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István Csillag Getting Rich as Mission:1 Swapping Elites on a Family Basis Accumulating Wealth Is a Party Duty The founders of Fidesz seem to have borrowed the lines from the opening sequence of Andrzej Wajda’s 1975 film The Promised Land. The film’s protagonists , three friends who have just finished high school at the dawn of capitalism, symbolically hold hands and declare on a hill towering above the smokestacks of Łódź, notorious for its textile factories: “You have nothing and I have nothing, and we’ve got just enough to set up a factory!” This slogan has guided the activities of the Fidesz founding fathers. The dormitory residents who founded Fidesz and their family members, that is, a circle of friends (the “family”), established a series of companies in 1992. Quality Invest Inc., Best Lízing (which later became Auto Classic Ltd.), Taxorg Ltd., Quality Party Service Ltd., Millennium Inc., Arzenal Ltd., and many other businesses were born, and after a few years vanished with debt owed to the state. A feature of these companies is that their founders were not the party, nor even its central company, Fico Ltd., but private individuals . All of these private individual owners were either Fidesz founders or their family members. The three owners and board members of Quality Invest Inc., a company founded on 4 April 1992 with one of the largest amounts of founding capital, HUF 102 million, were the younger brother of the current speaker of the National Assembly (Szilárd Kövér), the Fidesz Party head at the time and now a business magnate close to Fidesz (Lajos Simicska), and the party’s legal advisor, since that time under an international warrant for his arrest (Tamás Varga). The father of the party’s legal advisor (Sándor Varga) became their auditor. Every single member of the i6 Maffia II 00 book.indb 279 2016.12.07. 15:47 280 TWENTY-FIVE SIDES OF A POST-COMMUNIST MAFIA STATE supervisory board was also either a Fidesz founder or one of their family members or friends, in other words, members of the family. The origin of the money used to found the company remains in the family, the license for the company’s cash flow and operations remains in the family, and the wealth sucked out of the soon-to-be-emptied company also remains in the family. It could even be said that the chosen party members have fulfilled their party duties by accumulating wealth. The former Fidesz parliamentary caucus leader and current president, János Áder, supported this notion, so to speak, in a letter written to the Fidesz membership in 1993: “The main goal was that neither external nor internal funds should put us in a dependent situation where the party has the means to pursue its policies only to a limited extent. This way, we have been able to avoid ending up in the pockets of any economic or other interest group.”2 The Party for Those Getting Rich, and the Rich for the Party The reasoning of Áder’s letter sounds lovely, but the reality is somewhat different. The owners of these companies were not the party but the party leaders as private individuals, who organized themselves to enrich, accumulate wealth for, and satisfy the needs of private individuals. It was not the party that became richer, even if we assume—accepting János Áder’s well-meaning explanation—that (at the very least) there is a passageway between a company’s finances and the funds that serve the operation of the party. We do have to presume this passageway, because the previously mentioned founding capital of Quality Invest Inc. was exactly the same amount as the amount that (according to various recollections) Quality Invest, not the party, received from the purchase price for the subsequently infamous financial benefit and sale of the joint headquarters of the Magyar Demokrata Fórum (Hungarian Democratic Forum; MDF) and the Fidesz Party.3 The date of the company’s founding (4 April 1992) is also very close to the date when the government of the Republic of Hungary approved the financial benefit for the joint MDF–Fidesz headquarters on 16 April. First, it can be regarded as very likely that when the money was acquired for the company’s foundation, its collateral was the portion of the purchase price for the subsequent sale of the headquarters, an entitlement for which the necessary amount was paid...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9786155513619
Related ISBN
9786155513626
MARC Record
OCLC
959552378
Pages
660
Launched on MUSE
2017-03-28
Language
English
Open Access
No
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