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LMP: Recording details corrupt practices in handling EU funds

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Hungarian opposition green party LMP published a recording that they claim contains the voice of the current mayor of Szekszárd explaining to colleagues about the corruption involved in applying for European Union funding in this country, Hungarian online daily nol.hu reported yesterday.

LMP spokesperson Ákos Hadházy said yesterday that the recording contains the voice of Rezső Ács, a member of the ruling Fidesz party and mayor of Szekszárd, and his current advisor Péter Máté, a former Fidesz MP, having a conversation at a party faction meeting in 2012, nol.hu reported. Hadházy, who has since switched parties, was also present at the meeting as a Fidesz MP at that time, Hungarian online daily index.hu reported.

Nol.hu reported that the officials heard in the recording discuss how to handle applications for European Union funds in Hungary. On the recording presented by Hadházy, someone explains that, typically, an applicant promises to win a tender for a municipality, so long as the applicant is later hired for realization of the project, nol.hu reported.

“This is how applications take place today in Hungary,” the person on the recording says, according to nol.hu. “They come here and say we will get it done completely – we win it for you, and we bring everything here. If you say no, Iʼll go to the next city. Because I have a quota I can share, and if not here, I go to the next city. That is unfortunately what happens behind closed doors.”

The recording also contains discussion of a nursery school expansion project, which could have been carried out for HUF 66 million, but the local council got it done for HUF 130 mln, nol.hu reports. Citing the recorded conversation, nol.hu reports that applicants apparently consider overpricing necessary, to cover the 15% contribution that an applicant is supposed to put into each project.

Hadházy said he believes that this approach to applications for EU funds is undertaken with the knowledge of ministry-level officials, nol.hu reported.

Hadházy also said LMP is planning to publish evidence of such cases every week from now on, nol.hu reported.

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