Company tied to Fidesz MP runs fast and loose with EU funds

December 20, 2017

Company tied to Fidesz MP is selling
Empty rabbit cages at the Bikács rabbit farm | Source: Ákos Hadházy

A company tied to Fidesz MP Gábor Varga offered “brand new never used” rabbit cages for sale allegedly purchased with EU funds in the amount of USD 151,600, reports Magyar Nemzet.

Politics Can Be Different (LMP) co-chair and corruption watchdog Ákos Hadházy revealed at his weekly “corruption info” (mirroring the government’s weekly press event “government info”) two months ago that relatives of Varga have an extensive network of companies that often successfully obtain EU funds. According to Hadházy, the Varga-tied network is financed based on a simple scheme in which one company of the network obtains the EU funds while another wins the public procurement contract based on which the funds can be spent.

Hadházy revealed that two of the Varga-tied companies have recently obtained HUF 40 million (USD 151,600) of EU funds each to build two rabbit farms in the Tolna county village of Bikács. The LMP co-chair visited the two sites and found empty rabbit cages and no trace of rabbit breeding.

Recently, Magyar Nemzet learned that Varga’s father-in-law, Gyula Koncz, who is the co-owner of one of the companies that won EU funds to build a rabbit farm, placed an advertisement on one of Hungary’s biggest second-hand online markets offering 60 “never used wooden rabbit houses” for HUF 127,000 (USD 480) each. The description also contains a bracketed part which states that “to avoid misunderstandings: the houses were not built from EU funds”.

Company tied to Fidesz MP is selling rabbit cages it had purchased with EU funds

Magyar Nemzet reporters posing as potential buyers contacted Koncz, who told them that he is selling the rabbit cages way below market prices because he does not want them to “rot there at the farm”. Koncz said the 60 never-used cages are capable of holding some 2000 rabbits and are actually not being sold by him as a private person but by Farm Energy Logistic Kft., another member of the Varga network.

The company is not unfamiliar to Varga since Farm Energy Logistic Kft., co-owned by Varga’s mother-in-law and sister-in-law, was previously awarded a HUF 26 million (USD 98,540) contract by the Cece Horse Riding Association presided over by Varga himself.

According to Magyar Nemzet, Farm Energy Logistic Kft. is partially owned by Breton Kft., which happens to also have a share in the Magyar Termés TÉSZ Kft. tied to Fidesz MP György Simonka. Based on a recent statement by Chief Prosecutor Péter Polt, the latter company caused HUF 973 million (USD 3.7 million) damage to the budgets of Hungary and the European Union and is under investigation by the Central Detective Chief on suspicion of budget fraud.