The rags-to-riches businessman with a penchant for winning lucrative EU-funded state contracts is believed by many to be Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s “straw man.”
The purchase further consolidates Orbán’s control of Hungarian state and commercial media.
In comments given to his own conservative print daily Magyar Hírlap, EchoTV owner Gábor Széles said he was only willing to sell the station to a Hungarian “whose values resemble mine” and that it was important the future owner and him “understand each other politically.”
Claiming to have met Mészáros on several occasions, Széles said he had a positive opinion. “I consider him a correct and modest person,” said Hungary’s fifth-richest person of Hungary’s twenty-eighth-richest person.
Széles volunteered that EchoTV required an investment of some HUF 1.5 billion (USD 4.5 million) in equipment, and the employees were due for a salary increase.
When asked why he sold, Széles said he wanted to concentrate on the future development of Hungarian bus company Ikarus.
(Doubtless Széles also wanted to avoid the plight of fellow oligarch Zoltán Spéder–ed.)