Fidesz politician buys 49% share in MKB Bank

Fidesz politician Lőrinc Mészáros, a plumber by trade and the mayor of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s tiny home town of Felcsút, has acquired a 49% share in Hungary’s MKB Bank–the fourth largest commercial financial institution in the country. Mr. Mészáros’ company, the Konzum Befektetési Alapkezelő, bought 45% of the bank’s shares and approval is imminent to acquire an additional 4%.  As our readers will recall, last week Mr. Mészáros’ company won a 28 billion forint bid to build a new bridge over the Danube. One month earlier, in April 2017, Mr. Mészáros’ other company, Mészáros Konzum Zrt, bought one of Hungary’s largest travel agencies, called Balatontourist, which had revenues in excess of 1.7 billion forints in 2016. As well, in October 2016, a firm tied to the Fidesz mayor purchased the media portfolio of Mediaworks, the Austrian publisher that controversially shut down Hungary’s largest circulation left-centre national daily, Népszabadság, just two weeks before selling all of its remaining assets in Hungary to Mr. Mészáros’ company, Opimus Press Zrt.  Mr. Mészáros’s net worth is estimated to have increased by 100 billion forints in a single year.

Lőrinc Mészáros (left) with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Photo: HVG

Mr. Mészáros joins other Fidesz party interests who have scooped up MKB Bank’s shares in the past few months. For instance, the cousin of the Orbán government’s former Minister of the National Economy and the current governor of the Hungarian National Bank, György Matolcsy, purchased a 20.19% share in MKB Bank this past April. At around the same time, a company affiliated with Ádám Balog, Mr. Matolcsy’s personal confidant and former deputy governor of the Hungarian National Bank, acquired a 9.81% share in the commercial bank.

How exactly have Fidesz politicians and party interests taken over the nation’s fourth largest commercial bank? While our readers can undoubtedly draw their own conclusions when the mayor of a village or a former government minister’s relatives somehow acquire such wealth that they are able to gain control over major banks, it is important to remind readers that it was the Orbán government which nationalized MKB Bank in 2014, buying it back from Germany’s BayernLB. As soon as the Hungarian state purchased a controlling stake in the bank, the financial institution was placed under the control of the Prime Minister’s Office. It is highly unusual for a commercial bank, nationalized by the state, to be brought under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Office.

Less than three years later, Fidesz party politicians and party interests have gained a controlling stake in the bank.

9 Comments

  1. The best way to rob a bank is to own one. Orbán’s Prime Minister’s Office took the German owned Hungarian Foreign Trade Bank (MKB) under its wings a couple of years ago in order to “restructure” it as a fully Hungarian owned entity. (For the novices: This would be like the White House using taxpayers’ money to buy City Bank, or the Canadian PMO taking over Toronto Dominion Bank) After the “restructuring, that ate up huge amounts of public funds, the bank is now sold at a fire sale price to Lőrinc Mészáros, Viktor Orbán’s proxy, the man, who has come out of nowhere in 2010, to become one of the most powerful, and richest oligarchs of Hungary thanks to his mentor. The MKB transfer of ownership is a classic case of bank robbery – or more precisely, a robbery of taxpayers’ money. Remember: According to Trump’s top campaign operatives, Hungary is “the model” for the Trump administration. God save America ? Covfefe means “go figure”.

    It’s now Belzebub’s turn to dismiss all of the above as fabrication, followed by half a dozen other trolls who come here with some regularity, to whitewash Viktor Orbán’s dirty linen. Let the show begin 🙂

  2. This is how dictators create oligarchs to funnel their personal riches. (Trump is just an oligarch angling to become a dictator.)

  3. Bendeguz79 says:

    In that photo, it seems he is whispering; “baby I love you”.

    Well, as of the wealth of Mr. Meszaros, that is how life is. Once you are wealthy can only get more wealthy. Did not Mr. Soros did the same ?
    Some people sure get wealthy while the country must be advancing economically, otherwise there would be no opportunity to get wealthy !

    I always look at it of how one obtained it? By disadvantaging the less fortunate? And how one use it? To disadvantage the less fortunate ?Now, that sure would be evil !

  4. AlmafromAlabama says:

    Whoever doesn’t like the American President is welcome to go back to Hun country!

  5. I’m reminded once again of that wonderful saying attributed to Szechenyi: Every nation gets exactly the sort of government that it deserves. This could not be more accurate for Hungary today.

  6. Bendeguz79 says:

    GOLLNER irta;

    “The best way to rob a bank is to own one.”

    Anybody who goes through the troubles to have a bank of his own for the purpose to rob it, must be an absolute idiot !

  7. Bendeguz79:

    Why must you be so one dimensional? Are you really such a simpleton, or is this an act? You would like to have all of us keep explaining to you every day that the world isn’t flat. Sorry, buddy. Nobody has time for that.

  8. Bendeguz79 says:

    Never mind the “bank robbery” or even Szechenyi,
    Soros in his Brussel speech Thursday called PM Orban running a “muffia state”.
    But Friday , Orban responded by calling Soros’s remark as “declaration of war “!

    So, the war is on, who or what will be the casualty
    Or will there be a chance for peace ?

  9. Bendeguz79 says:

    LENARK;
    What’s your problem ,man ?
    Do you approve the ‘robber-barons’ kind of business practices ? Is that simple mindedness to you? Like your “flat Earth” comparison. Hm ?
    No, do NOT explain anything to me !

    On the Szechenyi proberb, I feel you are wrong !
    That is a more modern saying.
    Szechenyi opposed Kossuth but likely had not made any such insult at him.
    On the view of the the country’s future he was sure correct. Kossuth led the nation only to blood-shed and terror.
    Only Deak and Andrasy made some change to advance the country’s chances.
    Was sad how the great man ended up in asylum and suicide.

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