Calls for Orbán’s resignation: In Quaestor scandal, all roads lead to Fidesz

The usually splintered Hungarian left-centre opposition is now rallying around the possibility of holding a vote of non-confidence in parliament, after it surfaced that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán ordered government ministries and departments to withdraw funds from the recently collapsed Quaestor brokerage firm, days before it went bankrupt. Mr. Orbán claimed that it was after the Buda Cash scandal that he decided to instruct ministries to pull their funds, fearing a “domino effect” at other similar brokerages in Hungary. (The Hungarian Spectrum published an excellent English-language overview of how Quaestor sold billions of forints worth of fictitious bonds.)

József Tóbiás, leader of the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), has initiated negotiations between the democratic opposition parties, where the Socialists, the Politics Can Be Different (LMP) green party, Együtt, Dialogue for Hungary (PM), the Democratic Coalition (DK) and the Liberals all agreed that “Viktor Orbán is unsuitable for the post of prime minister.” Mr. Tóbiás also called for the resignation of György Matolcsy, president of the Hungarian National Bank, as he failed to ensure that the central bank live up to his commitment of providing regulatory oversight of the financial sector, thus allowing for the issuance of fictitious bonds.

Moreover, the opposition called for the removal of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijjártó. It had come to light earlier this week that Quaestor’s director, Csaba Tarsoly, is a close personal friend of Mr. Szijjártó and had written a private letter to the foreign minister accepting responsibility for the “irregularities” at his firm, but imploring authorities to leave his family alone in their investigation. Mr. Tarsoly also gave Mr. Szijjártó a second letter, effectively addressed to Mr. Orbán, in which he suggested that Quaestor could have been saved from bankruptcy, had the prime minister shown any willingness to cooperate in this regard.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs ended up pulling its funds at Quaestor on March 9th, even though Hungary’s central bank only suspended Quaestor’s brokerage license on March 10th.

In light of the above, allegations of insider trading are obviously growing. “The Foreign Ministry and its institutions had no unlawful information whatsoever,” noted ministry officials, when asked about how and why the department pulled its 3.8 billion forints (US$14 million) from Quaestor just before the firm went bankrupt. It emerged that Mr. Orbán had been the one to urge the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to pull its funds. 

Mr. Orbán drives away... Photo: Facebook.

Mr. Orbán drives away… Photo: Facebook.

Mr. Tóbiás added that the opposition parties will hold a joint demonstration in Budapest on April 11th, in order to rally the “humiliated and betrayed population.” The Socialists are demanding a vote of confidence in parliament on Mr. Orbán.

Dialogue for Hungary’s representative in the opposition negotiations, Timea Szabó, added that if the governing Fidesz-KDNP failed to allow for a vote of confidence in the legislature, the opposition must call for the dissolution of parliament.

The liberal 444.hu online publication highlighted that Mr. Orbán’s admission vis-a-vis the Quaestor scandal even managed to bring LMP’s András Schiffer to sit down with the broader left-wing opposition, despite his long-standing reticence when it comes to cooperating with them.

As sordid revelations of likely government corruption and collusion continue to hit the press, LMP may be inclined to continue cooperating with the opposition’s democratic parties. The most recent of these revelations is the news that Mr. Tarsoly’s personal secretary has a girlfriend, who happens to be the daughter of Péter Polt, Hungary’s Chief Prosecutor. But it is not only through his girlfriend that Mr. Tarsoly’s right-hand man is connected to Fidesz-KDNP. According to reports, Zoltán Mikuska was formerly a department head in the Prime Minister’s Office, prior to being picked up by Quaestor.

When it comes to this growing brokerage scandal, all roads seem to lead to Mr. Orbán and Fidesz.

15 Comments

  1. The way to (and from) an electorate’s heart is through its stomach

    The internal and external frustration with Orban’s escalating outrages is understandable, but it would be wrong (and futile) to call for armed insurrection (i.e., civil war!) while a large enough majority still supports Orban, willingly, at the polls.

    With Orban’s media control, dirty tricks, plus (let’s admit it) the cluelessness and defensiveness of his patriotic public support, the only way to bring the electorate to its senses is if they really begin to feel the economic bite of their folly.

