Minister of Human Resources Zoltán Balog has affirmed that, contrary to what undersecretary Tamás Köpeczi-Bócz told state prosecutors, he must have known that the foundation with ties to Fidesz MP Roland “Voldemort” Mengyi was being investigated for corruption, reports index.hu.
In response to a question about the Voldemort case posed by Socialist MP Tamás Harangozó, Balog said “I warned the undersecretary overseeing the area.”
Balog told state prosecutors that he ordered his chief of staff, Anikó Farkas, to deliver a letter she received from the National Tax and Customs Administration (NAV) informing him that it was investigating a criminal conspiracy to steal EU funds, to the undersecretary overseeing applications, Tamás Köpeczi-Bócz.
In her deposition, Farkas stated that she showed Köpeczi-Bócz the letter. Köpeczi-Bócz, however, insists that he did not see the letter and for this reason could not possibly have warned Mengyi that he was under investigation.
Despite the suspects testifying that somebody “higher up the chain” tipped them off, prosecutors subsequently dropped the investigation into Köpeczi-Bócz for lack of evidence as to his involvement.
Using the codename “Lord Voldemort” Mengyi allegedly solicited bribes totaling HUF 10 million (USD 32,000), promising to arrange for an application of hundreds of millions of forints in EU funds to be approved. Suspecting fraud, the ministry rejected the application and withdrew the public tender. Thereafter, NAV opened an investigation and had hoped to mount a sting operation in the summer of 2015. However, the sting was not authorized, though this did not prevent news of the investigation being leaked to the public.
Mengyi is to stand trial along with his alleged co-conspirators. He is accused of criminal conspiracy and of being an accomplice to the fraudulent use of central budgetary funds. He was only charged with attempting to commit a crime. Tipped off that he was the subject of an investigation and that his phone was wiretapped, Mengyi returned the alleged bribe before being formally accused of any wrongdoing.
The decision on the part of Hungarian prospectors to drop the investigation into the contradictory statements by Farkas and Köpeczi-Bócz is hardly understandable as, according to the indictment, Köpeczi-Bócz was Mengyi’s connection at the Ministry of Human Resources who should have helped him with the application.