Another day, another Fidesz corruption scandal — Lajos Kósa and the mysterious 4.35 billion euros

Lajos Simicska, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s former college roommate and best-friend-turned-worst-enemy, has decided to air the ruling party’s dirty laundry in the weeks ahead of the national elections in April. The Magyar Nemzet conservative daily newspaper produced what it says is a notarized document showing that someone (the name on the document is covered) entrusted Fidesz MP and Minister Lajos Kósa with 4.35 billion euros, for the purpose of investing this amount in Hungarian state bonds. The document dates back to 2013, when Mr. Kósa was Fidesz Vice President and Mayor of Debrecen.

On Tuesday morning, journalists of ATV and HVG asked the Fidesz politician who would have entrusted him with such a staggering amount of money and why? Mr. Kósa’s answer was eyebrow-raising. The Fidesz politician claimed that a friend of his introduced him to a German woman who inherited a large amount of money and was looking for someone to help her invest it.

Mr. Kósa told reporters that he never actually received the 4.35 billion euros and he never bought state bonds for this amount. The journalists continued to press Mr. Kósa: was he present in the notary’s office when the ominous agreement was signed? Mr. Kósa said that he does not really know what the reporters are talking in terms of this specific document, but then added: yes, he had previously been to the offices of Ádám Tóth, the notary in question.

There is a significant problem with Mr. Kósa’s explanation: according to HVG, in 2012 only 21 people in Germany had assets that equaled or exceeded 4.35 billion and not a single one of them died prior to the signing of this contract.

Lajos Kósa

Fidesz must know that this story is a serious problem for the party. In addition to his explanation given to ATV and HVG reporters, Mr. Kósa also posted a video to Facebook, in an attempt to explain further–though his story changed completely. In this video, he claims that a lawyer and a woman from the town of Csenger (population 4,900) in eastern Hungary contacted him and said that they had significant assets to invest. Mr. Kósa suggested that she invest the funds in Hungarian state bonds and in work projects. Mr. Kósa claims that the contract was re-written several times, but after nothing happened by 2017, and no money was produced, he realized that he may have been duped.

Mr. Kósa then said something ominous: he would not be surprised if other problematic documents came to light in the coming weeks, considering that Hungary is in the middle of an election campaign. Mr. Kósa appears to predict that this story may have legs.

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