”

Minden túlzás nélkül égnek a vonalak miniszterelnöki és külügyminiszteri szinten is a minszki fejlemények kapcsán. Ma…

Közzétette: Szijjártó Péter – 2020. augusztus 17., hétfő

The fact that the luxury yacht belongs to a businessman who is a recipient of huge state orders further fanned the flames of outrage; and a government politician going on vacation to Croatia while advising the Hungarians to spend their holiday in Hungary clearly did not sit well with press outlets critical of the government.

Government: Foreign Minister works on holiday

Soon after the photos were made public, along with the corresponding headlines in the media, the Ministry’s State Secretary for Communication and the International Representation of Hungary defended Szijjártó by saying that “Yes, the Minister is on holiday and is working at the same time.”

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According to Tamás Menczer, Szijjártó has been in talks with his colleagues in several other countries, and has addressed issues around subsidies aimed at promoting foreign investments as well as rules relating to international sporting events. He also voiced indignation at the “opposition’s spying on and taking photos of a person and his family”.

featured image via Szijjártó- Facebook