Some people are playing soldiers at the private lake of Viktor Orbán's oligarch

Some people are playing soldiers at the private lake of Viktor Orbán's oligarch

Páncélozott járművek Orbán Viktor milliárdos barátjának birtokán

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If the average citizen often feels that everywhere he looks, he can see the assets of the Mészáros empire, this is even more so in the district of Bicske, where the base, Felcsút is located. The centre of the smaller region is Bicske where roughly 12,000 people live and a great deal of real estate and companies owned by Lőrinc Mészáros are located. The gas technician, who has become a dollar billionaire just in a couple of years, is the owner of the local mill, a car showroom and for example the company of his children, FEJÉR – B.Á.L. Zrt. was contracted to renovate the local primary school. Not least, the Viktor Orbán’s childhood friend-turned-oligarch’s firm, Búzakalász 66 Kft. owns a lake called Erőmű-tó (power plant lake) by the residents of Bicske.

The lake registered as parcel number 4217 was acquired by Mészáros’s Company in 2014. Subsequently, the lake, which could be freely visited by locals in the past, was railed off, and neither anglers nor hikers are allowed to access it any more. The property is 24/7 protected by a strong security service, which we could ascertain when we were there.

No development has been carried out in the area, except for the construction of the two cottages on the lake shore, mentioned in a 2017 article of Magyar Narancs. Following the acquisition of the ownership by Mészáros in 2014, the Fidesz-led municipality of Bicske abolished the land tax, which, according to a 2015 article of, meant for Mészáros’s company a tax relief of 55 million HUF per year for the part of the lake of 111 hectares located in the territory of Bicske. That represented approximately 250 million HUF of unpaid taxes over the last five years and at the same time an equivalent amount of tax loss for the town which has poor street lighting and quite bad roads. The local Fidesz chose to tax the population instead of Mészáros: when abolishing the land tax mentioned above, the municipality doubled the building tax on all homeowners in Bicske. (The billionaire of Felcsút acquired the lake when the previous owner, according to himself, was unable to pay the land tax to the local council.) The lake is adjacent to Felcsút and the Hatvanpuszta mansion of the Orbán family.

The area, by the way, was the subject of a strange transaction for two months last year. In 2019, for three months it was transferred from the ownership of Búzakalász 66 to another Mészáros firm, Talentis Group Zrt., which brought together the over-the-counter companies of the oligarch. After that three-month period the territory returned to Búzakalász 66. In addition to the fact that it was an unusually short period of time, the sale and repurchase by Búzakalász 66 can be regarded as odd because it appears to be a rather irrational economic decision at first glance: the sale and take-back in a short time could have resulted in double payment of real estate acquisition duties. If we look for rationality in the transaction, we can only think that the lake, as an asset element, had to be or did not have to be held by one of the companies in order to obtain some state or local financial support or tender.

We couldn't believe our eyes when a few weeks ago an information came to our paper that two military vehicles were stationed off the shore of the lake. Therefore, Magyar Hang contacted Mr Hadházy, an independent MP specialising in corruption cases, who had previously participated in air mapping of the Orbán and Mészáros estates. In the absence of such technology at our disposal, we asked the parliamentarian to get to the Erőmű-tó (the “Power Plant lake” in Bicske) during his next reconnaissance flight over the near Felcsút, and to take photographs of the vehicles parked there. The pictures were taken and Ákos Hadházy gave them us. The surreal footage shows that at the private lake belonging to the company of Lőrinc Mészáros who is considered as the Prime Minister’s figurehead, there were indeed two vehicles, one covered with a tarpaulin and the other on open-air. According to our expert, the latter is an armoured combat reconnaissance vehicle known as BRDM-2, the first one has not been identified, all we know is that it’s a tracked tank.

The online version of the article, which can be found on the webpage, contains other photographs.

We wanted to know from Lőrinc Mészáros how the fighting vehicles were placed alongside their private lake, therefore we sent questions to the oligarch’s Búzakalász 66 Kft. in Felcsút. At first, we asked about the unusual forward and return sale for a few months of last year at the company, and then we sent questions about the two military vehicles parked there. We would have liked Mészáros to inform our readers about who owns the two armoured vehicles, what permissions they had and for what purpose they were used. We, quite unusually, did receive a response, even if the answer to both questions by the communications directorate of the Mészáros Group was that there was no answer. They wrote that ‘Within the Mészáros Group there are transfers of assets in accordance with the applicable legislation, transactions are part of the business of the group, and they have been reported to the competent authorities. We are unable to release information on movable property on private land.’

Armored vehicles on the property of the billionaire friend of Viktor Orbán. They feel the smell of gunpowder in the air.
Armored vehicles on the property of the billionaire friend of Viktor Orbán. They feel the smell of gunpowder in the air.
The entrance of the lakeside mansion.

This article's print, Hungarian language version was published in the 19/2020 issue of Magyar Hang on the 8th of May, 2020.