Dollar-Leftists: How money was funneled into ex-PM Bajnai's firms
Documents released by the Hungarian National Security Committee on Wednesday clearly show that the central "mind" behind the Hungarian Left's 2022 election campaign was DatAdat. At this company group, the old left-wing guard connected with funds from abroad, as well as campaigning technology. Based on the data, the far-left, pro-Democratic Coalition Party and anti-government portal EzaLenyeg, which had already been deployed in the 2019 local government elections, also played a key role.
Although the left-wing prime ministerial candidate Peter Marki-Zay’s movement received 1.85 billion Hungarian forints (approx 4.5 million euros) in several tranches from overseas through the organisation Action for Democracy, headed by David Koranyi, most of the money did not remain with them, as revealed by documents published on the website of the Hungarian Parliament’s National Security Committee, the news portal Origo writes. As it happened, more than 1.4 billion forints went from Everyone’s Hungary Movement (MMM) to the bank accounts of the DatAdat Group. The DatAdat Group with ties to ex-PM Gordon Bajnai was also funded directly by Action for Democracy to the tune of 148 million forints (approx 360 thousand euros). In addition, a third route also channelled money from Koranyi’s fund to the group run by Bajnai and his associates, this ran through Oraculum 2020 Kft.
The latter is a firm operated by Zoltan Pava, former socialist advisor.
Oraculum is the publisher of the fake news portal Ezalenyeg, which engaged in campaigning-like activities to influence voters through paid ads in 2019 and 2022.
Oraculum received 1 billion forints (approx. 2.4 million euros) from Koranyi’s organisation, and of this amount, 324 million (790 thousand euros) was transferred to DatAdat.
There is someone who can certainly see clearly amidst the financial dealings of DatAdat and Oraculum and sort out the cavalcade of transactions. This person is none other than the accountant contracted by both firms, Mrs Jozsef Toth, who operates in Szegi, a remote village of 300 inhabitants in northern Hungary. As is known, investigators of the Hungarian National Tax and Customs Administration found DatAdat’s accounting documents in this small village and Oraculum’s financial records are presumably also kept here. (As a side note: the company that is the paying agent for the MEPs of the Democratic Coalition Party (DK) also operates in Szegi.)
But to return to the DatAdat, Oraculum and Action for Democracy triangle. As the individuals involved in these organisations greatly overlap, it is questionable to what extent they can be examined as independent entities at all. It is worth taking a look at the contact network that mobilised large amounts of money this spring in a bid to bring about a left-wing takeover in Hungary.
The central figure in the network is apparently ex-PM Gordon Bajnai. An old friend of his, Gyula Gansperger, said the following in a leaked audio recording:
“In Hungary, I think, there are basically foreign forces and financiers behind the moves of the whole opposition. (…) Who are these forces? One of these is, let’s put it this way, the Soros Empire. The other part is composed of big-capital groups, that is, from Germany and especially the United States, who want to have influence here. I think Gordon is their man.”
In January 2020, the Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet published an article on Mr Bajnai and his close associates, revealing that they had built substantial voter databases and that the chief of staff of the two erstwhile-PMs, Gordon Bajnai and Ferenc Gyurcsany, helped the left with the latest campaign technologies. One of the owners of DatAdat Professional Kft, which was established before the 2018 elections, is Adam Ficsor, while Viktor Szigetvari works for the company as a manager. Mutual trust is guaranteed by the fact that
Mr Szigetvari was a confidant of both failed prime ministers, while Mr Ficsor not only headed Mr Gyurcsany’s cabinet, but later also worked as Mr Bajnai’s secret services minister.
The fact that through another company, Mr Bajnai himself became a minority owner indicates the importance of the project. If, for example, unwitting citizens start “chatting” with Gyurcsany’s wife [Klara Dobrev, also a contender for the post of PM in the last elections] on Facebook, their data will land in the hands of the Bajnai-Gyurcsany network.
