Hungary: MP failed to declare nearly €5 million

Published: 23 February 2017

Farkas Sandor

Sandor Farkas (Photo: Direkt36)

By Petho Andras

Sándor Farkas, a member of the Hungarian parliament from the governing Fidesz party, omitted 4.8 million of state subsidies from his wealth declarations in the past five years, OCCRP partner Direkt36 reported Thursday.

Hungarian MPs are obliged to declare any state or European Union subsidies they or their companies receive. Records show that a company co-owned by Farkas has received more than 2.5 billion HUF (approximately  8.1 million or US$ 8.6 million) of agricultural subsidies in total since 2012.

Of all this, however, he only declared 925.5 million HUF (3 million or US$3.2 million) in his wealth declarations.

Farkas told Direkt36 that the reason for the discrepancy is that some subsidies are granted in one year and paid in the following year. He added that each year he only declared the amount that was granted and actually paid. He did not declare those parts of the subsidies that were transferred later.

When Direkt36 asked whether he considered this a problem, he said: "What would happen if I declared another 300 million forints? Nothing."

The law governing the wealth declarations does not contain any sanction for those MPs who submit false declarations.

The finding about Farkas is the latest product of an ongoing Direkt36 project about the shortcomings of the Hungarian asset declaration system.

Last year, 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.