Over the last four days the Hungarian media have been having a heyday with Péter Szijjártó’s real estate purchase in Dunakeszi, a town northeast of Budapest on the left bank of the Danube, right across from Szentendre Island. It was RTL Klub that broke the news that the young couple with two small children had just purchased a house for 167 million forints or $680,000. Just for comparison, the average Hungarian employee earns 2,850,000 forints a year. The news broke on the very day that Szijjártó was sworn in as foreign minister, but interest in his finances have been the subject of scrutiny before. It turned out that according to his most recent financial statement he saved more money in 2013 than he earned. Demokratikus Koalíció and Együtt-PM turned to the chairman of the parliamentary committee in charge of possible corruption cases among members of parliament and asked for an investigation. Since such efforts have failed earlier, György Rubovszky (KDNP), who by the way thinks that the Orbán administration’s mandate empowers it to introduce “the dictatorship of the majority,” will undoubtedly turn their request down. For Rubovszky, Szijjártó’s word is enough. And Szijjártó told him that the money came from investments.
In May Szijjártó had 82 million forints in addition to three houses he owned in Győr, his hometown; at Lake Balaton; and in Dunakeszi where he has been living since 2006, first as a bachelor and later with his wife. In 2011 the first child arrived and this year the second. That means that his wife’s only income in the last three years has been the child support every mother receives who decides to stay at home with the baby. The first Dunakeszi property, a duplex, was not cheap either. It cost 27.5 million forints. However, as we learned, in the last three years they have been thinking about moving because of the growing family. Well, they found their house. It is not exactly tiny: 700 m². It is a three-level house. The ground floor is 200 m² with a seven-meter cathedral ceiling. The house has a five-car garage with its own car-wash system. Naturally it has a swimming pool, which can be used even in winter because it is covered. It also has a fitness room with a jacuzzi and sauna. As far as the number of bathrooms is concerned, apparently it has currently three but, according to some accounts, the Szijjártós would like to have five.
The question is how Péter Szijjártó managed to buy this house when he did not take out a mortgage and he had only 82 million forints on hand in May when he purchased the house. Well, Szijjártó presented the public with two versions. The first was that he put in 80 million forints, his wife came up with 10 million, and so did her parents. His own parents gave him 33 million as a gift and lent him 34 million. A day later, he changed these figures. In the new version he paid out only 67 million forints while his parents lent him not 34 but 45 million. I guess the correction was necessary because if the young Szijjártós were left with only 2 million forints to their names he couldn’t explain how he is paying for the very extensive renovations that have been going on ever since May and will continue for several more months. Szijjártó hopes that perhaps by Christmas they will be able to move in.
The house, in my opinion, is hideous. The inside is no better, but I understand that the furniture does not come with the property, so perhaps there is hope. For more pictures of this monstrosity built for some Hungarian nouveau riche I suggest looking at the ad the real estate agent placed online in September 2013. It has about 20 photographs of the interior of the house. The original price was 189 million forints. So, just as Szijjártó said, it was a bargain. He managed to “save” 37 million forints.
This is not the first unusually rapid financial success of a Fidesz politician, including Szijjártó’s idol Viktor Orbán, who could never quite explain where the money came from for his family’s extensive landholdings and the purchase and enlargement of a house in a very elegant and expensive part of Buda. Or, there is Antal Rogán, whose several real estate purchases couldn’t possibly have been paid for out of his stated income. Perhaps the most mysterious story is that of Lőrinc Mészáros, the humble pipe fitter from Felcsút who in four years became a billionaire. All that while Viktor Orbán promised a “puritanic” and “plebeian” government.
Here, instead of playing detective, I would rather talk about the generosity of Szijjártó’s parents. His parents are very well-off people, and it looks as if ever since his late teens and early twenties they have been coddling him. He is perhaps even financially dependent on them. Here are a few facts. When Szijjártó was eighteen years old, his parents bought him a house in Győr. When he became a university student in Budapest, they bought him an apartment there. They were the ones who bought him the Dunakeszi house he and his wife currently live in. In that year, at the age of 28, he had three pieces of property and 43 million forints in savings. So, I am inclined to believe that the purchase of his new house was largely facilitated by Szijjártó’s parents.