    If (applying Professor Scheppele’s insightful proposals) the EC formulated existing, punishable infractions as evidence of systemic abuses that will provide the legal grounds for effectively cutting off funds by deducting enormous penalties (of the order of the size of the entire current handout) at source; once that happened, no amount of demagoguery from Orban about “performing better” and “reducing utilities bills” and “national defence” would keep carrying weight with the increasingly penniless voters (even if the personal coffers of Orban and cronies keep growing by ripping off the little that’s left).

    What the opposition can and should do is focus their efforts on publicly exposing amd legally pursuing Fidesz malfeasance (there’s a growing and apparently limitless supply of it, transparent despite the whoppers Fidesz concoct — by now so boringly predictable you could programme a machine to generate them — to keep trying to explain it all away).

    This relentless exposé would be both for the eyes and minds of the part of the electorate that is already listening, and for the EU and international community, whose increasing shock and frustration at the growing evidence of the scale of the corruption will rouse them into action. The threat of a petty dictatorial demagogue continuing to get away with this sort of thing with impunity will strike home for all the democratic members of the EU: it’s far more of a risk to democracy than the likelihood of armed invasion by Putin.

  2. Avatar Pierre Divenyi says:

    My take on this is that, with the media firmly under Orban’s control, about 90% of the Hungarian population has no idea of what is really happening in their mafia-controlled country. I think that no change will happen in Hungary unless the opposition finds a way to circumvent the nearly total block on exposing the true state of affairs, the real structure of the government, and the lies of the official media.

  3. You all building a whole ideology to explain the white to be black, the black to be white. It is just your wishful thinking you voice here. 😛 – not much to do with the real world.

    • Get in touch with reality, then come back here Hedy, you obviously are in total touch with Fidesz controlled media. The reality is that Hungarians are suffering financially, Hungary is not doing better, and the savings on peoples utility bills is minimal, the larger corporations have a bigger savings, but it is hardly enough to excuse the wide scale corruption within NAV, the banking scandal and all of it leading back to the leaders of the country. If you want to live in this kind of Hungary, so be it, but do not expect everyone to take your opinion. Stand back then and watch everything unfold. Many want TRUE freedom and democracy, not this fake illiberal one Orban is dreaming of.

  4. Avatar Dr. Habil. Andras Fodor says:

    The problem is again, that the so-called lf oppocition is so weightess and morally unacceptable, as having neiher moral nor intellectual credit, that their action could not change the situation. Even if the Questor scandal undedenable and cannot be accepted any intelligent Hungarian, nobody will go in aliance those duisgusiting postcommunist corrupt bastards. I would be the happiest Hngarian, if the home-traitor putyinist minister of foreing trades and affairs would disappear from his positon, but I am unwiiling to do enything common with this stupid bold communist cader.

    No way.

    And I am sure that majority of our co-patriot fellow Hungarians feel similarly.

    If we had a RELIABLE and CREDITABLE opposition, (what we unambiguouly do not have. the situations would be totally different. In this case – despite the many good things he did for our nation, which and lending great giving popularity to our Prime Minister, this scandal might have been be leading with a short finish of his cycle.

    But if the Tóbiás and Gyurcsány Bajnai are the “only alternatives-, then no way for speaking or doing anything against the present government. At least I will not.

    The West, – and the Editorship of Free Hungarian Press – sould have been supporting the conservative middle-class based Antall-line intellectuals, instead of the bloody post-communists. In this we would have had a reliable democratic opposition.

    But no we do not have any.

    Thank for your Hungarofobic voice and “free” media, our only choice is choose between the hard (Jobbik) and soft (Gyurcsanyo-Tobiasoid salon-bolshevics Ballik), that is- human fecalia (sorry for his allegory), as “political alternatives”.

    “Thanks”, Mr Lázár and co.
    Shame on you.

    • Avatar Dr. Habil. Andras Fodor says:

      CORRECTED MESSAGE: Sorry, it is always a serious mistake to react viscerally. Let me make some correction related by previous message.

      I repeat, that the problem is again, that the so-called lf opposition is not only weightless, not only speaks and acts at extremely low intellectual level, but it is unacceptable from both moral and political aspect. They had already lost the complete moral basis to criticize another government after leading the country to a total bankrupcy.

