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

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