András Tombor incorporated a business this month under the name Mandiner Press, reports Átlátszó.hu. The name of the new business suggests Tombor may be preparing to purchase the struggling “conservative” news outlet Mandiner.hu.
Who is Mr Tombor? The businessman’s ties to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán go back to at least the first Orbán government (1998-2002), when Tombor was Orbán’s chief adviser. Since then, Tombor has been quite active in the business world, specifically the scandal-ridden business world that revolves around politics in Hungary.
Mandiner has had a tough few years, struggling to gain readership while racking up losses and arrears to the tax authority.
Átlátszó asked Mandiner’s managing director, Gábor Gerényi, about a possible transfer of ownership but Gerényi refused to comment.
Mandiner.hu is owned by Mandiner Kft., which, according to Hungary’s corporate registry, is owned by Gellért Rajcsányi, Gábor Juhász, Ákos Gergely Balogh and Fruzsina Skrabski.
Rajcsányi is editor-in-chief of the site, having taken over after Ákos Gergely Balogh left to become the communications director at Corvinus University. Balogh also maintained orbanviktor.hu and a number of municipal websites. He joined Corvinus University right around the time former Századvég think-tank president András Lánczi was made rector of the university.
In September, Forbes Hungary published a lengthy investigative piece detailing how companies owned by Tombor managed to siphon away EU funds designated for the development of venture capital projects in rural Hungary.