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FIDESZ MP TURNS TO AUDIT OFFICE OVER OPPOSITION'S FOREIGN FUNDING

 

János Halász, deputy parliamentary group leader of ruling Fidesz, has turned to the State Audit Office (ÁSZ) 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,” Halász said in a video message, adding that the matter raised suspicions of illegal party financing. Halász said he has asked ÁSZ 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. Halász 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 spending of 530 million. MMM spent the money it received on political activity, Halász 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, Dávid Korányi, who is chief advisor to Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony, recently admitted that the opposition had also received donations from institutions and not just small donors, Halász said. Meanwhile, Zsolt Wintermantel, group leader of ruling Fidesz in the Budapest city assembly, said he has sent a letter to Karácsony asking what duties Korányi had performed and how much he had received in remuneration. “It is publicly known that Dávid Korányi was chief advisor to the mayor and had organised the donation drive and the Action for Democracy background institution from America, which provided the left-wing’s campaign with 3 billion forints,” Wintermantel said, adding that Fidesz wanted to know the details of Korányi’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 Karácsony had sacked Korányi in response to public pressure but still owed Budapest residents answers.