Not long ago we talked about how Hungarian parents dote on their children, especially on their boys who as a result never really grow up and are completely dependent on their mothers and eventually on their wives. I remember that one of our commenters from Great Britain remarked that single Hungarian males are pretty hopeless as immigrants because they are unable to look after themselves. The situation in Szijjártó’s case is extreme because the parents seem to have more money than they know what to do with. The result? The man achieved almost nothing on his own. His early political career was made possible by his financial independence, while it was Viktor Orbán who elevated him to serve as his spokesman, most likely because he was flattered by young Szijjártó’s devotion. At the age of seventeen he decided that his goal in life was to serve the great man.
An article in gepnarancs.hu appeared today with the following title: “Why on earth are you envious of Szijjártó’s house in Dunakeszi?” After all, he was put into a position he knows nothing about. His boss managed to maneuver Hungary into a position of isolation. “Almost everybody hates us. Name me one country where Hungary is thought of with love and esteem. There is not one but, don’t worry, the Szijjártó family will take care of it.” Or, what about an editorial by Gábor Horváth of Népszabadság who is convinced that it is totally irrelevant who the next minister of foreign affairs of Hungary is? “Old or young, an expert or a bungler, a moderate or a hawk, a diplomat with a distinguished career or a spineless official from the ministry of justice, or, as it is from here on, a football player with gelled hair…. According to a historical anecdote, Caligula wanted to appoint his horse consul. The noble animal was called Incitatus and surely it was an excellent horse. But isn’t it all the same?”
“According to a historical anecdote, Caligula(“little soldier’s boot”) wanted to appoint his horse consul….But isn’t it all the same?”
Simply, yes. Only he also initiated some good public projects and reforms apart from enriching himself. Péter Szijjártó isn’t in the same class, even if his parents are rich enough.
BTW, Caligula was the first Roman Emperor to be assassinated…
His house is no more hideous than many I have seen. In fact, in the XII. district I know only one new house that would fit Western aesthetical standards.
This entire story of this house does not make sense. First, the acquisition value HUF 167 million, originally offered for HUF 198 million (saving HUF 31 million). Renovation (only) HUF 15 million. The latter deducted HUF 82 million minus HUF 67 million.
And what about the illetek ado (transfer tax of 7 to 10%) of the acquisition value. This must be between the HUF 10 to HUF 15 million. Monthly maintenance must be at least HUF 500,000 (heating alone must cost a fortune). How can he pay for this from Minister’s salary?
The average Hungarian earning approximately HUF 3,000,000 is a gross salary. This is not netto salary. Deduction from taxes and pension premiums is at least 25%.
Absolutely not relevant, but I notice that the advertisement gave a wrong street. Balogh János utca. It is actually the corner of Jánek Géza utca and Gutai János utca a few blocks away. On google maps you find the property as it is blurred white. I do not know if this is on purpose.
Once again we must ask: what is the value of an axe-murderer on the open market?
(Oh the shame of it. Hungarians won’t live this government down for 100 years!)
I am inclined to think too that Szijjarto’s parents helped a lot. The question then is how his parents make their money?
It’s very simple.
Szijjarto dad is the Simicska – Mészáros of Győr. The Szijjarto family is a vehicle for party finance according to a lot of people.
This vicious criticism is totally unwarranted.
After thoroughly shopping around for a year, this house presented the best value for money. It was a rational decision, a no brainer really. What can’t you understand about this?
Miserable serfs envious of real achievement…That’s Hungary in 2014, very sad.
Peter should be a hero to all of us, he started out as a humble student with the bencések and through hard work he became the most trusted man of our leader, Viktor Orban.
And instead he is mocked and lynched by the liberal media. And people say there is no media freedom.
The bolsheviks apparently want to ignite class warfare, but they won’t succeed, I can tell you that much.
GFG, the only class warfare being ignited is the one between kleptocratic FIdesz insiders and ordinary, hard-working Hungarian citizens. There is simply no way that a man of this young age or even his father, working on their own public service salaries, could buy a house like this, unless they are on the take or otherwise taking unfair advantage of their positions. And that unfair advantage is not an affront to “liberals” or “bolsheviks” in particular, it is an affront to every Hungarian, down to the most conservative, most nationalist soul in the country because every unfair, abusive, or illegal act by a public official is a betrayal of national interests, first of which is equal treatment under the law.
