Police investigating sale of 7th district local council-owned homes

Police have launched an investigation into the sale of properties owned by Budapest's 7th district local council, the spokesman of the national police force said on Wednesday.

The authorities are working to determine whether there was any criminal activity involved in the sale, Kristof Gal told a press conference.

The 7th district mayor’s office, under the leadership of opposition DK Mayor Peter Niedermuller, on Tuesday said it had filed a criminal complaint over the sale of houses in downtown Kiraly street on suspicion of misappropriation of public funds.

The mayor’s office last month said it would challenge the contract for the sale of an apartment building in Kiraly street concluded under the previous, Fidesz leadership before court, after the authorities had withdrawn 417 million forints (EUR 1.2m) from the district’s accounts. Under the contract signed under Fidesz’s Mayor Zsolt Vattamany, the district agreed to move out 45 inhabitants of three houses into fully reconstructed homes and sell the buildings within a few weeks’ time, the office had said.

Fidesz lawmaker Istvan Bajkai later said he would file a report to the police against Niedermuler on suspicion of misappropriation of funds.

Bajkai said the 417 million forints had been withdrawn because the council owed the money to a company as penalty for delays in reconstruction works in Kiraly street.

He noted that the contract was concluded in 2003 “in a manner seriously detrimental to the local authority”, and amended under Fidesz leadership in 2019. The development thus could have brought “billions for the authority and improved the district”, he said.

He accused Niedermuller of neglecting to avert the damage and protect the authority’s funds, adding that the mayor had not cancelled the contract either, a step the local authority had the right to do.

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