Oleg Deripaska’s Hungarian friends: Messrs. Munk, Demján and Csányi

President Donald Trump recently unveiled new sanctions against Russian officials, businesses and agencies. One of the prominent names on the list of targeted oligarchs is 50-year-old Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire. Deipaska has links to former Trump-campaign boss Paul Manafort, who is awaiting trial on money laundering and conspiracy charges lodged against him by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. (Read more about the US sanctions here.)

Russian President Putin with Oleg Deripaska.

In the last couple of years some wealthy Hungarians have also developed profitable ties with Russian President Putin’s cronies. Here are some of Deripaska’s Hungarian connections.

Peter Munk. The Hungarian-born Canadian billionaire and Holocaust survivor was a close friend and business partner of Deripaska. Munk had business interests in Hungary and was friendly with the authoritarian Orbán regime. Three years ago Munk raised eyebrows when in a speech he openly defended the Hungarian Prime Minister by saying that Orbán „is a democratic and freedom loving” leader and he is not anti-Semitic. Munk died on March 28 in Toronto at the age of 90. (Watch Munk’s speech here.)

Peter Munk (in sunglasses) with Deripaska (middle)

Munk’s primary investment vehicle in Central-Europe was TriGranit, a conglomerate which invested in real estate projects in the region. He also established scholarships with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. (Munk visited Hungary several times and as far as I know at the time of his death had no Hungarian citizenship.)

Peter Munk (left) with Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó (next to him), Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, Stéphane Dion (third from the left) and Hungary’s Ambassador to Canada Mr. Bálint Ódor (far right).

Sándor Demján. Mr. Demján was a secretive and colorful Hungarian businessman. He died at the age of 75 just two days before his Canadian business partner Peter Munk did. Demján run TriGranit and worked with Deripaska on several projects, among them a giant marina development, called Porto Montenegro near the picturesque town of Tivat, Montenegro. The Daily Mail called Porto Montenegro the playground of the rich, a “mafia paradise.” (Click here to read more about Porto Montenegro)

Sándor Csányi. 65-year-old Csányi is Hungary’s richest man. He has held the title of CEO and Chairman of Hungary’s largest bank, OTP for the last 26 years. In 2009 Deripaska bought an aluminum smelter, Kombinat Aluminijuma Podgorica (KAP) and a bauxite mine, Rudnici Boksita Niksic (RBN) in Montenegro. Csányi’s bank provided friendly financing of 49.68 million euro ($73.65 million) to make the deal happen.

Mr. Sándor Csányi (left) and Mr. Sándor Demján (right).

Bálint Magyar, a Hungarian sociologist and politician who served as Minister of Education in the past calls Hungary a “mafia state.” Orbán’s Hungary is looking more and more like Putin’s Russia these days.

György Lázár

10 Comments

  1. Robert Morrison says:

    @ György Lázár

    What is the purpose of this posting other than printing the following sentence?
    “Bálint Magyar, a Hungarian sociologist and politician who served as Minister of Education in the past calls Hungary a “mafia state.” Orbán’s Hungary is looking more and more like Putin’s Russia these days.”

  2. Why don’t you bugger off to some Orbanist site (there are lots of them) and stop torturing yourself here with these articles?

  3. So! Following logic of this article, Germany is also a “mafia state”, more so than Hungary, because their business elites have far more wide-spread and deeper ties with Russian oligarchs compared with the ones cited here.

    “Two-thirds of the German firms polled predicted mounting revenues, exports and investments in Russia, with the poll taking into account the views of companies with a total of 122,000 employees and combined annual revenue of 29 billion euros ($30.7 billion) in Russia.”
    http://www.dw.com/en/german-entrepreneurs-see-pickup-in-russia-business/a-37702800

    The absurdity of these anti-Orban and anti-Hungary attacks on this site is reaching records, far beyond anything that might be considered a reasonable argument.

  4. The hate-mongering must go on!

    Manafort is charged with failing to register as a foreign-agent and tax-evasion.

    Evidently the author has no understanding what “money-laundering” is. But that charge may also be added, depending on how he moved money.

  5. Peter, Morrison and Bendeguz: Shame on each of you for your repulsive loyalty to the Orban dictatorship. If you had the guts to spread your garbage using your real names, future generations of Hungarians would spit on you and your grandchildren would have to recoil in shame.

    • “If you had the guts to spread your garbage using your real names”

      He did (not garbage but relevant points):

      https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/02/stripping-a-professor-of-tenure-over-a-blog-post/385280/

      A tenured professor suspended over an opinion in a blog post. Now, even us “trolls” on the “Orban troll farm” know that someone who has tenure is only supposed to be dismissed over something severe like rape, stealing funds or something as severe. But evidently, it is enough to stray from PC and express another opinion, in his case an opinion in favor of free speech, to face such persecution these days. Therefore perhaps I should be given some understanding for not using my real name when expressing my perfectly relevant and mostly decent views. And you all call Orban a “dictator”

  6. Very nice little mignon from Mr. Lázár. As one who had some part to play in the initial love-in between Peter Munk, and Orbán, I can attest to the validity of this tip of the ice-berg. Robert Morrison – hold onto your racket. More balls are coming your way 🙂

  7. LANARK;
    You likely can not read, or can not remember what you read, or both.
    I have repeatedly stated here that by my judgment Orban is a not just a meat-head, but a senseless and self-centered authocrat.
    Beside have absolutely no common sense of understanding basic economic possibilities what a country without any natural resources need to consider to develope to achieve to be self-sustaning society.
    Instead of being just like welfare state, and a failed state.
    Your back to the past leftist dream is even much worse that Orban’s greedy amaturism.

    Yet, the people overwhelmingly desided by the “lesser evil” and rejected both, the extreme right as well you guys, the extreme left.

    You blame everybody for it, but yourselvs.
    Like the saying goes, only the idiots refuse to learn from their own stupid errors.

    Now go and cry !

  8. Peter is correct, the German economy would collapse without being able to export her industrial products to eastern Europe, including Russia.

    Just like in 1930s, Germany had 45 million unemployed.
    That’s what put Hitler in power, the promise of jobs by resurecting the military and to recapture the lost territories.
    Germany is the economic powerhouse of Europe.
    As an industrialized power must have markets and raw-materials to survive.
    The market was always the “east”. That is why Germany had the need to go to war in two world wars, when markets and raw material was denied to them.
    Germany will be the cause of the next major war in Europe in the future also !
    Germany is a major exporter economy ,also an arms exporter.

  9. So just how wealthy these guys really are ?
    Keep floating figures of their wealth, but they are burried in debt.
    Some can brag of great wealth, but all that could be just all debt, when financed and values drop.
    Tell us please how much equity they really have ?
    And on how much income they really made that paid taxes on ?

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