      No question that the Questor scandal and its liesons to some government officials and protege of Mr. Orbán can be accepted or tolerable, and it is natural that the personal responsibility cannot be left out of consideration.

      But no intelligent and honest Hungarian will go togeteher with Comerade Tóbiás and similar compromised communists. We are not going sell anything from the same carpet from which he try to sell something, as the Hungarian proverb says.

      Let us try to distinguish.

      I would be the happiest Hungarian, if the homeland-traitor putyinist Minister of Foreign Trade and Affairs would disappear from his position immediately. I consider him as Szálasi II of the future unless something happening.

      But I am unwilling to do anything common with this stupid bold communist kader and hisfollwers.

      No way.

      And I am sure that majority of our co-patriot fellow Hungarians feel similarly.

      If we had a RELIABLE and CREDITABLE opposition, (what we unambiguously do not have), the situations would be totally different. In that case – despite the non-questionable popularity to our Prime Minister, – this scandal might have been terminating his governing cycle.

      But if Tóbiás, Gyurcsány Bajnai were the “only alternatives”-, then there is no way for speaking or doing anything against the present government.

      At least I will no do anything like that.

      The West, – including the Editorship of Free Hungarian Press – should have been supporting the conservative middle-class intellectual based politicians linked to the Antall-line, – have been continuously giving moral and political support to the corrupt and bloody post-communists.

      This is the reason why we still not having reliable and acceptable democratic opposition.

      What your journal name “Democratic Opposition” his is a bad-smell collection of unwanted, pro-Soviet fallen polititicians of no moral value.

      “Thank” for your and “Free Hungarian Press” of racist Hungarofobic voice , the only choice we have is o choose between the hard (Jobbik) and soft (Gyurcsanyo-Tobiasoid salon-bolshevic ), that is- human fecalia (sorry for his allegory), as “political alternatives”.

      “Thanks”, Mr Lázár and co.
      Shame on you..

  5. Orban has looted from the pension found through the education to the healthcare everything and still running amok unstoppably. He is not so well informed, he doesn’t even need it as he himself controls, establishes and takes these institutes bankrupt as soon as their financial assets reaches the desirable level, ripe enough to put his dirty hands on it.

    But how can he do that, solely with his tyrannic power, all alone a lonely dictator? Is that enough for this? Or with his exceptional intellectual and creative power, with his genius?
    He doesn’t posses any virtues of that kind. He is not a genius, he can’t do that. He has no knowledge of economics at all and can even be happy if he can perform the four basic mathematical operations, read and write, or can turn on his PC on at all.

    Little wonder the EU does not do anything against him. No independent mafia can perform a robbery of this extent or can exist independently without being a part of a greater one i.e. the KM. Or just another powerful one.

    A great liberty fighter — what a smokescreen! Who is he working for? Who is his handler? Where does the money go? Who is this man?

  6. Amending: or can turn his PC on at all.

  7. Avatar Christopher Szabo says:

    It’s disappointing to read this from a so-called “free” press. The key problem in Hungary is not Viktor Orbán, but the fact that the country has never faced the crimes of the Communists, and those on the so-called “Left” (with few exceptions) all live in houses taken from murdered people, all went to college while informing on their friends and have backgrounds that are incompatible with a democratic state.
    So the opposition has no moral standing with us, who were observed by their secret police.
    I’m disappointed that your “free” press takes the side of the kids of murderers. Shame on you!

    • Avatar Christopher Adam says:

      Mr. Szabó,

      “The kids of murderers?” You are not serious, I hope. Because if you are, and if you believe in this type of collective guilt passed down by parents from one generation to another, then it puts all of Hungarian society in a really precarious position…including the children of those who committed war crimes during World War II, the children of those who assisted in the deportation and murder of 600,000 Hungarians during World War II.

      This story has nothing to do with the crimes of communism. That is a separate issue. This is a case of insider trading, involving the current government of Hungary, period.

      • Avatar Pierre Divenyi says:

        Bravo Mr. Adam!
        I wonder where Mr. Szabo gets his information.

        • Avatar Dr. Habil. Andras Fodor says:

          Mr. Divenyi,

          I am sure that Szabó Kristóf is “serious”. So am I.

