Magyar Nemzet reports that Fidesz MP and Ministry of National Development undersecretary Zsolt Szabó (pictured) and his wife serve as directors of Joy World Enterprise Limited, an offshore company. The daily says Szabó is regarded as something of a strongman for Fidesz in Heves county. Earlier reports indicated Szabó was in the habit of distributing municipal development funds to local mayors loyal to him.
Per Magyar Nemzet:
- The company was incorporated on June 10, 2013.
- There is $4,865,511.25 parked on the company’s bank account in Belize.
- Neither the company nor Szabó’s role in it appear in Szabó’s parliamentary declaration of assets.
“The accusations made against me today in the press, which state that I am the owner or director of an offshore company that has this much cash, are false. This is part of a campaign to tarnish my reputation that is being executed by Lajos Simicska and his party, Jobbik,” Szabó wrote on his Facebook page, adding that he would file a complaint with authorities concerning the accusations and the media outlets who name him in connection with them.
News of Szabó’s alleged relationship with the almost $5 million parked in Belize is the latest in a series of articles by Magyar Nemzet that have disclosed damaging information about Fidesz politicians. These articles typically do not name a specific journalist in the byline. Magyar Nemzet is owned by oligarch-in-exile Lajos Simicska, whose very public falling out with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in 2015 was allegedly precipitated by Simicska’s concern that Orbán was getting too cozy with the Russians. In mid-March, Hungarian investigative journalism NGO Direkt36 published this lengthy exposé of Orbán’s relationship with the Russians.