According to RTL Klub, businesses tied to Lőrinc Mészáros, the pipe-fitter turned billionaire jack-of-all-trades who many believe to be Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s strawman, won public tenders totaling HUF 225 billion (USD 763 million) in 2016.
HUF 140 billion of contracts were awarded to Mészáros és Mészáros Kft., his flagship company, either alone or as part of a consortium.
His railroad construction and repair company, R-Kord Kft., was awarded public contracts totaling HUF 76 billion, either alone or as part of a consortium.
Fejér B.Á.L. Zrt., a construction company owned by Mészáros’s children, was part of a consortium that was awarded a HUF 8.5 billion contract.
Vivienvíz Kft., Mészáros’ bottled water company, concluded a HUF 486 million contract to provide water for employees of Hungary’s state-owned railway company (MÁV).
According to the Hungarian edition of Forbes Magazine, Mészáros (pictured right) – at least on paper – is the 28th-richest person in the country with a net worth of some HUF 35.4 billion. His rags-to-riches story is made even sweeter by the fact that he wasn’t even on the list three years ago.
“… That I have gotten so far is certainly thanks to God, luck and Viktor Orbán [pictured left],” Mészáros told pro-government weekly Heti Válasz in 2014. “I was never involved in privatization, I never stole anything, and I obtained everything with my mind and hard work.”