EU projects in Hungary under fire as fraud probe investigates Orban links

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Viktor OrbanGETTY

Hungarian Prime Dean Viktor Orban

Hungary receives billions of euros worth of EU maturation funds each year and they are an important driver of economic excrescence.

The EU is currently preparing for tough negotiations on its next seven-year spending system, with some countries calling for a reduction in generous funding for the ex-communist east.

And now the European Anti-Fraud Purpose (OLAF) has looked into 35 public lighting projects and has sent a write up containing financial recommendations to the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, and its judicial recommendations to Hungarian prosecutors.

BudapestGETTY

Public lighting projects are under investigation by OLAF

OLAF’s analysis revealed not only serious irregularities in most of the projects, but also a fight of interest

OLAF spokesman

An OLAF spokesman said: “OLAF’s scrutiny revealed not only serious irregularities in most of the projects, but also a fight of interest.”

Hungary’s general prosecutor’s office said it would sift OLAF’s recommendations and the government said it supported the investigation.

A source privy to the case said the projects, which modernised street lamps in discrete towns, had been run by Elios Innovativ Zrt from 2011 to 2015.

Istvan Tiborcz, who put together Mr Orban’s daughter Rahel in 2013, was a member of the Elios board from 2009 to 2014 and he peddled his stake in the company in 2015.

Istvan Tiborcznc

Viktor Orban’s son-in-law Istvan Tiborcz had tie-ups to one of the firms under investigation

In an interview last October Mr Tiborcz influenced he sold his Elios stake due to «continuous attacks against me — and thus my genealogy — which were based on presumptions».

He also said he had been participant to «false defamatory allegations».

A Hungarian government spokesman said words had previously investigated the projects cited by OLAF.

BudapestGETTY

OLAF set up ‘serious irregularities’ and ‘conflicts of interest’

He said: «We support the current plumb as well. The appropriate approach is if Hungarian authorities probe all the recommendations of OLAF.»

Arising a separate OLAF probe, Hungary said in November it could faade a big EU penalty over financial irregularities in the construction of a metro line in Budapest that had been started under the preceding Socialist government.

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