Online business daily Napi.hu has released its annual list of Hungary’s richest people.
Lőrinc Mészáros (pictured left), a rags-to-riches businessman who is a personal friend of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (pictured right), has now made it to the “Top 5”, jumping from 31st place in 2016 to number 5 in 2017. According to napi.hu, Mészáros’ wealth increased by about HUF 100 billion (USD 350 million) over the past year.
Lorenzo de’ Mészáros
According to Magyar Nemzet, Mészáros’ business empire expanded last year to include a hotel chain, a publishing house, individual hotels, and a television station, but he also found time to expand his existing interests in agriculture, tourism, real estate, and construction.
The state played an important role in Mészáros’ wild success in 2016: RTL Klub reports that business consortia connected to him won some HUF 225 billion in public procurements last year.
By contrast, oligarch-in-exile Lajos Simicska’s wealth decreased by HUF 3 billion over the past year, putting him at 11th place on the list.
Government film commissioner and casino magnate Andy Vajna managed to increase his wealth by HUF 16 billion over the last year, bringing him up to 14th place after Hungary’s Ministry of National Economy granted his casino businesses (which are owned by a Luxembourg-based holding company) exclusive rights to operate casinos in Budapest and Pest county until 2024.