How the European Union enriched the Orbán family

Close observers of Hungarian politics are not surprised to learn that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a vociferous critic of Brussels at home, uses the European Union as a “cash register.” Any Hungarian entrepreneur would also know that winning major EU-funded contracts is a privilege reserved for a small circle of oligarchs close to the ruling Fidesz party’s inner circle and, it appears, to the Orbán family specifically. As The Guardian notes, Hungary is one of the largest recipients of EU funds, with plans to release €25 billion in new development aid before 2021. Ingeborg Grässle, who chairs the European Parliament’s budget control committee, found that fully 36% of EU-funded public contracts in Hungary had only one bidder. This particular problem exists not only in Hungary, but also in Poland and Croatia.

Far more critical for Hungary, however, is a damning report by the European Anti-Fraud Office. The OLAF report found that a company linked to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s son-in-law, István Tiborcz, received €40 million in EU funds to upgrade public lighting in Hungarian towns, despite the fact that the firm, Elios Innovativ, and Mr. Tiborcz had little experience in the field. Additionally, some of the products used by this firm exceeded market rates by 50%. Mr. Tiborcz is no longer a shareholder in Elios, having sold off his shares before the European Anti-Fraud Office commenced its investigations.

The OLAF report found that Mr. Tiborcz’s firm had an unfair advantage when submitting its bid, including obtaining confidential information and a bid process that was tailor-made for his company.

Seven companies, mainly serving as consultants, are implicated in the corruption scandal. For instance, Sistrade Kft assisted municipal governments ahead of the public lighting projects by producing studies and reports. Sistrade’s owner, Endre Hamar, was also linked to Elios, resulting in a conflict of interest.

Mr. Hamar also had an interest in a firm called Eupro Projektmenedzsment Kft., which provided project management services, with Mr. Hamar serving as owner in this firm as well as Elios between 2013 and 2014. His business partner in Eupro, Péter György Kárpáti, is linked to János Lázár, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office. Mr. Hamar, who is at the centre of the controversy, remains Mr. Tiborcz’s business partner, particularly in luxury real estate ownership and management.

As some of our readers will know, the 31 year old Mr. Tiborcz has a stake in a company called Longoria Holding Zrt., which owns real estate in Visegrád and a building that will be turned into a luxury hotel in Budapest. In 2015, a company linked to Mr. Tiborcz also purchased a castle in the town of Tura, once owned by Baron Zsigmond Schossberger and built in 1883. After the 200 million forint purchase, the castle–previously open for public tours–was closed and a number of trees were cut out from the gardens, despite a decision from the municipality in 2009, declaring the park protected.

Mr. Tiborcz married Mr. Orbán’s eldest daughter, Ráhel, in 2013 and their first child, Aliz, was born in 2016. Today, the 31 year old man is among the wealthiest and most influential people in Hungary.

Mr. Tiborcz pours Mr. Orbán some pálinka.

According to the OLAF report, businessmen and politicians directly connected to Prime Minister Orbán, namely Mr. Tiborcz, Lőrinc Mészáros, Árpád Habony and Lajos Simicska, won a staggering 2,5 billion euros worth of European Union and nationally-funded public projects in Hungary between 2010 and 2016. In some cases, particularly in that connected to Mr. Tiborcz’s firm, it appears that businessmen in Mr. Orbán’s inner circle, as well as Minister János Lázár, knew about upcoming publicly-funded projects and tenders years before they were even published, and ensured that these passed into the hands of Mr. Orbán’s son-in-law.

On Monday morning, Politico’s European edition wrote about how the Orbán family is “splashed with cash.” Politico notes that Mr. Orbán’s brother, Győző Jr., just won its third EU-funded project in the last two years.

Despite the fact that one month ago the OLAF report has noted a series of irregularities and conflicts of interest implicating companies tied to Mr. Orbán’s son-in-law, Hungary’s Chief Prosecutor, Péter Polt–a former Fidesz politician–has thus far failed to launch any kind of investigation. Member of the European Parliament Benedek Jávor has called on Hungarian President János Áder to fire Mr. Polt for repeatedly failing to investigate or lay charges in any suspicious matters linked to Prime Minister Orbán.

