Home > Uncategorized > The case against Ferenc Gyurcsány: A total failure

The case against Ferenc Gyurcsány: A total failure

July 20, 2012

I have been collecting information on this investigation for two and a half years. The first article I saved was from a green site that gleefully announced that András Schiffer, one of the leaders of the newly formed LMP, a green party, had demanded an investigation into the role of Ferenc Gyurcsány in the aborted mega-investment of a casino/hotel/wellness center at Lake Velence. He charged that the government broke the law when it didn’t inform the public of the details of the project. The party claimed that “the investors in the project practically dictated the terms to the former and present prime ministers.” The two prime ministers in question were Ferenc Gyurcsány and Gordon Bajnai. As it turned out, none of these accusations had any basis.

For quite a while nothing happened. But after the 2010 elections the new government was in a great hurry to pursue András Schiffer’s charges, however flimsy they seemed. Gyurcsány in his blog on the MSZP’s website wrote in June 2010: “The boys are making threats, but why are they only talking about charging me? Go ahead and do it.” However, months went by before the prosecutors moved. It was only in late April 2011 that they were ready to question Gyurcsány and that they asked for the suspension of his parliamentary immunity. The prosecutors decided that there was “well founded suspicion of a breach of fiduciary duties.” What else?

András Schiffer, whom I consider one of the evil spirits of Hungarian politics, was delighted. He was looking forward to more investigations that would unravel all the dubious cases of the MSZP-SZDSZ period. He didn’t change his mind even after Miklós Tátrai and Zsolt Császy, the two officials of the government office that handled state properties, clearly stated that Gyurcsány in no way had tried to influence them in their handling of the investment at Lake Velence. No wonder that an opinion piece on an MSZP site inquired whether Schiffer could sleep well when in fact he had become “the latent ally of Viktor Orbán” and an assistant of political forces with not the most honorable of intentions. He was labelled a politician unacceptable to the democratic forces and “an impediment to democratic collaboration.”

After some hesitation Ferenc Gyurcsány’s parliamentary immunity was suspended, but before the vote he delivered a speech that I translated  in its entirety. It was a passionate speech delivered without notes, as is his wont. Anyone who’s interested in the foreign reaction to the decision of the parliamentary majority can read a summary of the general outcry collected by MTI. As for the government reaction, it was interesting to hear Bence Rétvári, undersecretary in the Ministry of Administration and Justice, who in a speech about Hungary in the future casually mentioned that “although we don’t know exactly where we will be in thirty years, we do hope that people will talk about Ferenc Gyurcsány as somebody who was just let out of jail.” This “joke” was received with hearty laughter from the audience.

As for the evidence, it seemed awfully slim, but the spokesman for the prosecutor’s office talked about the abundance of facts at their disposal that he refused to share with either the accused or the public. At the end of investigation, he said, they will come out with the big gun. That was in October 2011. I’m sure that the prosecutors were working furiously, but came April 7, 2012, the deadline for closing the case, and the prosecution was not ready. They extended the deadline, with a decision expected in early June. At this point one of the chief prosecutors handling the case indicated that perhaps not all of the nine who were accused would actually be charged, although they managed to pile up 40,000 pages of documents relating to the case. Then came the second deadline and there was still silence. It was becoming obvious that the case against Gyurcsány was not going well.

In early July it became known that the four investors in the King’s City project all swore that Ferenc Gyurcsány didn’t pressure the officials in charge of the land swap to do anything illegal. Moreover, it turned out that the prosecutors offered a deal to the accused officials,  Tátrai and Császy, if they would implicate the former prime minister. They refused.

Today at last we learned that the case against Gyurcsány was dropped. The prosecution maintains that their suspicion was well founded, but there wasn’t enough evidence to bring charges against him. Well, I will leave an analysis of this announcement to another day. Gyurcsány, I’m sure, is relieved although he claims that he was all set and ready to face charges and to have an opportunity to turn the tables on Viktor Orbán and his men in the prosecutors’ office. He would have enjoyed it. He is sure that his enemies would have regretted every day of the trial if  they had decided to proceed against him. He would have been their accuser.

