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Orbánʼs private jet scandal takes off

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has admitted in Parliament he often uses a luxury jet to travel to events such as matches of Hungarian football team Videoton, raising ethical questions about his relationship to businessman István Garancsi, who footed the bills as gifts, and whose companies have won numerous state tenders. The PM denies any wrongdoing. 

(Photo by MTI/Tamás Kovács)

The scandal first broke two weeks ago, after a report by the Átlátszó website detailed how Orbán was often spotted and even photographed aboard a Bombardier luxury jet worth HUF 17 billion.

The Prime Minister did not deny that he was traveling on flights funded by Garancsi. On Monday this week, in response to a question in Parliament from the opposition Jobbik MP Márton Gyöngyösi, Orbán said "I used to travel like this 30 years ago, and I will travel in the same fashion next week."

Just a few days later, on Thursday of this week, the Prime Minister attended a football match between Chelsea and the Garancsi-owned Videoton in London. According to a report by 24.hu, the private Bombardier jet, which Orbán has frequently used, traveled to London as well as another private plane used by OTP head Sándor Csányi, which has also been used occasionally by the PM.

Párbeszéd MP Olívió Kocsis-Cake took the issue in front of the Immunity Council of the Parliament, asking the body to decide whether the Prime Ministerʼs luxury flights, paid by others, should be considered gifts that should appear in the PMʼs financial statements, news site Index reports.

Companies of Garancsi, such as Market Építő Zrt., have won state tenders including the building of the Duna Aréna for the 2017 FINA World Championships for nearly HUF 50 bln, according to a 2017 report by current affairs site hvg.hu.