Szilárd Kiss and two others formally charged with bribery

April 28, 2015

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District of Kecskemét prosecutors office has filed bribery charges against savings cooperative executive Imre G., Nyíregyháza-based businessman Gyula Sz. and former agriculture attaché to Hungary’s Moscow embassy Szilárd Kiss,  reports Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet.

Kiss was arrested on January 15th. His name is tied to numerous scandals involving the sale of visas to Russian citizens, owning a Russian company with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s friend Lőrinc Meszáros, and receiving large loans (that he never repaid) from a now-defunct Hungarian savings cooperative. Kiss’ role as a businessman is shrouded in secrecy. He was reportedly appointed agriculture attaché to Hungary’s Moscow embassy by Hungary’s Minister for Rural Development Sándor Fazekas. Fazekas denied appointing Kiss to the post when it turned out that even Russian law enforcement agencies started investigating him.

The bribery charges against Kiss stem from a loan one of his companies received in 2010. Apparently, Kiss’ company received a loan for HUF 500 million from a savings cooperative, a loan secured with HUF 1.2 billion (USD 4.4 million) in assets that belonged to Kiss. As time passed, Kiss was unable to make payments on the loan which, by 2012, ballooned to HUF 600 million.

The savings cooperative then sold the debt to another savings cooperative for collection. When Kiss found out, he convinced Gyula Sz. to purchase the bad debt at below market value. According to the purchase agreement, Gyula Sz. purchased the bad debt from the savings cooperative for EUR 335,000 (HUF 100 million), promising a bribe of EUR 135,000 to the president of the savings cooperative in exchange for not trying to collect on the remaining balance of bad debt by going after assets belonging to Kiss.

Essentially, what happened was that instead of collecting on the full balance of the debt, the savings cooperative settled Kiss’ debt for well below what it could have had it gone after his assets.

According to prosecutors, Imre G. is being charged with accepting a bribe. Gyula Sz. and Szilárd Kiss have been charged with making a bribe.

Referenced in this article:

Vesztegetés a vád Kiss Szilárddal szemben, Index.hu; 28 April 2015.