The Hungarian Socialist Party – Párbeszéd alliance is calling for a parliamentary committee to be struck to investigate the Elios case and to determine Prime Minister Orbán’s personal culpability. Gergely Karácsony remarked on Monday that there are clear signs the Elios scandal is an example of organized criminal activity, in which the immediate Orbán family is implicated.

“It is clear that the prosecutor’s office did not fight crime, but enabled it,” added Mr. Karácsony.

MSZP-P needs to find forty MPs to establish a parliamentary committee on Mr. Orbán’s culpability in the Elios scandal and the party is presently reaching out to other opposition groups.


  1. Not only a huge part of all public (95%EU) funded projects land with Orbán and his mafia, but the profits are staggering: the Simicska cos showed officially 28%+ in 2011-2014 and things have gotten worse since, as this case demonstrates.
    And this corruption has spread from top to bottom all over the country –
    the Orbán regime easily wins ” the most corrupt” title by a mile (sorry Croatia, Poland).

  2. I must add the followings. It’s my personal opinion upon the bases of available info. on the web.
    That all their laws, rules, etc. even court cases, rulings and etc. while no logic or basic common sense can be found in any, but all are rather liberals.
    Compared to US , state and local standards.
    So ,really wonder, what’s the problem?
    Do not forget, backwardness and outdated thinking is not a sin, nor a crime.

    Has any one ever demonstrated any commonsense in governance in Hungary ?
    Nothing to brag about, but consider their past 1,000 years.
    Hey, “Rome was not built in one day “!

  3. So there is more then plenty of cash to start paying the property restitutions to the heirs and survivors for their apartments, houses, stores stollen from them. And help the homeless -and unemployed.
    Why does the guy look like Peter Pan in Sherwood Forest the way he is dressed?

  4. NO,NO, NO. It’s not nice to be so bias,unfair and extremely prejudice.
    Beside it is unforgivable !!!

    Elliminated my simple comment, where I pointed out that Orban or any one of his crony could have not received a red-cent without Gyurcsany’s Altus Zrt. proposals and suppervission of all EU support monies, to Hungary and all other 27 nations.

    I attached several web-page addresses and even Mr.Gyurcsany’s own quoted words.

    Are you going to accuse me again publically of making treath against your life, and to run you over from the other end of the globe?
    Have you confessed that all ?
    Is not the wages of sin being any longer death?
    Is not the rabbi quoted in the good book, once may be forgiven, but there after remains no more the value of the blood sacrefice for repeated deliberate evil ?
    Do a degree ,and even a PhD nullify all ethical values to you???
    Does not your conscious talk to you sometime ?

    • Avatar Hungarian Free Press says:

      You are expected to remain on-topic when commenting. This article is a discussion of Elios, a headline story today in Hungary, not Altus.

      Secondly, you have already been informed by other readers in KMH that nobody ever accused you of making death threats against me and that you completely misunderstood a response to a question in which I specifically said that there is someone commenting from Florida on my Hungarian site who on a daily basis for the past five years sends threats to murder me and other writers, and provides gory detail on how he will achieve this. Naturally, his comments are deleted. You then threatened to sue me because you totally misunderstood the comment and believed that I was accusing you of this. One of our readers tried to explain this to you (apparently unsuccessfully).

  5. Dear Mr. Hungarian Free Press;

    First of all, my comment was not just very much on the subject of the article, but hit the very root of all that caused it.
    Orban,or any of his cronies, or Hungary as a state ,have NOT been able to receive a red-cent of EU assistance monies if Mr. Gyurcsany, as president and CEO of Altus Zrt. that is under legally binding contract with the EU to analyze, recommend and suppervise the use of all those monies.

    Today it’s his wife, Ms. Dobrev as the owner and CEO of Altus Zrt. However the terms of any such contract is binding till 2021.
    (Orban’s appeal to cancel that contract was fruitless.)
    And that fact is the very root of all that EU monies that is being spent on very senseless , useless and absolutely wasteful projects.
    Any member state’s PM has the moral responsibility to oppose, or veto such waist of EU taxpayers money.
    It has NOT helped Hungary, only created financial burden to Hungarian taxpayers to maintain those facilities.

