Közgép owner Lajos Simicska with Prime Minister Viktor Orban in 1999.
Index.hu reports that after winning five tenders totaling HUF 27 billion (USD 123 million) between 23 December and 26 December, a consortium led by Közgép subsidiary, Hidepito Special Kft., has just won a HUF 5 billion (USD 23 million) tender to plan and undertake flood protection improvements in the region of Komarom.
Until August Hidepito Special was partially owned by A-Hid Zrt. which has won billions of tenders as part of a Közgép consortium. Közgép acquired a majority interest in February 2013.
The project is to be realized with funds from the European Union’s Environmental and Energy Operative Program. A consortium of contractors led by Hidepito Special will be responsible for improving the security of floor protection, including preparing the necessary detailed plans and performing the work.
In 2012 it was revealed that Közép was actually owned by former Fidesz party economical director Lajos Simicska through various shell companies. Simicska served as head of the Hungarian tax authorities under the first Orban government until he resigned in the midst of scandal over the manipulation of electronic data and the sale of a number of companies close to Fidesz with substantial tax arrears to guest workers Kaya Ibrahim and Josip Tot (thereby making it virtually impossible for Hungarian tax authorities to collect back taxes).
While Fidesz was in opposition Simicska grew Közgép from annual revenues of just HUF 1.8 billion (USD 8.2 million) in 2002 to HUF 20 billion (USD 91 million) in 2008 and approaching HUF 40 billion (USD 182 million) in 2009. In 2010 and 2011 Közgép is reported to have directly won HUF 287.8 billion (US 1.3 billion) worth of public procurement tenders for total construction revenues exceeding HUF 680.5 billion (USD 3.4 billion).
When accused in May 2012 by then LMP MP Gergely Karacsony of promoting the interest of Hungarian oligarchs, Prime Minister Viktor Orban responded:
Hungary needs large Hungarian companies in the financial sector, the insurance sector, the building sector, the energy sector, the car manufacturing sector, the pharmaceutical sector, the food sector, in information technology, the hotel industry, as well as in every significant sector. Yes, we need highly capitalized, successful companies possessing many billions of forints. If not, then the foreigners will take everything in this country, and I am convinced, whether or not you are aware of this, than in reality when you speak against Hungarian capital, you are conducting labanc politics which I reject.
The labanc were Austrian troops loyal to the House of Hapsburg in the latter part of the 17th century, so-called for the wigs (lobonc) worn by Austrian soldiers.
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