Budapest police have lost evidence that would have otherwise been used in both criminal and defamation cases. This suspicious loss of evidence opens yet another chapter in the war between the former Fidesz mayor of Budapest’s District V, Antal Rogán, and district councilman Péter Juhász, deputy chairman of opposition party Együtt (Together).
This story goes back to when Juhász uncovered scores of unscrupulous real estate transactions between the district and private individuals under Rogán’s mayorship. District V’s municipal government, one of the richest in Hungary, systematically sold municipally owned properties to private individuals for substantially below fair market value.
Juhász blew the issue up and turned the district’s shady dealings into a national story, even revealing that prime district-owned real estate had been sold to companies owned by known criminals or their immediate associates. Rogán, now Minister in charge of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office, fired back by saying that all these transactions were done in accordance with local and national laws.
Juhász took to the airwaves (those that would have him) giving interviews and issuing statements related to his findings which showed that “Rogán did business with criminals.”
Eventually, the police opened a criminal investigation into the accusations. Rogán, meanwhile, sued Juhász for defamation (along with virtually all media outlets that published Juhász’s statements).
The criminal investigation has not closed. Juhász’s position in the defamation case has been for the court to review the evidence from the unfinished criminal investigation. According to Juhász, the evidence would speak for itself.
Unfortunately for him, the evidence (a CD with details of some 800 real estate transactions by the district) was destroyed while in policy custody. It is not known whether the anti-corruption politician retained a copy of the files for himself.