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Vajna: ‘I bought’ TV2 but ‘anything can happen’

Interview

The Hungarian government’s film industry commissioner Andrew G. Vajna said he bought Hungary’s second largest commercial channel TV2 from Zsolt Simon and Yvonne Dederick, but he does “not know about anything else”, according to an impromptu interview published by Hungarian online daily index.hu yesterday.

Screen grab from index.huʼs video report by András Földes and Tamás Szilli.

“I bought it, that’s all I know, I don’t know about anything else”, Vajna told index.hu. “The money is in the escrow, so I believe we bought the company legally,” the commissioner added. “We clearly checked all legal documents and lawyers approved them,” he said.

In response to a question as to whether he would negotiate with Károly Fonyó, who claims to have bought TV2 Group through a pre-purchase option two days before Vajna, he said “what shall I negotiate if I bought it”. Vajna said he does not know “exactly what Gergő Fonyó [who is actually Károly] is doing in connection with this … but, actually, I don’t care”.

Answering a question on who leads the TV station now, Vajna said the “present management”. In response to a question on who will sign the paychecks, he said, “Zsolt and… uhm… Yl… uhm… Dederick.”

Fonyó said earlier that Simon and Dederick sold the television station to Vajna when the two were no longer its owners. Upon hearing this news, Fonyó immediately fired the two from their CEO positions at the channel. “They don’t know about that [being fired], I think, but maybe they are [fired], I don’t know,” Vajna commented.

Addressing speculation that the case could take years of legal proceedings to be sorted out, Vajna said “I believe it wonʼt take years, if it does, TV2 is in big trouble”. Answering a question as to whether he can imagine a scenario in which he is not the owner of the TV station, but Fonyó, Vajna said: “Anything can happen, this is a strange world isn’t it?”

“I am not pro-government and I won’t be; I would like to build an interesting and exciting television station, which will be successful,” the commissioner said addressing hearsay that governing party Fidesz was in favor of his acquisition of the television station in hopes that it could convey the party’s message to more people.

Vajna was approached by a reporter from index.hu after the commissioner had lunch with Dederick and Simon. They were also joined by Dirk Gerkens, the former CEO of Hungarian TV channel RTL Klub, which broadcast news coverage critical of the government. It was announced earlier that he would take charge of TV2.

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