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Minister of Justice law firm clients do business with government

Minister of Justice László Trócsányi

Minister of Justice László Trócsányi’s law firm represents Erste Bank Hungary Ltd. in a lawsuit over a foreign currency-based car loan, Hungarian conservative daily and news site Magyar Nemzet reports.

The situation is interesting in light of the fact that Trócsányi was responsible for the adopted bill that regulates foreign-currency debtors. Although he has suspended his legal practice, his senior advisor, Tibor Bogdán, is an active practicing lawyer of the Nagy and Trócsányi Law Firm and occasionally appears at government meetings.

Lawyers familiar with foreign-currency loan lawsuits voiced their objections before the adoption of the law but were disregarded. President of the Hungarian Judicial Association Lajos Makai earlier told Magyar Nemzet that the adopted legislative package favors banks against debtors, stressing that as the laws are not “debtor-friendly”, their implementation cannot be either.

This is not the first controversial mandate of the Nagy and Trócsányi Law Firm. Magyar Nemzet revealed that Trócsányi’s law firm also represents the French, German, Austrian consortium Bamco, responsible for tunnel drilling duties on the M4 metro line, in a number of compensation lawsuits against the Budapest Transport Company (BKV) and ultimately the Hungarian state. According to Magyar Nemzet’s information, the majority of the lawsuits were filed after Trócsányi’s appointment as Minister of Justice, which means that his law firm was litigating for state compensation while he was already a member of the government.

Furthermore, Trócsányi was among those who negotiated with European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) director-general Giovanni Kessler in February about the corruption and anomalies that surfaced in connection with the construction of M4. While the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry for National Economy boasted in a joint statement that OLAF’s effective effort “revealed one of the biggest corruption scandals of all time to Hungarian authorities”, the OLAF report revealed that deadlines and costs cited in the compensation lawsuit by the Bamco consortium were highly exaggerated. According to the report, of the 126 weeks of delay for which the contractor is seeking damages, BKV was responsible for only 35 weeks. The rest of the delay was solely Bamco’s fault, the report states.

Despite these dubious cases, Trócsányi still enjoys the government’s trust. Minister Overseeing the Prime Minister’s Office János Lázár defended Trócsányi in April, saying “the country should be glad that it has such a fine minister.”

 

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