The trial of former Quaestor Financial Consulting Zrt. CEO Csaba Tarsoly and that of ten former associates will resume at the end of January, reports pro-government broadsheet Magyar Idők. According to the print daily, in addition to being tried for criminal conspiracy, Tarsoly is being sued by his former company for HUF 16 billion (USD 62 million) for allegedly failing to protect the interests of Quaestor’s creditors in the days and weeks leading up to the brokerage’s collapse in March 2015.
The pro-government daily writes that:
“The scandal exploded in 2015 when an inspection of the money markets by the Hungarian National Bank found among other things that of HUF 210 billion worth of securities issued by Quaestor Securities Zrt., HUF 150 billion had been fictive,” that is, counterfeited.
However, this account of events has been disputed by various experts. Former Finance Minister and Movement for a Modern Hungary founder Lajos Bokros disputes the claim that Quaestor had issued “fictive” securities, pointing out that the securities were electronic in nature and as such had been approved by the appropriate financial authorities.
Authorities have accused Tarsoly and ten associates of criminal conspiracy to commit embezzlement and fraud of an especially large amount. According to the pro-government broadsheet, an average of three hearings a week were held at the Budapest Court in 2017 on Quaestor-related cases, and that characteristic of the complicated nature of the case is the fact that the investigation runs to some 130,000 pages and 5 terabytes of digital data.
In addition to the aforementioned criminal and civil lawsuits, criminal proceedings are under way in connection with the Quaestor group’s activities, according to the print daily. The National Investigator’s Office is investigating the group for money laundering although it has yet to implicate anyone in particular. The group’s fund manager is being investigated for embezzlement in connection with the collapse of Soltvadkert Savings Cooperative (Soltvadkert és Vidéke Takarékszövetkezet).
Unclear at this time is the role various ministries and other state institutions may have played in Hungary’s biggest financial scandal to date.