Viktor Orbán, the modest citizen

February 1, 2018

Source: Facebook/Orbán Viktor

According to his annual asset declaration, as of the end of 2017 Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had savings of HUF 993,000 (USD 3,980) and total personal debt of HUF 4.7 million (USD 18,850), reports index.hu.

January 31st is the deadline for Hungarian MPs to file their personal asset declarations. Intended as a check on corruption, like many other democratic institutions in Hungary, the significance of the asset declaration has sharply declined since Fidesz came to power in 2010. In fact, the spectacular enrichment of members of the Fidesz elite thanks entirely to their political connections has made the declarations something of a joke.

Orbán, who cultivates an image of himself as a modest and ordinary person disinterested in matters of business, states in his wealth declaration that in 2017, he and his wife managed to increase their joint savings from HUF 742,000 (USD 2,975) to HUF 993,000 (USD 3,980). The Prime Minister also managed to repay a portion of the mortgage on his family house and now has a debt of HUF 4.7 million (USD 18,850) compared to last year’s HUF 5.9 million (USD 23,700). Orbán states that his only income are the salaries he receives as prime minister and a member of parliament.  According to the declaration, Orbán owns two properties: a 233-square-meter house on a 1544-square-meter lot in the 12th district of Budapest and a 63-sqm house on a 2079-sqm lot in his hometown of Felcsút.

In 2016, it was revealed that the Orbán family was residing not at their official place of residence, but rather at a luxury farmhouse on a 13-hectare farm in Hatvanpuszta near Felcsút. The official tenant of the property is none other than Lőrinc Mészáros. According to Mészáros, he decided to rent the property as a place to store machinery. But there is no heavy machinery on the property. The country estate was once part of a much larger property in the area that belonged to the Habsburg family but eventually became an asset of CZG Ingatlanforgalmazó Kft., a real estate company owned by the Prime Minister’s father, Orbán Győző. 444.hu once photographed the car of Orbán’s wife on the premises of the farm. The Prime Minister refused to comment on his alleged connection to the farm.

State news agency MTI reports that, according to Orbán’s press chief Bertalan Havasi, the wealth declaration is “legal, comprehensive and valid,” and anybody who maintains otherwise is “lying.”