February 8th, 2017

Former Budapest Mayor Demszky to brief M4 corruption probe committee, ex-PM Gyurcsány stays away

The former liberal mayor of Budapest, Gábor Demszky, is expected to appear before a parliamentary committee investigating corruption surrounding the construction of the city’s fourth metro line, Demszky’s lawyer told daily Magyar Nemzet, claiming the former mayor had nothing to hide. György Magyar said that Demszky’s legal responsibility was not at issue in the matter. The contract for building the fourth metro line was not signed by the metropolitan council but by the companies involved. Political responsibility should be distinguished from legal culpability. Anyone who claims, based on the report by Europe’s anti-fraud office OLAF, that Demszky bears criminal liability violates the law, he said.

Socialist lawmaker Csaba Horváth, who was deputy mayor for Demszky, told the paper that he would also be ready to give evidence to the committee if invited to do so. He likewise insisted that the metro 4 project had not fallen within the metropolitan council’s competence. Erzsébet Gy. Németh, now a lawmaker for opposition Democratic Coalition (DK) who at the time was a Socialist councillor, told the paper that she would not attend any committee hearings because the report had not raised any question of her liability in the case.

DK leader and former Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány has also decided to stay away from the hearing, the party’s spokesman said. Zsolt Gréczy argued that OLAF’s report indicated that members of the then incumbent government were not implicated in the case. OLAF has only determined the legal responsibilities of the municipal council leadership and municipal council-owned companies at the time, Gréczy said. Regarding Gy. Németh’s decision not to attend, Gréczy said she had neither been a municipal council leader nor had she led any Budapest-owned company at the time, making her attendance “pointless”.

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