Information obtained by Russian agents in France about an offer made by French nuclear power plant builder Areva induced Russia to offer Hungary a EUR 10 billion Paks loan as an inducement to contract with the Russian Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom), writes 444.hu. “The really troubling part” of the French weekly’s account is that the Kremlin reportedly made Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán “an offer he couldn’t refuse”, and the result was not only a deal with Rosatom but Hungary accepting a HUF 3 trillion (USD 12.8 billion) loan to cover its expenses.
444.hu’s conclusions are drawn from a long-form article about Russian intelligence activity in France’s governmental and business matters that appeared in Nouvel Observateur. Without naming Hungary or Orbán, the French weekly repeatedly refers to “a European country” over which Areva and Rosatom were in competition. All the details suggest the country in question is Hungary, writes 444.hu.
A few months after the January meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Orbán in Moscow, framework agreements were signed and approved by both countries’ parliaments. The texts of the actual agreements and the implementation plan have yet to be disclosed. The development of Paks atomic power plant was announced in mid-2012, when a Hungarian project company was established to commission environmental impact studies and explore financing possibilites. Companies touted as under consideration at that time included the French Areva, Japanese Mitsubishi, US Westinghouse and Russian Rosatom.
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