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Hungarian opposition figure Péter Márki-Zay received illegal funds from the US on a larger scale than previously thought. Facebook

Hungarian opposition: More illegal US funds than previously known

The result of parliamentary elections in Hungary in April 2022 has been the bane of the opposition. The defeated movement around Péter Márki-Zay received illegal funds from the US on a larger scale than previously thought, according to a recently declassified intel report. Most media outlets have been silent about it.

Published: January 28, 2023, 6:40 am

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    As was already reported in September, illegal donations had flowed to the political opposition from the US organization Action for Democracy (AD). Attempts were made to influence the elections in Hungary from abroad and to support Viktor Orbán’s opponent candidate.

    But according to the National Information Center in Budapest, the amount of money involved was even higher than initially reported.

    The head of the agency, Brigadier General Zoltán András Kovács, underlined that this was clearly a violation of Hungary’s sovereignty. In an article he also criticized the silence of the international media about the scandal.

    Last year, the secret services and investigative authorities found another 160 million Hungarian forints – the equivalent of 410 146 euros – in financial election campaign aid from abroad for the opposition. The funds are said to have been channeled through a Swiss foundation. A total of 3,2 billion forints (8,2 million euros) flowed from the AD to the Hungarian opposition alliance.

    According to this, 58 percent of the funds went directly to the opposition movement MMM [Hungary for All], a smaller part to the eDemocracy Workshop Association and the rest to five companies that had been commissioned with the election campaign for the opposition.

    US Democrats behind the funding?

    The Hungarian authorities believe that people associated with the Democratic Party in the US were behind the organization AD.

    The website of parliament’s national security committee also released a transcript of evidence given by NIK head Brigadier-General Zoltán András Kovács suggesting that the total amount of funding was around 160 million more than previously stated, the Hungarian state outlet MTI reported.

    Kovács, director of the Evaluation, Analysis and Information Directorate, said that such donations were undoubtedly illegal. “Hungarian law prohibits political parties from accepting financial contributions from foreign organizations and non-Hungarian citizens; it also prohibits anonymous donations. Point.”

    Foreign financial funding sent to Hungary exceeded 4 billion forints, MTI added, with various political analysts and marketing specialists being the ultimate beneficiaries among others.

    And according to Magyar Nemzet, Action for Democracy could even have transferred money before it was officially registered.

    Mainstream ignore US meddling

    At the same time, he scoffed at the international press’ silence on the case: “It’s amusing how the mainstream media seem to give our political opponents carte blanche when they’re caught red-handed. Just imagine if they had even the slightest evidence of misconduct in the election campaign by Fidesz and the KDNP (Christian Democratic People’s Party). I’m not taking much of a risk by saying that these newspapers wouldn’t stop publishing articles about it for months. Or maybe even years.”

    He addressed the “bad-faith press reactions” that objected to the fact that Hungary’s domestic intelligence service, which had been transformed from the Office of National Security to the Office of Constitutional Protection, was subordinated to the Ministry of the Interior.

    András Zoltán Kovács gave the example of NATO member states, including the United Kingdom, France and Germany, saying that in those countries the minister of the interior manages the secret services as well. He spoke about the fact that these bodies were directly controlled by the prime ministers, but according to him, they did not want to implement this after any regime change, lest a secret service scandal caused a government crisis.

    Máté Kocsis, the group leader of ruling Fidesz, said the Hungarian political left had kept the foreign funding a secret prior to the general election and actually denied any connection to foreign financiers. “If we only look at the amount of foreign funding transferred to left-wing parties running in the elections, it is still four times the amount Hungarian parties were entitled to receive in central campaign financing. This fact alone seriously violates the country’s sovereignty,” Kocsis said on Facebook.

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