The commentators as usual are divided on an assessment of this new development. There are those who think that it is a welcome event for Gyurcsány who now can devote all his energies to political activities. They claim that this new situation will allow him to move from a defensive position to an offensive one. At the same time there are those who think that Gyurcsány can no longer claim the status of a victim who should deserve sympathy, which will be a drawback for him. I can’t agree with the latter analysts. Gyurcsány’s popularity is not exactly off the charts. Viktor Orbán made sure of that. On the other hand, if Gyurcsány gets angry enough he can be lethal. And he is popping mad at the moment.

As for Viktor Orbán, I’m pretty sure that he is not a happy man today. Schiffer’s charges came in so handy and now here he is, yet again unable to finish off his nemesis once and for all.

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  1. Petofi1
    July 20, 2012 at 6:06 pm | #1

    A total failure?
    I think not.
    In Orbanistan, you cast aspersions, you blacken the name. When no evidence is found; when witnesses denounce a government offer to implicate Gyurcsany, you (the prosecutor’s office)
    reluctantly go on record saying that the charges have been dropped…not because the person is innocent, but because there isn’t enough proof. The government as upholders of law and justice! In a legitimate society, there would have to have been an apology at the very least.
    Not in Hungaristan. No, there you keep the shadow accusations intact. At the very least, you succeed in sowing doubt in the mind of people.

    This is what passes for legitimacy in the Orban world.

    And so, in the light of such behaviour, why on god’s green earth would any Hungarian doubt
    why the IMF will not give un-monitored loans to Viktor & Hungary?

  2. Kingfisher
    July 20, 2012 at 6:10 pm | #2

    Rather remarkably, you fail to mention that four people, including Tátrai and Császy, ARE being prosecuted. So if we accept that the judiciary still has integrity, proof being that they have weighed the evidence and decided Gyurcsány has no objective case to answer, these same people do believe that a crime HAS been committed. So I’m not sure Schiffer deserves to be excoriated.

    I’m a cynic and I long predicted this, because I know for a fact that Gyurcsány’s government was involved in some very cynical and corrupt horse trading with Orbán, Simicska and Járai, when eliciting bribes from a foreign company that wanted to be involved in healthcare, so I always felt that Orbán and Gyurcsány have too much dirt on each other for a prosecution to ever go ahead. And so it has proven.

  3. Petofi1
    July 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm | #3

    Kingfisher :
    Rather remarkably, you fail to mention that four people, including Tátrai and Császy, ARE being prosecuted. So if we accept that the judiciary still has integrity, proof being that they have weighed the evidence and decided Gyurcsány has no objective case to answer, these same people do believe that a crime HAS been committed. So I’m not sure Schiffer deserves to be excoriated.
    I’m a cynic and I long predicted this, because I know for a fact that Gyurcsány’s government was involved in some very cynical and corrupt horse trading with Orbán, Simicska and Járai, when eliciting bribes from a foreign company that wanted to be involved in healthcare, so I always felt that Orbán and Gyurcsány have too much dirt on each other for a prosecution to ever go ahead. And so it has proven.

    I notice that you write “Gyurcsany’s government” and not Gyurcsany himself. You went on from there to “Orban and Gyurcsany….” and the dirt they have on one another. This doesn’t follow. It is sly and it is dishonest.

    I have long thought that Gyurcsany was back-stabbed by members of his own party precisely because he stood in the way on fraudulent activity. I have no proof, but in 60 plus years of existence I’ve found that a guilty party can claim innocence but one of the hardest
    things to counterfeit is righteous indignation.

  4. July 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm | #4

    Kingfisher :
    Rather remarkably, you fail to mention that four people, including Tátrai and Császy, ARE being prosecuted. …. these same people do believe that a crime HAS been committed. So I’m not sure Schiffer deserves to be excoriated.

    Remarkable logic. The “same people” also believed that Gyurcsany was guilty … and the same people, lead by Gyula Budai (FIDESZ MP), also believed in a lot of other things as the series of lost libel suites seem to prove it.

    But the appraisals were way off – that needs explanation. I’m wondering again what happens when no case of bribery will be proven – no personal gain for the accused. Will they be still guilty or just simply incompetent. Because incompetence is NOT a crime, you just have to be removed from your position.

  5. boldog-tegnap-ma-holnap
    July 20, 2012 at 9:35 pm | #5

    Our nation is wounded. The people carry enormous pain. The memories are rooted in the past.

    On one morning everybody will wake up with an erased memory, and the era of cooperation can start.

    The last decision on the forced retirement of the judges pointed into the right direction.