Elected officials in democracies are servants of the people and there is no greater honor in a democracy that to be elected by the people and to serve them. But for that honor they are expected to sacrifice (if only temporarily) more lucrative careers in the private economy and are held to the highest standards of accountability, which means transparency in their public and financial affairs, legislative and judicial oversight of those affairs, the investigative oversight of the free press and, ultimately, oversight by the people in the form of an election, in which the official may be re-elected or politely sent back to his or her place among the citizenry. Unfortunately, we now have to question whether the Hungarian people are truly able to exercise this oversight, as judiciary, legislature, and most of the press are unwilling to exercise their rights. And here you are, instead of attempting to find answers to the questions posed here, decide to attack the media as “liberals” or “bolsheviks” when in fact, they are simply decent Hungarian citizens exercising their rights to help make Hungary a more vital state by making certain that its civil servants are operating within the rule of law and in the best interests of the entire people.
@Minusio, I think Horváth meant the horse and not Caligula.
Read GW’s comment so many times that you know it by heart.
Every word is true.
Reblogged this on hungarywolf.
“It was RTL Klub that broke the news…..”
Two mistakes the regime made were trying to destroy the NGO-charity sector and trying to close down RTL.
Completely unnecessary and now both mistakes are and will come back to bite Mr Orban on his rather large posterior.
Sometimes the enforcement of the principle has unintended consequences. But the principle is principle because it allows no exception.
If Orban or Lazar or Deutsch wants to eradicate an opponent they dislike, they will move to do so because no independent actor, let alone opposition, however feeble, is acceptable. (Only the token opposition which behind the curtains plays along).
It’s like in the mafia, enforcement must absolutely be inevitable so that those unruly underlings learn to behave properly.
If those poor teachers, judges, municipal workers, students, voters in general saw that NGOs or RTL Klub can get away with resistance, that they even contemplate being independent, down the road order will be hard to maintain. It’s like with Putin: once you allow a weak Gorbachov (let alone democracy) the result could be the disintegration of the Russian empire.
Plus these guys love exercising power and influence.
This is their high which they crave and have been addicted to it. (Well, Tompi Deustch has been pictured with faces not unlike that of a cocain addict.)
So the principle provided that they had to act, consequences be damned. It seems that they were absent when Robert K. Merton’s On social structure and science was taught.
Is it the effect of my domicile of near 40 years in Britain, where sarcasm is slightly more prevalent than in Hungary, but I read GFG’s comment as an excellent example of the art of sarcasm. What do you all think?
@JGrant: GFG’s comment certainly reads better as sarcasm. I think you may be correct.
Well, I don’t think that “an excellent horse” deserve this kind of degrading comparison, really.
After all it was a honest, hard working animal, never lied, never stole a thing, and I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t ever bought such ugly piece of property for any price..!
Not to mention that if it ever was so talented as our prodigy kid here to save on average 150% of its income during the last decade, it would certainly shared the secret with all of those pensioners who living on way under the poverty level.
Remember, it was a noble animal, not a bootlicker fidesznik…
@JGrant and Gretchen, I don’t know about GFG but many Fidesz supporters would answer in a similar manner and it sure isn’t sarcasm.
theestampe: Hard work and dedication. That’s all that matters. With commitment and sacrifice, great careers are actually possible in Hungary. Hungary isn’t lost after all, Peter Szijjarto’s career is evidence if any was needed. Why can’t we be happy together and proud of such achievements? So young and so successful. May the best succeed.
“So the principle provided that they had to act, consequences be damned”
I have said here before that what stops Orban from achieving his final objective of a fully and efficiently operating dictatorship is his inability to separate what is pragmatically needed for his regime to flower from his own personal irrational hatreds and obsessions.
RTL would have been content to potter along with their news headlines with telling us who had grown the biggest cucumber in Borsodi county this year or which neni had met her grisly end below the 4-6 tram today. Instead Orban tried to wipe them out of the picture and he and his regime are now reaping the consequences. RTL is going nowhere and every night the biggest channel in Hungary is informing us of the likes of Szijarto’s sins. The fact that Blikk and the other populist tabloids are *brave*enough now also covering the same stories is telling and not good news for those corrupt, immoral Fidesz pigs with their snouts firmly entrenched in the trough.