A few months earlier, it was again Magyar Nemzet who reported that EzaLenyeg.hu, a group of online news outlets focusing on local campaign issues, had been launched, admittedly pro-opposition parties in the local, municipal elections. Between 2008 and 2010, the site’s publisher, Zoltan Pava, was invoicing the prime ministerial office (MeH), which served as a pay office, while Medich-Technik Bt, a business with links to him, received nearly 5 million forints (approx 12 thousand euros) in 2008 for advisory activities. At the time the daily pointed out that there appeared to be significant financial resources behind the news portal, considering the large number of Facebook ads and articles appearing on news aggregator websites.
With time, it also came to light that EzaLenyeg.hu, publishing articles in radical political overtones, was connected to Bajnai and his circle through many other ties. The portal’s editor-in-chief was none other than Andras Zentai, who later appeared in the youth movement of Mr Bajnai’s Together (Egyutt) party and worked for him as a press advisor. What’s more, Mr Zentai, just like the portal’s owner, Zoltan Pava, was active at the prime ministerial office of the socialists (MSZP) as early as 2008. It comes as no surprise that EzaLenyeg uses the services of DatAdat Kft.
Last but not least,
the “visible source of money”, David Koranyi, is also an old, trusted man of Mr Bajnai.
Mr Koranyi was first chief advisor to PM Gordon Bajnai, and later became state secretary for foreign and security policy in Mr Bajnai’s government. After the change of government in 2010, just like his exiting boss Gordon Bajnai, he continued his career at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he was a research fellow at the SAIS Center for Transatlantic Relations. Mr Koranyi was one of the founders of the party Egyutt – A Korszakvaltok Partja (Together – Party of Era Changers), organised by the former leftist prime minister. The party was eventually dissolved after the 2018 election defeat. The two of them were also active at the George Soros-linked lobby organisation, the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).
It is not a negligible aspect either that Oraculum 2020 and DatAdat made out well financially on the left-wing campaign. Let’s look at the former first.
Oraculum 2020 Kft was obviously not required to report on the current year yet. In 2021, however, the company achieved a record-high sales revenue of 667 million forints (approx 1.5 million euros) compared to the previous year, but its pre-tax profit only amounted to 4 million forints. The number of staff employed by the firm varied between one and two employees.
The foreign branches of the DatAdat Group appear to be particularly successful. In 2021, DatAdat Professional Kft, the main company based in Hungary, had a sales revenue of 2 billion forints (4.8 million euros) but yielded around 4 million forints in pre-tax profits. In comparison, DatAdat OU based in Estonia, achieved a record result in the first quarter of 2022. According to figures from teatmik.ee, an Estonian company information site, the DatAdat company, which was registered there in March 2019, made a taxable turnover of 2,074,816 euros – the equivalent of roughly three quarters of a billion forints – between January and March of this year.
It is no surprise that the company – represented by Adam Ficsor and Viktor Szigetvari – achieved its previous record in terms of revenues in the autumn of 2021, when opposition left-wing parties held their primaries in Hungary. Within three months, the Estonian DatAdat made a taxable turnover of more than 1.1 million euros, and the second quarter of 2022 was not bad either for the firm, reaching a taxable turnover of 972 thousand euros.Thus, it can be seen that
the success of the business based in Estonia was closely dependent on the Hungarian election cycle.
What remained unchanged after the elections is the number of employees – being zero since the beginning.
In summary, the documents disclosed by the National Security Committee also confirmed the suspicion held by many people: Gordon Bajnai appears to be the key figure providing background support to the left wing’s 2022 election campaign. David Koranyi, a person with close links to Mr Bajnai, raised funds overseas and a good chunk of the money collected went to the company partially owned by Mr Bajnai. The same company organised the campaign of the united left-wing parties, collected data and provided consultancy. Finally, two actors who had long been associated with Gordon Bajnai and his circle appeared at EzaLenyeg, the site that did the “dirty work” by attacking Fidesz candidates in targeted ads. And to close the circle, the site also collected data for Mr Bajnai.