          Your moral insanity idol Ferenc Gyurcsány has been living in a house in the Rose Hill the previous owner of which was a JUDEAN RELIGION COüPATRIOT OF OURS, who was taken away and KILLED BY THE COMMUNISTS, giving his house to Antal Apró, the mass-murderer pro-Moscow communist, who has been ordered fire on the Kossuth Square on 25th October 1956, murdering more than a thousand of innocent, unarmed Hungarians who was welcoming the new government of Imre Nagy.

          Gyurcsány third present wife is the granddaughter of this terrible mass-murderer, her mother is Piroska Apró, and her father is that KGB guy Peter Dobrev, of Bulgarian born, who was the organizer of the assatination (killing) attempt against the pope, John Paul the second.

          They habitate the Apró villa which had been confiscated from the Judean co-patriot of ours.

          • Avatar Pierre Divenyi says:

            I think that Dr. Fodor’s comments do not deserve a rebuttal. He has been known by the Hungarian Free Press for quite some time as an unapologetic defender of Orban and his antidemocratic policies. His arguments do not measure up to facts and for him everybody critical of Fidesz is a communist or at least a communist-lover.

            Hungary’s problem is that the country’s history does not include periods of democracy, not even the 20 years Czechoslovakia experienced between 1919 and 1938. In 1989 democracy suddenly fell on the country, but neither the governmental structures (including local ones) nor the heads of the newly freed Hungarians could deal with it. The ever-increasing number of parties and the vicious-by-the-rule fights between them fractured and fragmented the population and made the advance of the country toward a European-style republic, (at the start directed and engineered by a group that included many educated, well-meaning, and honest persons) slow and often zigzagging. It is true that early privatization of state properties and institutions (under communism nearly everything belonged to the state) often ended in the pockets of those on government, and it is also true that first governments were (center-) left. Yes, Hungary discovered that corruption was a way of acquiring fortunes but, even looking from Eiffel Tower heights, compared to Orban’s and those of his bunch thefts by the leftists were a work of amateurs. What Orban has accomplished with his carefully engineered 2/3 majority in Parliament is unprecedented in Western Europe and can only be compared to the institutionalized corruption seen in third-world countries of Asia, Africa, or Latin America.

            Unfortunately, any change in the Hungarian governmental system is very unlikely to come soon. Everything is holding back the people, mainly their constant preoccupation with their day-to-day survival in a country where employment is not guaranteed and where it is considered a sign of loyalty to the system, both directly and indirectly. And in a country where open dissent is becoming a sign of disloyalty that is increasingly penalized — again, directly and indirectly. One just hopes that Orban will step on a too-slippery of a banana peel, like another Questor case, and that finally he will get up with his nose broken.

    • Avatar Dr. Habil. Andras Fodor says:

      Dear Szabó Kristóf, Christopher Szabó,

      Many thanks to declare the truth in such an intelligent way. People close to the dead party SZDSZ, who give the basic tone of the Free Hungarian Press simply does not understand the history of Hungary. They have never understood. They do not understand, that the history of Hungary has not been restricted to the terrible Nyilas time betwen 1944-45, neither to the Horthy era from 1919 -1944, consequently they do not understand the way as the majority of HONEST Hungarian people are thinking.

      They do not understand the real milestones of the Hungaian History labelled by names of Zrinyi, Bocskai, Gábor Bethlen, Ferenc Rákóczi, Széchenyi, Kossuth, Deák, Eötvös, István Bethlen, Pál Eszterházy, István Bíbó, Ferenc Nagy, Imre Nagy, Anna Kéthli, Béla Kovács (not the half-Russian spay béla kovács, who shamefully represents Jobbik and Putyin in Brussels), József Antall, Géza Jeszenszky and – the (young) Victor Orbán.

      These guys, (the best example is Mr. György Lázár, who used to be a top “káder” of the old communist regime and now running the Free Hungarian Press) think about their own Hungarian nation in a rather racist manner and consider the whole Hungarian population as a soil-born fascist mob. This is the reason why the party of Free Democrats could not survive in Hungary.

      A party which is viscerally hates its own country and nation (as they had done), could not exist as a political organization in that country for a long time.

      I am sure that Mr. Lázár is probably not bad guy but simply have been thinking in a wrong way, following the distorted logic of 2X2 = 5.

      This is the reason why they are completely unable to distinguish between the good and bad things related to the Orbán Government.

