Lajos Kósa’s mother was to be gifted 2.6 million euros from the billionaire of Csenger

The scandal and mystery around Fidesz Minister Lajos Kósa deepened on Wednesday, with Magyar Nemzet reporting that in a notarized document from September 2013, the minister’s mother was promised a “gift” of 2.6 million euros from the woman in the town of Csenger, called Mária Matkó (Mrs. Gábor Szabó), who claimed to be the beneficiary of an estate worth 4.35 billion euros. According to the notarized agreement, the minister’s mother was to receive this gift based on a previous understanding between the parties involved.

Early this year, questions arose about how in 2015 Mrs. Kósa, now an 82 year old pensioner, took ownership of a near bankrupt pig farm belonging to relatives of the minister and how she eventually received 123 million forints in Hungarian state funding for her venture. What’s curious is that the elderly Mrs. Kósa (her maiden name is Katalin Bacskó) bought a 50% stake in a pig farming company called Méker Kft. and it was this firm which then purchased the insolvent Szalka-Pig Kft. Before buying Szalka-Pig Kft, Mrs. Kósa invested enough money in Méker Kft.–from unknown sources–that it was able to come to an agreement with Szalka-Pig Kft’s creditors, thus ending bankruptcy proceedings that were ordered by a court in Nyíregyháza. Neither Minister Kósa, nor the elderly Mrs. Kósa ever explained where she found the funds to buy the bankrupt pig farm and pay off the creditors. Mrs. Kosa, of course, is a private citizen , so she can argue that she does not owe the public an explanation. But the widespread suspicion in many circles was that Mrs. Kósa might be the Minister Kósa’s stooge. A satirical song, based on a folk tune, was written about this, entitled “My mother is not a stooge” or in Hungarian: “Nem stróman az Édesanyám.”

In the notarized document from September 2013, which indicated that Mrs. Kósa would receive a gift of 2.6 million euros, the billionaire from Csenger claimed to be a shareholder of Swiss aviation company Altenrhein Aviation AG. She gave both Lajos Kósa and another named individual, János Czakó, authorization to attend and represent her at the Swiss company’s shareholders’ meetings in both 2013 and 2015.

The plot thickens with another document, dated 12 January 2015, in which Lajos Kósa is authorized to manage shares issued by Paris-based Crédit Industriel et Commercial. (According to the agreement, Mr. Kósa was not permitted to sell these shares, nor receive dividends.) This agreement is then notarized on 2 February 2015.

Lajos Kósa. Photo: Magyar Nemzet / Béla Nagy

Magyar Nemzet reports that it has also seen another document, in which János Czakó and someone called Tamás Szabó are given authorization to withdraw 25 million euros each from a safe in Switzerland.

On Wednesday, Mr. Kósa continued to claim that he was the victim of a fraudster. He explained that the woman kept telling Mr. Kósa for years that she does not trust the state, nor banks–and that she has trust in nobody, but him. How many of our readers have received email scams from Nigeria, which claim similar things–a man with a massive estate who trusts in only you to help him out? If there is nothing more to this story than the fact that Mr. Kósa fell for a scam such as this–one that the vast majority of Hungarian citizens would not fall for–then it is alarming that he is still a government minister in charge of running municipal development programs.

But Mr. Kósa’s ties to Mrs. Gábor Szabó run deeper, as Index reports. First, the woman’s son claims that Mr. Kósa contacted them–and not the other way around. Second, and more importantly: the woman owns a company called the Észak-Atlanti Pénzügyi Befektető Kft (The North Atlantic Financial Investor Ltd). She is co-owners with a man called Mihály Orendi. Mr. Orendi is vice-president of the Hungarian Olympic Committee, former director of the main sports complex in Debrecen, Mr. Kósa’s hometown, of which he was also mayor, and he is the executive director of a skating organization affiliated with the Fidesz politician. As Index points out, just a few weeks ago, Mr. Kósa and Mr. Orendi attended the Winter Olympics together.

And to make the ties between Mr. Kósa and the fraudster who allegedly duped him even stronger: Mr. Kósa lawyer, István Fiák, is reportedly co-owner of Mrs. Szabó’s company.

On Wednesday, Mr. Kósa, in his capacity as Minister for the Modern Cities Program, attempted to hold a press conference on a project in the town of Érd, southwest of Budapest. Opposition activists showed up and disrupted his press conference, yelling a range of questions at Mr. Kósa, including things like “Where’s the money? Don’t lie!” Reporters asked him yet again about the scandal that is engulfing him. And once more, he repeated that he was the victim of a scam. He refused to answer any questions on his ties to the woman’s company nor did he explain why he wanted to secure for his mother a gift worth 2.6 million euros.

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