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Fidesz accuses Budapest mayor of money laundering

Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony "got clearly involved in money laundering in 2021", the group leader of ruling Fidesz said on public broadcaster Kossuth Radio on Sunday.

Mate Kocsis cited a recent national security report on foreign funding to Hungary’s opposition in the campaign for last year’s general election, and insisted that Karacsony “shrouded donations of over 500 million forints (EUR 1.3bn) for his campaign for prime minister in sad and reckless lies”. He said it was yet to be established why those donations “collected in closed boxes” had been “made almost exclusively in British pounds and euros.”

Karacsony is “in great trouble”, Kocsis said, adding that in a recently launched investigation “he will have to provide more serious answers”, and suggested that under current campaign financing regulations the opposition parties “could be fined as much as twice the several billion forints they had received for their 2022 election campaign”.

Kocsis insisted that the leftist parties had abandoned the political consensus around campaign financing and “made an alliance with foreign billionaires to go around the rules”. All political parties had been in agreement that they would not use foreign moneys for their campaigns, since “foreign financiers buying themselves positions in the Hungarian government would jeopardise Hungary’s sovereignty”, he said.

“The Left has trampled on written and non-written rules which will necessitate making the law even more stringent,” Kocsis said, adding that a draft could be submitted before parliament’s autumn session.

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