Politicians hide assets behind families, says report

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The current system enables Hungarian politicians to hide their wealth under the names of family members and relatives, according to a report published last Friday by Hungarian investigative journalism site Direkt36. A public database to track such activity has been set up.

According to the report, it has been common practice for many Hungarian politicians to conceal their assets under the names of family members, excluding them from their own declarations of assets, which they are obliged to publish every year. 

Direkt36, together with online news portal 444.hu and Transparency International, have set up a database at vagyonkereso.hu to track the wealth gains of prominent politicians.

The article addresses the issue of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his family’s wealth gain during his time in office. Farmland bought by Orbán is registered in the name of his wife, Anikó Lévai, and has never been listed in any of his asset declarations, according to Direkt36’s report.

Another example cited by the report showed that Cabinet Chief János Lázár bought a holiday home under the name of his then 18-month-old son. The property was not accounted for in Lázár’s asset declaration. Other children of Lázár’s have a vineyard and a luxury flat in Budapest under their names, Direkt36’s report said.

The report also mentions former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, currently leader of the opposition Democratic Coalition, whose assets are listed under the name of his wife Klára Dobrev.

However, the report also notes that all the politicians, in support of transparency, have published the asset declarations of their family members.

The full report can be read here.

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