Hungary: OCCRP Partner's Wealth Declaration Reporting Prompts Inquiry Calls

Investigations by OCCRP partner Direkt36 have exposed how senior politicians including Prime Minister Viktor Orban have failed to follow wealth declaration regulations, prompting opposition calls for parliamentary inquiries.


Orbán-Viktor-nem-szereti-az-ellenvéleményeket.-Még-volt-kollégájának-sem-válaszolViktor Orban (Photo: BuBiSvÍz, CC BY-SA 4.0)Since July, Direkt36 has released a series of stories based on a joint project with news site, Transparency International Hungary, and the Center for Independent Journalism that digitized handwritten wealth declarations and made them available as a public database.

Direkt36 exposed how for years Laszlo Taso, a state minister, failed to declare some of his properties in his annual wealth declarations and neglected to mention some of the state subsidies he received. It has also revealed how Prime Minister Orban failed to declare information on his ownership of several properties.

The reports prompted a defense from Orban’s office of the accuracy of his wealth filings. Opposition parties have called for parliamentary inquiries into officials’ wealth as well as reforms to the country’s declaration rules.

Revelations from the project also hit lower ranks of Orban’s Fidesz party. Direkt36 reported that Imre Pesti, a Fidesz MP, failed to declare that he had enjoyment rights on a property owned by his daughter. It also reported that Zsolt Becso, another Fidesz MP, did not declare one of his companies and the substantial state funds the firm received for developing real estate projects.

Direkt36’s reporting also found irregularities with opposition politicians. Reporting uncovered how Laszlo Varju, from the opposition Democratic Coalition, owned assets through companies while he claimed to be nearly penniless in his declarations.