      For instance, if Mr. Lázár and his friends could do that, they would be able to admit that the Orbán government consequently try to decrease the tension between our Judean co-patriots and the others, even if they make lost of mistakes during that.

      If they understood what they are unable to understand in relation to the Hungarian patriotism, they could not dare to release such a disgusting and frustrating cynic article what Mr. Lázár did, honoring Mr. Klaus, the new Romanian president, and using the occasion of denouncing the Hungarian wishes for autonomy in Transylvania.

      Mr. Lázár might ask himself what language his is using in his dreams. He would realize that he himself is also a Hungarian, independently of his political views and religious commitment.

      If he did that, he would not hate the Hungarian people so viscerally but would show more empathy and understanding.

      Naturallly he is not supposed to become an admirer of the Orbán govenment, he is not supposed to “understand” the present sacndal, which is real crime. Mr. Lázár is definitely not supposed to support the self-annihilating foreign politics of Hungary called “opening to the East”, and labelled by the name of the suspicious and repellent figure Péter Szijjártó. These are really very bad things and they are happening nowadays.

      But instead of using these sad events against Hungary, instead of opening a free flow of his visceral and racial anti-Hungarian feelings, -he might help us, – his-fellow-Hungarian COPATRIOTS – to find the right way again in our politics, what we have definitely lost, and which should be directed toward North and West rather than East and South, and for which we do no not need the fallen”stars” of the previous communist and post-communist regimes, like the bold Tóbiás of bold cortex.

      If Mr. Lázár and his Free-Democrat Comrades would be able to make this change in their mind, they would be able to get back the confidence of the Hungarian nation, what they definitely lost.

      Mr. Lázár also should ask from himself, what he really want to Hungary.

      Does he want to take a revange by kill all of us in a concentration camp or by an atomic bomb, or intend to resume the right politics in Hungary which was introduced by late and blessed József Antall after the liberation of the Russians in 1989.

      It’s disappointing to read this from a so-called “free” press. The key problem in Hungary is not Viktor Orbán, but the fact that the country has never faced the crimes of the Communists, and those on the so-called “Left” (with few exceptions) all live in houses taken from murdered people, all went to college while informing on their friends and have backgrounds that are incompatible with a democratic state.
      So the opposition has no moral standing with us, who were observed by their secret police.
      I’m disappointed that your “free” press takes the side of the kids of murderers. Shame on you!

  8. Avatar Charlie London says:

    Bling-Orban (castle bling), Bling-Szijjarto (hideous-house bling), and Bling-Lazer (Rolex bling) have all been caught with their hands in the till. The Quaestor till.

    They are all lying and can’t get the story right to cover their obvious insider trading.

    No compensation scheme in other countries covers bonds and Ponzi schemes. Potential investors must do their own due diligence and the financial sector requires effective oversight.

    Chief Financial Fairy Matolcsy dissolved the PSZAF and was asleep on his watch, or off making fairy magic with violins, real estate and castles with his wand. (Spending the ‘profits’of the MNB.)

    Legally in England, for example, all monies and assets have to be shared equally, which includes funds seized by Szijjarto and others having to be returned. In addition all ‘coupon’ has to be returned to the compensation pool – including so-called rollover funds and interest which are often a feature of a Ponzi.

    In the Madoff ponzi most monies were returned after all his – and the rest of his family’s – assets had been seized.

    But of course we know that Orban will pass retrospective laws to rewrite the compensation scheme so that the Banks and Hungarians will source the compensation so they can keep their ill-gotten gains.

    The ETO park stadium in Gyor is a loss-making white elephant – even the Sunday outdoor market in the car park is disaster. The shopping mall is a ghost town and the hotel isolated and empty. Even the Arkad mall nearer the centre – not owned by Quaestor – struggles to survive. They have never been able to use the ticket machines in the car-park because they need every customer they can get – parking is free.

    Szijjarto thinks he knows about football – and judges everyone and everything from a football perspective.

    Investment and foreign diplomacy require a more subtle approach.

    And Lazar’s investment strategy as mayor of Hódmezővásárhely was a spectacular disaster almost on the Quaestor scale too. Leaving behind massive debt, bailed out by central government.

    Yea……. Hungary’s economy is safe in their hands of these bandits.

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