OTP Bank has filed a report in connection with an ongoing tax authority (NAV) investigation into the financing of Gergely Karácsony’s opposition 99 Movement, the daily Magyar Nemzet said on Wednesday. According to an official report on foreign influence in last year’s elections prepared for parliament’s national security committee, an associate of Karácsony, who is the mayor of Budapest, Gábor Perjés, was identified as the sole contributor to the bank account of the 99 Movement, and more than four-fifths of the money — 526 million forints (EUR 1.7m) deposited into the account — was in euro and pound banknotes. The paper said that in connection with press reports concerning donation boxes and how that information squared with the records submitted by Perjés, OTP Bank had launched an internal audit and found that most donations were from Hungarians living abroad, and the bank had been presented with 2,000-3,000 banknotes at a time, the majority in new euro notes — mostly 50 and 100 euro denominations — in many cases consecutively numbered and stuck together as if fresh off the printing press. Also, payments corresponded to the amount of transfers made immediately after the payment to one of the movement’s key partners, the paper said, referring to the DatAdat group. According to the paper, OTP’s report concluded that contents of the records sent to the bank by the 99 Movement for the purpose of source verification were at odds with the facts on the ground, and the bank had been deceived as to the true source of the money.
The Budapest chapter of ruling Fidesz reacted by saying that it wanted answers in connection with the 99 Movement. In a Facebook post, the party noted that it had asked Karácsony months ago to reveal the source of the 500 million forints’ worth of foreign currency that had been deposited into the movement’s bank account. It insisted that the mayor’s explanation regarding the donation collection boxes was “a lie”, noting the findings of OTP’s internal audit. “All we’re asking Gergely Karácsony is who they got the money from,” Fidesz said. “If the mayor doesn’t know, he should ask his fellow party member, Gábor Perjés … who he got the fresh, crisp banknotes from. Budapest’s residents deserve to know the truth!”