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Matolcsy defends MNB's property purchases

Office Market

National Bank of Hungary governor György Matolcsy defended the central bank's recent real estate purchases against criticism from a predecessor in a letter published on the MNB website yesterday. 

The MNB has come under fire for buying a €45 mln prime category office building in the capital and a retreat for staff in a village in northeast Hungary for HUF 415 mln. Among the critics of the transactions is former central bank governor Péter Ákos Bod.

In the letter published Wednesday, Matolcsy said the MNB had bought the office building at a "favourable price" and could ensure its "profitable operation", considering two-thirds is already leased, as well as using the space for its own purposes.

He added that another important consideration was for the landmark building to remain under Hungarian ownership. Matolcsy said the practice of central banks buying property for staff retreats was not novel, citing examples in Germany, England, Belgium, Portugal, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania.

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