Former Socialist prime minister Péter Medgyessy denied culpability in testimony before a parliamentary economics committee Tuesday in the misuse of EU development funds related to the construction of Budapest’s M4 metro line. Medgyessy rejected allegations of corruption after the EU’s anti-fraud authority (OLAF) found evidence of at least HUF 167 billion (USD 576 million) in EU development funds for M4 being “stolen or improperly used.” The European Commission has requested Hungary pay back some HUF 60 billion (USD 203 million).
Medgyessy insisted that OLAF’s finding that he and then-Budapest mayor Gábor Demszky (SZDSZ) were complicit in the abuses was mistaken, and that he had nothing to do with the M4 project either during his term as prime minister or after his resignation in 2004. He claims that during the time in question, he did not own the consulting firm that performed lobbying services for French company Alstom, which won contracts to build metro cars for the project, and only later regained control of that firm.
Medgyessy also defended Demszky, saying, “I can’t imagine how Gábor Demszky would have had anything to do with possible corruption.” However, upon his resignation in 2004, Medgyessy was quoted as saying that Demszky’s SZDSZ party “was full of corruption cases,” but assured the economics committee that he had only made the comments “in my upset, nervous state” and that he doesn’t remember any kind of corruption from his two years as prime minister.