Charges over casino project "absurd," - former PM Gyurcsány

Former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány told reporters on last Thursday that allegations about his abuse of authority in connection with a former casino project were "absurd". Gyurcsány spoke after he reviewed documents from the prosecutor's office concerning the contested one-billion-dollar development project which had been planned for Sukoro near Lake Velencei in central Hungary. The former PM said he was convinced that his case was politically motivated and added that he would be "infinitely surprised" if the prosecutor's office could come up with any evidence to support the allegations. Gyurcsány said he had no other choice but meet the challenge and fight "this legal and political scandal". He repeated his earlier pledge to request parliament to lift his immunity for the proceedings. The former PM said he believed that the project, if implemented, would have been beneficial for the economy.

Gordon Bajnai, Hungary's prime minister in 2009-2010, was questioned in connection with the same case the day before. Bajnai has appeared once before the authority as witness in the case, which involved the swap of state-owned properties at Sukoro in central Hungary. Bajnai was asked about a meeting in May in 2008 attended by then Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, investors in the casino project, and himself, a member at the time of Gyurcsány's cabinet, Géza Fazekas, the spokesman of KNyF, told MTI. KNyF has been examining allegations of crimes causing significant damages to the state since 2009, in connection with property exchange deals surrounding the Sukoro project.
In a statement sent to MTI after his questioning, Bajnai said that the project dubbed King's City would have benefitted the national economy, through creating 2,500 jobs and attracting millions of tourists to Hungary.
The opposition Socialist Party will stand “with all its political weight” by former Prime Ministers Ferenc Gyurcsány and Gordon Bajnai, and rejects the ruling Fidesz party’s “practices aimed at blackening members of previous governments”, a member of the Socialist board told reporters on Saturday. Tibor Szanyi called Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government a “puppet theatre performing horror stories” and accused the judiciary of assisting to what he suggested were show cases of holding former officials to account over earlier decisions. “Hands off the former prime ministers and other officials of the previous Socialist governments,” said Szanyi.
Then Parliament’s immunity committee on Tuesday proposed lifting the immunity of former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány in connection with his alleged involvement in a contested casino project near Sukoró in central Hungary. Six members of the committee, including opposition LMP and Jobbik members, supported the decision, while two Socialists voted against, the head of the body, György Rubovszky said after the session. Though Gyurcsány himself had earlier requested removing his immunity so that he could face the procedure, the Socialists voted against the proposal for “reasons of conscience”. One of them, Gábor Simon, said that the allegations against the former PM were “groundless and politically motivated”. There was no direct evidence supporting Gyurcsány’s involvement, Simon said. He referred to earlier testimonies, insisting that although Gyurcsány had met the investors involved in the project, no decision had been made at the meeting. Péter Szilágyi, the single committee member delegated by the green opposition LMP party, said his party welcomed the decision. It was LMP back in 2009 who brought the case against Gyurcsány, calling for transparency in the Sukoró deal, he said, adding that political leaders had used “appalling rhetoric” over the issue recently. Gábor Szabó, the committee member of the radical nationalist Jobbik party, said he supported the decision, but was sorry that it had taken so long, as the extra time may have given Gyurcsány and his lawyers an advantage.

Source: MTI

Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 09:11