"Gyurcsany is a stupid jerk" – how Hungarian Left describes failed PM
Ferenc Gyurcsany is a stupid jerk, you know, said Gyula Gansperger in describing Hungary's failed ex-PM during one of the discussions on the sale of the Budapest City Hall building. This was revealed in the uncut sound recordings that were forwarded to the authorities by Anonymus, a masked figure. The transcript of the recordings form a part of the investigative materials in the ongoing criminal proceedings.
The Budapest City Hall case erupted in Hungary after a masked figure, called Anonymus, released several audio recordings to the public in the autumn of 2021. The recordings forwarded to editorial offices revealed that the leftist-liberal city management headed by Mayor Gergely Karacsony secretly planned to sell the extremely valuable City Hall building and the plot it occupies in exchange for several billions in bribe money. An individual with left-wing ties contacted investors from Russia, Italy, the US and Israel regarding the sale of the property, the Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet recalls.
The negotiations with the Russian investors and their intermediaries were presumably recorded by one of the participants. Based on the conversations, a well-defined circle of people emerged, specialising in real estate deals in the capital. This group operated a corrupt, so-called commission scheme, ensuring that certain individuals received kickbacks.
The Hungarian National Bureau of Investigation launched an investigation into the case, and the police interrogated three individuals on suspicion of influence peddling. Suspects in the City Hall case included two brothers, Zsolt Berki, considered a key figure behind the corruption scheme operating in the capital, and Jozsef Berki. Zsolt Berki approached some business circles well-known in Hungary in connection with the sale of the City Hall, while what is noteworthy about Jozsef Berki is the fact that he used to work for the late Socialist minister Peter Kiss at the time when the minister’s chief of staff was none other than Ambrus Kiss, who is currently one of Mayor Gergely Karacsony’s deputies.
Police have questioned a crown witness in the case and the criminal proceedings continue. Investigative materials include nearly ten hours of unpublished, uncut audio recordings that Anonymus forwarded to the authorities. The daily Magyar Nemzet has obtained the transcript of the audio materials in question. It emerged that in addition to the sale of the City Hall and other real estate in the capital, many interesting stories, findings and background information were said in the informal parts of the discussions.
The daily is presenting a series of articles on the investigation material, the first part of which features Gyula Gansperger’s opinion on two former heads of government. Mr Gansperger voiced the following opinion about failed Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai:
“In Hungary, – I think – there are basically foreign forces and financiers behind the movement of the whole opposition. (…)Who are these forces? “One of these is, let’s put it this way, the Soros Empire. The other is composed of big-capital groups, that is, from Germany and especially the United States, who want to gain influence here. I think Gordon [former leftist prime minister Gordon Bajnai] is their man,”
Mr Gansperger, a long-time colleague of Mr Bajnai, said, explaining that, Mr Bajnai is a very accepted person, who speaks English and German very well, and was on good terms with everyone, including [former German Chancellor] Merkel. When asked about how accepted the Left’s current leader and failed Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany is, he said:
“He’s a stupid jerk, you know.”
Unlike Gyurcsany, Bajnai cannot be accused of having “bought something from the state and appropriated it for a few cents. And he didn’t set up fake companies by the hundreds,” Mr Gansperger said. In his opinion, Mr Gyurcsany did not even care about optics.
“Well, he didn’t give it a s**t, Klarika’s circles [MEP Klara Dobrev, Gyurcsany’s wife – ed.] will smooth things over for him […]. And they did, they got away with everything,”
Mr Gansperger explained.
The leftist businessman was obviously referring to Gyurcsany’s dealings in privatising a rather valuable property in Budapest’s Szalay Street, near the Parliament, as well as the government resort building in Balatonoszod, for example, through clever schemes. What the two sales had in common was that, in the end, the properties did not cost him a cent. And that’s not even mentioning the 1995 purchase of the Mosonmagyarovar Timfoldgyar (Motim), an alumina factory, for which the Hungarian Trade and Credit Bank, whose supervisory board included Klara Dobrev’s mother, Piroska Apro, provided the loan – writes Magyar Nemzet.
To sum up: Gyula Gansperger says that while Gordon Bajnai is a man of foreign capitalist groups, Ferenc Gyurcsany is a “jerk” whose affairs were paved and smoothed over by his wife and her influential family.