Gordon Bajnai: Gyurcsány acted lawfully
Thursday, 15 September 2011 08:23
The charges leveled against Ferenc Gyurcsány in connection with a contested casino project are unfounded, former prime minister Gordon Bajnai said on Friday when speaking about his predecessor. Bajnai told ATV’s ‘Straight Talk’ program that Gyurcsány had acted according to the law in the case of King’s City, a project dating back to 2008. Bajnai insisted that the public prosecutor had been put under tremendous pressure to pursue the case, adding that the outcome could turn out to be bad for anyone seeking revenge and Gyurcsány’s punishment. Bajnai is adamant that all the accusations leveled at Gyurcsány are false and unsubstantiated, and that his predecessor had acted lawfully in every respect.
According to Bajnai, the fact that Gyurcsány asked one of the main public servants involved (Miklós Tátrai, director of the Hungarian State Holding Company), whether the investment was lawful, can hardly be interpreted as misuse of authority. Bajnai said that he as a minister for economic management was not directly involved in the case. Only later, when already working as prime minister did he launch a civil lawsuit to ascertain that the exchange of land was proportional in value. He added that both the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the State Audit Office of Hungary voiced their concerns about the disproportionality. However, according to other estimations, the land swap was proportional. Bajnai and his finance minister, Péter Oszkó decided that the court should have the final say in the matter. The former PM said that there were two possible outcomes, neither of which would mean any harm to the country. The first outcome is that the court rules the land swap to be disproportional. In this case the contract will be declared null and void. The second outcome is that the exchange is proportional. In that case more than 2500 families will have lost an opportunity to find a job. To questions whether he felt any pressure from the public prosecution to say anything incriminating against Gyurcsány, Bajnai answered: “I thought that the procedure was appropriate. I think it is important that the public has confidence in our institutions. Unfortunately, the Public Prosecutor’s Office does not seem to be working independently from the ruling party”. According to Bajnai there are people who dislike Ferenc Gyurcsány: “If a politician is not popular, it is not the end of the world. They just have to live with it. If however, the hatred is based on false accusations and revenge, then it is a far more serious problem. If that’s the case, things will not stop at Gyurcsány. Already the atmosphere of intimidation, revenge and fear is tangible. This atmosphere has permeated our institutions. Members of Fidesz should think of the damage they are helping to bring about”. Regarding the economy, the former PM added: “Our present economic policy cannot be sustained. It’s a dead end street. The government should have the decency to own up to its mistakes and say: Yes, we were wrong. Not even the present show trial will conceal the fact that Hungary is in a bad shape, and our problems need urgent solutions”.