The grant looked bad amid efforts Hungary has promised the European Union to better fight corruption. Wednesday, December 7, the Hungarian news site 24.hu had revealed that Viktor Orban’s son-in-law, Istvan Tiborcz, was imprisoned in 2018 for “organized fraud plan” to receive European funds, had just won 156 million forints (almost €375,000) in EU funds on 3 November, intended for the “rural development”.
In response to questions from mouthhowever, Mr. Tiborcz’s spokesman suddenly announced on Friday, December 9 “that he no longer wished to carry out the planned reforestation project” on one of the plots he owns in the Bicske district, west of Budapest, “due to changing economic conditions”. Therefore, “he will therefore not use these funds”promises this spokesman, while this attribution caused a scandal in Hungary in recent days.
Located about forty kilometers from the Hungarian capital, the Biscke district is indeed the stronghold of the nationalist prime minister’s relatives. His childhood friend, his wife or his son-in-law have bought a lot of land there and his father, Gyozo Orban, is building a luxurious palace on 23 hectares. Mr Tiborcz had asked for these European funds “creating a green corridor that promotes free movement and the spread of species”.
“There was certainly no indication that these specific funds linked to agricultural policy were allocated in a corrupt manneracknowledges Sandor Lederer, director of the anti-corruption NGO K-Monitor, but it gives a bad impression in the middle of negotiations with Brussels”, which could lead to the freezing of more than €13 billion in European funds earmarked for Hungary. Indeed, the decision whether or not to freeze these funds must be ratified by the EU Member States in the coming days.
Several states, including France, are very reluctant to opt for freezing. But in the meantime Orban’s entourage continues to steal European fundsdenounces German MEP (ecologist) Daniel Freund, specialist in the rule of law in Hungary, who cites the case of Mr Tiborcz’s aborted grant but also that of Mr Orban’s former classmate, Lorinc Meszaros, who first Hungarian fortune at the head of a giant conglomerate that “Continues to win European tenders”.
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