War of words escalates: Csányi to sue Lázár

History

Recent “signs of tension” between OTP Bank CEO Sándor Csányi and members of the Orbán administration have spilled over into the courtroom, as Csányi will bring a lawsuit against Prime Minister’s Office State Secretary János Lázár for his comments earlier this week portraying the CEO as “Hungary’s no. 1 usurer.”

Lázár’s description hit local media along with his statement urging Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to call a meeting of government officials – along with Csányi to discuss the matter of a potential loss of over €2 million in European Union funds for National Development Agency (NFÜ) projects. The secretary went on to state that Csányi “throws his weight around with the billions he has amassed from foreign currency borrowers.”

Csányi is now fighting back against this latest round of what he considers slander: Daily newspaper Népszabadság yesterday reported the filing of a civil lawsuit against Lázár, though Csányi himself has not commented on the statements.

In recent months, the two have swiped at each other publicly. In June, Lázár likened Csányi to an “octopus” with hands in everything economic; in response, Csányi said that “Some people clearly consider it an achievement to be mouthing off about me because then they appear brave. I’m thinking about Mr. Lázár.”

One month later, Csányi took a shot at Lázár when controversy regarding a last-minute change in the required profit margin for the country’s new National Tobacco Shop franchises, sarcastically remarking that “I don’t know him very well personally, but he is a very talented politician, as you can see how for yourselves how well he arranged the [National Tobacco Shop scheme].”

No court date has been set, but interested observers will definitely want to look out for more incendiary quotes from both parties; this war of words certainly isn’t over yet…

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