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Allegations aplenty on Sólyom partner Sales One

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Regardless of one’s opinion on Sólyom Hungarian Airways’ nascent efforts to build a new national airline, it must be admitted that dull moments are few when this company is involved in the headlines.

After an extended period of teasing the company’s actual passenger flight offerings, Sólyom representatives led by managing director János Lucsik surprised on Monday with a press conference introducing themselves as 10% owner of marketing startup Sales One. Said partial ownership of the company will allow Sólyom to emblazon its Turul-inspired, Hungarian tri-color logo on packaging of Sales One’s initial line of four premium grocery items

So far so good, perhaps, but yesterday media outlet Index.hu broke a story about past and present ownership of Sales One – a story involving pure gold … plus tax fraud, bribery and more.

According to the story, former Sales One co-owner Béla Janicsek has in fact been in custody since May 23 on high-level VAT fraud charges on up to nine enterprises licensed to him. Also among career lowlights for was a flap involving Ági drink-syrup products from from Janicsek’s 2009-purchased Pölöskei Szörp and sold to Tesco outlets. Reportedly, the products’ below-required amount of actual fruit content resulted in Tesco representatives filing a complaint with the Ministry of Justice but that “storm blew over quickly.”

Janicsek’s ties to the company were severed on or around the day of his arrest, though a few skeletons linger in the closets of Sólyom’s current leadership as well.

Sólyom Hungarian Airways Kft director Sándor Pál Kenyeres, Index recalls, “starred in the recent scandalous bankruptcy of Aranyközpont.” The article hilariously recounts that “The Aranyközpont business model was simple enough: The company’s customers paid their money and got [nothing in return].”

After allegedly reneging on promises to produce the gold and/or settle claims from angry customers to whom he had transacted business, Kenyeres first blamed a business partner before it was ultimately revealed/claimed that certain basic matters in gold transaction had not been settled by Aranyközpont – contracting armored car service, for example.

Finally, the Index piece touches upon information from a well-circulated piece posted to Atlatszo.hu detailing the sordid tale of former Brigadier-General/reported Sales One co-owner István Attila Lévai, who was ultimately involved in a bribery scandal in Russia. (Átlátszó also provides a handy graphic detailing Sólyom Hungarian Airways Kft connections, incidentally.)

Sales One representatives, among them some parties mentioned in the article, contacted Index after the piece was run and offered explanations for some allegations to various degrees of satisfaction; most concretely clarified was Janicsek’s relationship to the company. Many (many) questions will surely remain in the minds of readers, however.

Indeed, never a dull moment – but what might be truly exciting are the actual launching of passenger flights…

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