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Jobbik files criminal complaint over MVM’s HUF 508 million donation to CÖF

Board of CÖF | Photo: Index.hu/János Bődey

Jobbik is filing a criminal complaint because Magyar Villamos Művek (MVM), Hungary’s state-owned electric company, refuses to provide an explanation as to why it decided to gift some HUF 508 million (USD 1.9 million) to the Civil Unity Forum (CÖF), a largely government-funded, pro-Fidesz NGO, at the end of 2016.

The amount exceeds the HUF 476 million of state funding received by Jobbik, Hungary’s largest opposition party, in 2016.

Hungary’s data protection and freedom of information ombudsman reportedly ordered MVM to release information related to the financial transfer on grounds that the funds constitute public funds.

CÖF is well-known for campaigning on behalf of Fidesz and organizing events to promote the government’s position on key political issues. Its spokespersons are frequently cited in Hungary’s state-run and pro-government media as leading authorities on civil society, law, and democracy-related issues.

Speaking at a press conference over the weekend, Jobbik MP István Szávay said that funds received from the state company were used to campaign against opposition parties. If true it would mean the energy giant engaged in restricted party financing and embezzlement, according to Szávay.

Hungary’s fragmented political opposition relies almost entirely on state funding, which, in 2016, amounted to the following:

  • Jobbik: HUF 476 million,
  • MSZP: HUF 427 million,
  • LMP: HUF 174 million,
  • Együtt: HUF 134 million,
  • DK: HUF 132 million,
  • Párbeszéd: HUF 107 million, and
  • MLP: HUF 71 million.
Benjamin Novak :