    The same is true for dropping the charges against Feri Gyurcsany.

    The ultra-corrupted can now be tracked, and their fortunes could be nationalized, to create a new start.

    Even Gyurcsany should be stripped of his suspicious wealth.

    All Hungarians should start with 40 New Forints, and hope for an economical wonder.

  6. July 20, 2012 at 9:40 pm | #6

    boldog-tegnap-ma-holnap :
    The memories are rooted in the past.

    Thanks, Yoda!

  7. petofi
    July 20, 2012 at 9:54 pm | #7

    Mutt Damon :

    boldog-tegnap-ma-holnap :

    The memories are rooted in the past.

    Thanks, Yoda!

    `’Memories are rooted in the past…”–Are you sure about that?

  8. Dubious
    July 21, 2012 at 3:59 am | #8

    Kingfisher :
    Rather remarkably, you fail to mention that four people, including Tátrai and Császy, ARE being prosecuted. So if we accept that the judiciary still has integrity, proof being that they have weighed the evidence and decided Gyurcsány has no objective case to answer, these same people do believe that a crime HAS been committed. So I’m not sure Schiffer deserves to be excoriated.

    Schiffer went specifically after Gyurcsány.

    It was not a general call that a crime may have been committed by civil servants and should be investigated. It was just throwing the mud of corruption on someone with absolutely no evidence. That’s why Schiffer deserves to be excoriated.

  9. Varig
    July 21, 2012 at 4:58 am | #9

    It is time that guyla budai and those who gave him the mandat will pay big sums.
    It is clear now that the large casino project terminated by Orbsn victor was terminated for a wrongful arguments and that someone in the goverment had other agenda.

  10. July 21, 2012 at 7:20 am | #10

    Varig :

    It is time that guyla budai and those who gave him the mandat will pay big sums.
    It is clear now that the large casino project terminated by Orbsn victor was terminated for a wrongful arguments and that someone in the goverment had other agenda.

    Sure thing. Viktor Orbán in opposition did everything in his power to obstruct all investment projects. Or just delay them. And they accuse the socialists of unpatriotic, anti-Hungarian behavior. A couple of examples, the factory in Gyöngyös by the Indians was torpedoed. Or think of the Alstom metro cars which didn’t have good enough brakes. Two years later the brakes suddenly were fine and Tarlós could stand there beaming as the first Alstom car makes its first run.

    Shameful behavior and very unpatriotic. He cares nothing about anything else but the success of himself and his party.

  11. July 21, 2012 at 7:28 am | #11

    Schiffer went specifically after Gyurcsány.

    It was not a general call that a crime may have been committed by civil servants and should be investigated. It was just throwing the mud of corruption on someone with absolutely no evidence. That’s why Schiffer deserves to be excoriated.

    Schiffer played a shameful part in this dirty business. His current political activities are also more than questionable and if his friends in the party don’t wake up and get rid of him LMP will be blamed for Viktor Orbán’s victory in 2014. Ipsos already reported yesterday a fairly big drop in LMP support in the total population. It stands at the moment at 4%.

  12. soha-nem-kesereg
    July 21, 2012 at 7:44 am | #12

    We all can end our own misery, to have more time to end the suffering of our fellow Hungarians.

    Let us unite for this cause.

    The Orbans, Kovers, Vonas, Gyurcsanys are part of the Hungarian fate.

    We have to make an effort to rehabilitate them by injecting the right attitude into the citizens to expect decency from their leaders. The decency of the citizens is the key for a good nations.

    Is this important to us?

    Gyurcsany admitted in a Gimes interview that he began to feel his liberalism by looking at a statue of Imre Nagy in his office. The liberalism of Gyurcsany is a good beginning. Let us shape a new future for the nation on it.

  13. petofi
    July 21, 2012 at 9:49 am | #13

    On an aside, I’ve just read a poker article on Andras Koroknai, the Hungarian poker player who has advanced to the last nine in the biggest poker tournament of the year. (First prize
    in 8.5 million dollars.) Previously, in 2010, he won a tournament in Los Angeles where his
    translated comments were, typically, laced with Hungarian obscenities (“basd meg”). Since then, he’s seen the light. Now, during the interview, when asked what he ascribed his recent success to, he answered through a translator that, “…he had been inspired by
    Matolcsy’s “egy kulcsos ado”…

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