The head of the State Audit Office (ÁSZ) has launched an investigation into the foreign campaign donations received by the left-wing opposition ahead of last year’s general election, Erik Bánki, the (Fidesz) head of parliament’s economic committee, said on Friday. Bánki said in a video message that László Windisch had informed him in a letter of ASZ’s ongoing investigation into the left’s foreign campaign financing, saying there were “strong suspicions” that the donations constituted illegal party financing and that the opposition parties had violated the election law by accepting them. He said he will propose that the economic committee hear Windisch on March 27 in connection with his findings on the matter. Detailing Windisch’s report, Bánki said that in light of the suspicions that the left had violated the election law, the ASZ chief had turned to the tax authority, seeking information about how the funds were used. In the hearing, the economic committee will want to hear what sort of abuses the investigation was pointing to, and when the outcome of the probe would be known, Bánki said. New information is surfacing about the affair every week, he said, insisting that the opposition was “caught in a spiral of lies”. “At first they talked about micro-donations, but then it turned out that this wasn’t true, because there were large donors supporting the opposition with large sums,” he said, adding that the total sum received from abroad “in one of the most serious attempts of the past 30 years to influence the elections” had amounted to 4 billion forints (EUR 10m) worth of US dollars.
“Then they tried to distance themselves from the affair, but it turned out that Dávid Korányi, the chief advisor to [Budapest Mayor] Gergely Karácsony, tried to send these donations to Hungary through the Action for Democracy organisation, of which he is the leader.” Bánki said this made it clear that the opposition had tried to influence the outcome of the election from abroad.