    In case there is evidence of deliberate skimming of such EU funds, than such acts likely happen in colleboration with those that promote such a scheme. It sure would not surprise me at all.
    How come you intentionally attempt to hide such possibilities?

    As of the remark you made back as a remark on Ms.Hollosy’s: “A Rakodopart Also Koven Ul…” (Dated Jan.30,2018), you have clearly and deliberately made that allegation, have not just addressed it to me Bendeguz79, but referred directly at me, Bendeguz79’s act.

    Would a jury accept that a PhD has miss-spoken ?
    Due Process lives in Canada also.

    • Avatar Hungarian Free Press says:

      I published this comment unedited and uncorrected. Not only is it convoluted and poorly composed grammatically, but you demonstrate a lack of understanding and knowledge of EU development funds, how they are disbursed to member states, and Gy. F’s role in this.

      Secondly, if you are bothered by the comment in KMH, which others have explained to you has nothing to do with you, I encourage you to seek legal advice and recourse, if you feel that it is warranted.

      To end this once and for all, this is the exchange that unfolded:

      “Kenny” asked me: “chris en elek es 2018 január 31 11:43 de. ???????? Ez a régi elmebeteg amerikai, vagy egy új? Remélem nem Bendegúznál szakadt el a cérna?”

      To which I responded:

      Igen, a régi floridai elmebeteg, naponta küld kb. tucatnyi hasonló kommentet, általában engem fenyeget meg gyilkossággal, elgázolással, stb. Véletlenül került ki.”

      If you are incapable of understanding that this refers not to you, but to the “old” user, as has already been explained to you, then you are in no position to be commenting in a Hungarian publication.

      But as I said, seek legal advice on the matter and seek whatever recourse you wish.

  6. This site has shown infinite patience with this relentless fool Bendeguz. No need to waste another word on the buffoon. Just delete him.

  7. Avatar Andras B. Gollner says:

    Bendy goose should not only be deleted but banned from any publication that wishes to engage in serious dialogue with its readers. His only contribution on on these pages is to give the readers indigestion, and make them avoid the comment section. I’m sure that is why he keeps coming back here.

  8. Yes Chris! Andras is right, it is high time that you STOP publishing Bendy’s incomprehensible writing. Maybe than he would have time to enroll in an English grammar course.

  9. Avatar Andras B. Gollner says:

    Bendeguz follows a strategy that I first heard about during my schooldays in Hungary. He craps under other people’s windows, than knocks to ask for toilet paper to wipe his behind. 5 years is a bit long to put up with his daring doo.

    Surely there must be a screen, that recognizes the IP addresses of serial polluters, and automatically kicks them in the rear end when they begin to stoop.

    One of the things we have learned from the Mueller investigation this weekend is, that illiberal regimes, such as Russia, Hungary, employ an army of trolls to try and discredit people who draw attention to their crimes. The HFP’s disposition to turn the other cheek to the autocrats’ trolls on a daily basis is an encouragement to them, and a discouragement to those who want to engage their peers in rational intellectual discourse on matters of social justice, human and civil rights.

    It is this liberal gallantry that destroyed the Weimar Republic, that produced the fascist regimes during the middle of the 20th century, that brought the ilks of Sebastian Gorka, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, the goose steppers of Charlottesville, out into the open. It is this liberal lassitude that allows Orbán to steal the EU blind, to enrich his corrupt little fiefdom with the heard earned cash of European taxpayers, and drive Hungary’s poor into destitution, her health and education system into the ground.

    It is time to practice in our backyard what we preach outside our domicile ! I’d rather hear the sound of one hand clapping than breathe the stench coming from those, who come here to repeatedly insult our civility, our intelligence, and to applaud Hungary’s resurrection of its fascist past. Please let the manufacturers of fake news stew in their own juices.

  10. Pingback: Will János Lázár be sacrificed in the Orbán family corruption scandal?

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