A former prime minister’s claims about Viktor Orbán’s alleged Swiss bank account

In the past 10 days, Hungary’s former Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány made two very significant and interconnected accusations against Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the ruling Fidesz party. First, he claimed to have seen documents years ago that suggest Mr. Orbán’s cozy relationship with Moscow boils down to blackmail. More specifically, Mr. Gyurcsány charges that Prime Minister Orbán is being blackmailed into selling out Hungary’s national interest to Russia, for fear that Vladimir Putin may otherwise leak information directly connecting the Hungarian prime minister to illegal money and to the criminal underworld. Mr. Gyurcsány gave Mr. Orbán a 72 hour ultimatum to refute these allegations or to take him to court. The prime minister did neither, but when he was asked by a reporter if he would take legal action against Ferenc Gyurcsány, Mr. Orbán smiled and simply responded: “Against who?” For its part, Fidesz issued a statement claiming that Mr. Gyurcsány has “quite simply gone mad.” In response, Mr. Gyurcsány advised Mr. Orbán that he had better pray that the documents allegedly confirming his criminal activity, and the illegal financing of Fidesz, as well as the connections to Moscow do not surface.

On Wednesday, Mr. Gyurcsány–who served as prime minister from 2004 to 2009–shared more specific information at his disposal with the chair of Parliament’s National Security Committee. The Socialist chair, Zsolt Molnár, did not share any of the information that he received with the media, as these are considered to be classified. Mr. Molnár had originally requested that both Mr. Orbán and Mr. Gyurcsány testify in front of the National Security Committee. Prime Minister Orbán dismissed the request, suggesting that Mr. Gyurcsány, who now leads the Democratic Coalition and seeks media attention, should resolve his rivalry with the Socialists on his own, and that the prime minister did not want to be dragged into this. Fidesz then quipped that Mr. Gyurcsány should be investigated by Parliament’s Health Committee instead. Mr. Molnár remarked that based on information received from intelligence agencies, no sitting Hungarian prime minister since 1990 exposed the country to national security risks that endangered its sovereignty.

What we do know about Mr. Gyurcsány’s most recent accusation, related to his earlier one, is this:

  • The former prime minister alleges that Viktor Orbán has or had a secret Swiss bank account and claims to have seen bank documents proving this.
  • Mr. Gyurcsány alleges that transactions tied to this account range from 100 million forints to 1 billion forints.
  • Mr. Gyurcsány claims that a Russian politician was the one to first alert him to Mr. Orbán’s alleged secret bank account, but when asked by Hír TV’s reporter if that Russian politician was Vladimir Putin, Mr. Gyurcsány would neither confirm nor deny.
  • It was a third party player who allegedly met with Mr. Gyurcsány in person on two separate occasions to show him the incriminating bank documents–a player who allegedly promised Mr. Gyurcsány that he needn’t worry, as he will soon contact him again.
  • Mr. Gyurcsány presumes that this third party will demand a large amount of money for the documents, but the former prime minister is willing to buy them, if necessary.

Ferenc Gyurcsány. Photo: 168 Óra

All of this had better not be a media stunt by the former prime minister to garner attention and raise his stagnating party’s fortunes in the polls. At the moment, he has aired conspiracies, but has not provided a shred of concrete documentation implicating Mr. Orbán as an agent of Russia, who is being blackmailed by compromising files pertaining to alleged criminal activity. Systemic corruption and the allegiance to Moscow is a given in the Orbán regime. There is no question about that. But if Mr. Gyurcsány continues making headlines with elaborate claims and innuendos, and claims to have seen documentation that will rock the heart of Hungarian politics, then he had best show his cards soon. Otherwise, he risks trivializing and discrediting the very serious and legitimate concerns around the Orbán regime’s deep rooted corruption and its allegiance with Vladimir Putin.

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