Transparency International has savaged the Hungarian government’s residency bonds scheme “because it harmed George Soros’s business interests”, the government communications centre said.
Hungary had to repay an IMF loan between 2012-2016, which “Soros would have gladly financed”, the centre said in a statement. Instead, it opted to repay the loan “using retail forex and residency bonds”.
This is why “organisations financed by Soros keep slandering the residency bonds scheme,” the statement said.
A recent study commissioned by TI said the government had had “no reason to finance itself from residency bonds sold to rich foreigners”. It could have saved 21 billion forints (EUR 64.6m) had it issued bonds rather than the contested residency papers. In the meantime, “massive public funds went to brokerage firms of obscure backgrounds.”
The government responded that it had made big savings on interest payments. In May 2013, the interest paid on the IMF loan was over 4 percent, while the interest on the residency bonds stood at 2.53 percent, it said, adding that interest on residency bonds had stayed below that of Hungary’s Premium Euro state securities throughout the five years of the scheme.
Further, the Hungarian state did not pay a commission to brokers working on the residency bonds, it said, adding that they had received a 1 percent commission for selling state securities. As a result, the state saved nearly 3 billion forints (EUR 9.6m) on residency bonds rather than securities between 2013-2017, the statement said.