Former PM responds to Magyar Idők article

Interview

In response to an article published by government-friendly daily Magyar Idők, former Hungarian Prime Minister Péter Medgyessy said today that the “predecessor” of his company did in fact receive €597,000 from French engineering company Alstom for consulting services, but that there was nothing wrong with the deal, online daily index.hu reported.

Péter Medgyessy shakes hands with George W. Bush in 2004. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/White House photo by Eric Draper)

Magyar Idők said this morning that Alstom transferred more than €597,000 to AssistConsult Kft., a company indirectly owned by Medgyessy and his wife. The daily added that the French firm transferred the first installment of €259,000 to cover consulting fees on the basis of a contract with AssistConsult on March 30, 2007, while the other installment of €338,000 was transferred on January 22, 2008, Magyar Idők reported. 

Medgyessy told index.hu that the money received from Alstom was revenue generated by the companyʼs nine employees over the years and that taxes have been paid on this revenue. Medgyessy said he believes no allegations were published in the article but rather misinterpretations “having no significance”. He added that the article is an attempt to distract public attention from scandals surrounding the foundations of the National Bank of Hungary (MNB).

Britainʼs Serious Fraud Office recently charged the U.K. head of Alstom with corruption and conspiracy in connection with train contracts for the Budapest metro, Hungarian news agency MTI reported.

Medgyessy was Hungary’s Prime Minister from 2002-2004. After resigning from his post, the Parliament elected Ferenc Gyurcsány as his successor.

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