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Fidesz MP turns to audit office over opposition’s foreign funding

Janos Halasz, deputy parliamentary group leader of ruling Fidesz, on Thursday said he has turned to the State Audit Office (ASZ) in connection with the foreign funding received by the opposition prior to the spring general election.

“More worrying details have emerged about the foreign financing of the left,” Halasz said in a video message, adding that the matter raised suspicions of illegal party financing.

Halasz said he has asked ASZ to investigate whether the law had been breached in the matter and to take the necessary steps if it uncovered illegal activity.

Citing declassified secret service reports, the MP noted that the civil organisation known as Action for Democracy had transferred 1.8 billion forints (EUR 4.5m) worth of funding to the opposition Everyone’s Hungary Movement (MMM). The organisation transferred 1.4 billion from that sum to political consulting firm DatAdat, he said.

Halasz said MMM’s financial records indicated it had spent over 172 million forints on social media ads during the election campaign period between January 1 and April 3 whereas their official campaign report indicated they had spent 530 million.

MMM spent the money it received on political activity, Halasz said, arguing that the social media ads had been run in support of the opposition’s candidates.

He noted that under Hungarian law, parties are not allowed to accept any form of financial support from foreign organisations or citizens. Yet one of Action for Democracy’s key figures, David Koranyi, who is chief advisor to Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony, recently admitted that the opposition had also received donations from institutions and not just small donors, Halasz said.

Meanwhile, Zsolt Wintermantel, group leader of ruling Fidesz in the Budapest city assembly, said he has sent a letter to Karacsony asking what duties Koranyi had performed and how much he had received in remuneration.

“It is publicly known that David Koranyi was chief advisor to the mayor and had organised the donation drive and the Action for Democracy background institution from America, which supported the left’s campaign with 3 billion forints,” Wintermantel said.

He said Fidesz wanted to know the details of Koranyi’s contract, his responsibilities, whether he had been paid for his work and if he had been given accommodation and a travel allowance.

Fidesz’s Budapest chapter said on Facebook that Karacsony had sacked Koranyi in response to public pressure but still owed Budapest residents answers.

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