Hungarian tax authority checks company with leftist links embroiled in data-phishing scam
The investigators of the tax authority conducted a house search and seized documents at the premises in Hungary of DatAdat, a group of companies embroiled in a data theft scandal, according to media reports. Linked to the left wing's failed ex-PM Gordon Bajnai, the company came under scrutiny by the National Tax and Customs Administration (NAV) after a suspicious increase by half a billion Hungarian forints in revenues, among other issues. NAV has been looking into a possible case of budgetary fraud for months now, while police are investigating a potential data-phishing scam.
According to information obtained by the daily Magyar Nemzet newspaper, the National Tax and Customs Administration (NAV) recently held a house search at DatAdat Professional Kft, the Hungarian unit of the DatAdat group – with links to left-wing ex-PM Gordon Bajnai and Adam Ficsor, a former secret services minister – involved in the data-phishing scandal.
According to Magyar Nemzet, tax investigators have seized various documents. NAV has been investigating a possible case of budgetary fraud for months now in connection with the group of companies, and their recent house search was part of this procedure. According to information obtained by the newspaper,
NAV’s attention was caught by a sudden spike in revenue, by a significant increase of more than half a billion Hungarian forints in the past years. The house search and seizure of documents revealed that the ownership of an Estonia-registered company owned by DatAdat Professional Kft was sold to a US-registered offshore firm for more than two million euros.
The fact that the company changed hands for just over seven hundred thousand Hungarian forints (appr. €2,000) barely two years ago – when Adam Ficsor sold his share – makes the deal rather disproportionate and suspicious. Hungarian authorities are still looking into the details of this sale.
As is known, the DatAdat scandal erupted after it was revealed that during Hungary’s general election campaign in 2022, DatAdat was able to reach approximately one million voters with phone calls and text messages, raising the suspicion that stolen databases were used, because supporters of the government, who certainly did not knowingly give away their contact information, also received calls from the united Left, Magyar Nemzet recalls. It is no wonder that several complaints were filed with the National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information. Fidesz VP Gabor Kubatov told Magyar Nemzet in an earlier interview that following his complaint, the National Bureau of Investigation ordered an investigation on suspicion of the „misuse of personal details.”
DatAdat’s main Hungarian company, called DatAdat Professional Kft., was registered on 22 December 2016. Adam Ficsor, former PM Ferenc Gyurcsany’s chief of staff and then Gordon Bajnai’s intelligence minister, has been a member of DatAdat since the beginning.
Also a founder is Tibor Dessewffy, the former head of Demos, which is considered the think tank of Gyurcsany’s government. He is also a professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences at ELTE University. Dessewffy’s university research work, as the head of ELTE’s Digital Sociology Research Centre, fits perfectly into the company’s profile (database construction, voter profiling),
Magyar Nemzet writes. Not long after its foundation, the company was joined by Ebit Consulting Kft., Mr Bajnai’s former company. In 2018, Bajnai listed DatAdat as his indirect property (with a 10 percent ownership share) in his declaration of interest submitted to the European Investment Bank.
Last but not least, in 2020, Viktor Szigetvari, a fellow politician of Bajnai, joined the company as a member to perform executive duties. Viktor Szigetvari was Mr Bajnai’s chief of staff and, even earlier, a confidant of Ferenc Gyurcsany. Mr Szigetvari took to social media to boast about working for DatAdat, in the capacity of managing partner.
The daily has sent a written inquiry to Hungary’s tax office and DatAdat Professional Ltd, to receive a formal confirmation.