Updated: Fraud Suspected Around Chain Bridge Revamp - Will Budapest Mayor Explain "Where Is All That Money?”

  • 18 Apr 2024 6:29 AM
  • Hungary Matters
Updated: Fraud Suspected Around Chain Bridge Revamp - Will Budapest Mayor Explain "Where Is All That Money?”
A recent report by the Government Control Office (KEHI) raises the suspicion of a “serious misuse” of funds concerning the renovation of Budapest’s Chain Bridge, a municipal project, Balázs Hidvéghi said.

Hidvéghi, the municipal election campaign chief of mayoral candidate Alexandra Szentkirályi, told a press conference that the city had dropped a deal negotiated with the previous leadership and awarded a contract to another company, which was 5.5 billion forints (EUR 14m) more expensive.

The agreement also authorised a payment to A-Híd, the contractor, to receive an advance fifty times higher than that in the earlier contract,” he added. During construction, A-Híd regularly transferred monies, amounting to a total 1.5 billion forints, to Sunstrike Hungary Ltd, the chief of which company, Mór Vig, is now in pre-trial detention, Hidvéghi said.

Those transfers, he suggested, were regularly followed by cash withdrawals.

“The legitimate question arises why a contract with limited scope cost more and why such a large amount of money needed to be transferred to Sunstrike Hungary … where is all that money?” Hidvéghi said and urged that Mayor Gergely Karácsony should provide an explanation.

Fidesz Lawmaker Files Criminal Report Over Chain Bridge Renovation

Ruling Fidesz lawmaker Gyula Budai said on Wednesday that he has filed a criminal report concerning the renovation of Budapest’s landmark Chain Bridge.

Budai said on Facebook he recently received a letter containing information that indicated graft in connection with the renovation project. He added that he submitted a criminal report to the National Bureau of Investigation including an allegation of public corruption. “I attached the letter … and asked the authority” to investigate, he said.

Gyulai said the tax office NAV has been conducting an investigation against lawyer Mór Vig and his partners concerning budget fraud.

“Press reports indicate that Mór Vig’s law firm received transfers of billions of forints from A-Híd Zrt, the company carrying out the Chain Bridge renovation project, and Mór Vig then forwarded the monies to a private account and the lawyer’s deposit account, of which 900 million forints [EUR 2.3m] was withdrawn in cash,” he added.

The recently published results of a KEHI investigation showed that A-Híd made several transfers totalling 1.5 billion forints to Vig’s company between November 2020 and January 2022, he said.

According to the letter, Vig regularly visited a security company’s office in the Mammut shopping mall in Budapest which had links with A-Híd.

​​​​​​​After settling accounts with the security company’s head, significant sums were transferred to the Budapest metropolitan council, Budai said.

MTI Photo: Zsolt Szigetváry


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