The NGOs have zero effect in changing almost anything in Hungary but Orban, with his massive inferiority complex, still greatly resents the Thick Hick from the Sticks label that many of those people lumbered him as the communist regime was collapsing at the end of the 80s. They therefore must be destroyed, humiliated- but what if the same people who stood up to the communists in the 80s now also refuse to surrender to his dictatorship? He doesn’t have the same luxury as Putin; disappear a few inconvenient journos and charity workers and the EU will (eventually) turn off the cash tap which keeps his dictatorship in business.
His best strategy would have been to ignore the likes of Klubradio, RTL, the NGOs, the charities but the little mental voice inside his head won’t let him do that.
Re Mr Deutsch’s drug of choice; if rumours are to be believed then a fair proportion of the Fidesz younger hierarchy need to get through the day with something stronger than an espresso. Now that would be an interesting research for RTL to carry out;)
You forgot one or two necessary conditions for a career in today’s Hungary:
Rich parents and the right party membership …
Anything else like intelligence, honesty or decency is only unnecessary ballast!
@JGrant, Gretchen and theestampe
Spoken sarcasm may be an efficient way to communicate an idea if the speaker’s facial expression or body language tells that he/she means the opposite.
Sarcasm on print comes without that sort of supplementary information. People who use sarcasm on print may include some obvious lunacy to reveal that they don’t mean what they say. However, in our particular field there is so much serious lunacy around that this method is bound to fail.
The real secret to success in Hungary is finding an axe-murderer to sell. I hear they go for
for something like 300,000 euros per kilo (to the right buyer). So you see, the trick is not only find
one, but one must find a big mother to maximize one’s profits, don’t you know. A 200 kilo monster might bring you 60 millions of euros…So start digging, folks, you too may have one near you.
(sarcasm: exhibit E)
Bokros will be the joint opposition candidate for Budapest mayor, Falus is going to withdraw.
Once again the fabulously inadequate communication skills of the so called “Democratic Opposition” just made it out.
Well done, folks.
By the other hand I don’t mind if whatever reason they’ve been forced to get down to Earth, it may help in the long run.
Bravo for Bokros.
@Stevan Harnad. What a change of public opinion. Almost twenty years ago his name was mud. Today a fair number of liberals think that Bokros was on the right track. By the way, it was Fidesz in 1995-1996 that had a large roll in ruining his reputation.
Hello mindenkinek, a nevem Mrs. Linda Frank és én beszélek, mint a legboldogabb ember az egész vad világ ma, és azt mondtam magamnak, hogy a hitelező, hogy megmentse a családját a szegény helyzet, azt fogja mondani a nevét az egész vad világ és nagyon boldog vagyok, hogy azt mondják, hogy a családom újra a jó, mert szüksége volt egy kölcsön $ 73,000 USD kezdeni az életemet az egész, mint én vagyok, egy anya, 2 gyerek, és az egész világ úgy tűnt, mintha lógott nekem, amíg nem találkoztam az Isten küldött hitel hitelező, hogy megváltoztatta az életemet, és hogy a családom, a istenfélő hitelező, Mr. Steve Steve Brown hitel pénzügyi, ő volt a megmentő Isten küldött, hogy megmentse a családom, és először azt hittem, nem lesz lehetséges, amíg nem kaptam meg a hitelt a $ 73,000 USD és tanácsot ad bárki, aki valóban szükség van egy kölcsön a kapcsolatot Mr. Steve Brown e-mail címen. (email@example.com) OR (firstname.lastname@example.org), mert a legtöbb megértést és kedves szívű hitelező.
I didn’t understand a word as I only have a passive Hungarian vocabulary of 200 words (last count). – Perhaps this is part of the general misery of Hungary? Or am I exaggerating? Or is it my misery?
@Éva: I will ask Györgyi what she thinks about Bokros. As I vaguely remember her opinion wasn’t so bad. But I have to verify this.
Minusio, that was an advert for a credit broker, very badly translated by Google. Just ignore 🙂
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but it allocates income and expenses to various income and expense accounts instead of just tracking deposits and withdrawals.
When looking for accounting software for your business,
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