Last week I wrote about how an interim report from the State Audit Office revealed that former prime minister candidate Márky Zay Péter’s MMM movement received billions illegally through NGOs for his presidential campaign. Now, we have another report, from the Hungarian secret service, made public thanks to the National Information Center.
The 52-page document appropriately titled, “Foreign influence on the 2022 parliamentary elections in Hungary,” details that between August 2021 and September 2022, more than HUF 500 million were reportedly deposited into the account of Karácsony’s freshly founded 99 Movement Association. The association was established to support Karácsony as the joint prime ministerial candidate of the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), Dialogue for Hungary (Párbeszéd), and Politics Can Be Different (LMP) in the 2021 opposition primaries.
However, in the case of the secret funding, the sole contributor was Gábor Perjés, a politician affiliated with the Dialogue for Hungary (Párbeszéd) party led by — no surprise— Karácsony.
While the 99 Movement Association and Karácsony claim that there are “no foreign donations involved” as the association “collected micro-donations” through a “closed donation box,” all 19 deposits were made by Perjés personally, totaling HUF 506 million. Most of the transactions were in foreign currencies as well. According to the report, "a total of 917,695 euros and 3,900 British pounds in cash were deposited into the account during the examined period.”
It must have been a “big box” if it could fit all that foreign money…
Perjés is also known for his close ties to Gordon Bajnai, a former leftist prime minister, as he previously worked at the Wallis Group, where Bajnai served as CEO between 2000 and 2005.
And with that, the pieces begin fitting together. The classified document also reveals that the transaction data of DatAdat Professional Ltd., a company helmed by the Bajnai clique and which also came up in the SAO report, shows that the 99 Movement Association ordered services from it for a total value of over HUF 616.5 million.
What’s really interesting is that the Facebook page of the 99 Movement became inactive a few weeks after the opposition primaries, and the majority of these orders were realized after Karácsony Gergely withdrew his candidacy as prime minister against Márky Zay Péter.
We already know that Péter Márki-Zay’s MMM movement received HUF 1.85 billion in foreign support through the Action for Democracy organization.
It is also a known fact that the latter is led by Dávid Korányi, who previously served as an advisor to Gergely Karácsony and Gordon Bajnai.
Here we have reached full circle.
The secret service report — several parts of which have been redacted — states that "the report did not address the investigation and assessment of possible financial and management irregularities and infringements, given that this is currently under investigation by the State Audit Office, which has competence in this area."
The report also underlines that “a national security risk, or in the case of a successful campaign and electoral victory, a national security breach is realized if the fate of Hungary is decided by actors who can gain support from voters and influence the will of the electorate largely through foreign funding, while their decisions are accountable not to them but to the organizations, individuals and interest groups that provided the funds.”
Regarding Karácsony’s possible share of these funds, the report notes that "the source of the approximately half a billion forints is not yet known.” Yet clearly, we cannot speak of “micro-donations” as Karácsony claims, with individual transfers often exceeding HUF 50 million all made in a foreign currency.
The State Audit Office of Hungary, which supervises the financial management of political parties, has already informed the six opposition parties (DK, Momentum, Jobbik, MSZP, LMP, Dialogue) running together in the 2022 parliamentary elections that, based on its investigation, they received HUF 1.6 billion in illegal funding during the campaign, which could result in a fine of up to HUF 3.2 billion.