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Prosecutor General Polt’s daughter hired at MNB

Prosecutor General Péter Polt (pictured left) having lunch with National Bank of Hungary governor György Matolcsy in March 2016, right around the time Polt should have been investigating Matolcsy.

It’s good to be a family member of Hungary’s Prosecutor General Péter Polt. His wife, Marianna Polt-Palásthy, is the director of human resources at the National Bank of Hungary (MNB), and his daughter, Petra Polt, just landed a job in the MNB’s legal department.

According to 24.hu, the 24-year-old Petra Polt is not a blood relative of Péter Polt’s third wife, Marianna Polt-Palásthy — Petra was born of Polt’s previous marriage. Regardless, the two women are related.

As the director of human resources, Marianna must surely have known that her husband’s daughter had been hired to the MNB.

“[Petra] got the job in the MNB’s legal department following a general hiring procedure,” the MNB told 24.hu, adding that there was no conflict of interest in the director of human resources hiring her stepdaughter.

24.hu reports that this might be Petra’s first legal job after graduating from law school. Born in 1993, she has been employed by the MNB since January 1, 2017. According to 24.hu’s research, it is very likely that Petra graduated right before being hired to the MNB.

Her stepmother is tied in receiving the second-highest salary at the MNB — some HUF 4.95 million (USD 18,000) per month.

But that isn’t Marianna Polt-Palásthy’s only job: she is also a member of the supervisory board for two of the controversially created foundation’s endowed by the MNB.

Polt, Matolcsy and the MNB foundations

In 2014, the MNB – by then already under the control of longtime Fidesz politician György Matolcsy – founded and endowed six private foundations with the equivalent of some USD 900 million in public funds.

In 2016, Fidesz tried to suppress any news of how the foundations actually operated by adopting a secrecy bill to prevent the information from becoming public. But the law was so brazen it didn’t even make it past President János Áder and the Constitutional Court. Ultimately, the MNB was forced to release the information.

In addition to using the foundations to give jobs to senior MNB employees and individuals close to Fidesz, the foundations were treated as a sort of project donor piggy-bank for individuals with close ties to the government. Furthermore, one of the foundations was used to purchase state debt securities, something the European Central Bank was very critical of, arguing it amounted to a state purchasing its own securities.

Several criminal complaints were filed in connection with the MNB and its foundations, but no charges were ever filed by Péter Polt’s prosecutor’s office. The fact that the prosecutor general’s wife is a ranking official at the MNB and sits on the supervisory board of two of the MNB foundations suggests nepotism and a lack of judicial independence.

And now Polt’s wife just hired his daughter to work in the MNB’s legal department.


Benjamin Novak :