June 9th, 2017

Supreme court sentences suspects in Sukoró case to prison

The Kúria, Hungary’s supreme court, handed prison sentences to two suspects in the Sukoró casino case in a binding ruling. The court of third instance sentenced Miklós Tátrai and Zsolt Császy, former leaders of the National Asset Manager (MNV), to three years and two and a half years in prison, respectively, for attempted embezzlement. In the first instance in September 2015, the two defendants were given four and three and a half years imprisonment, respectively, while in the second instance in October last year they were acquitted due to a lack of criminal activities.

The case goes back to the summer of 2008 when the Socialist-led government, represented by MNV, signed a controversial land-swap contract with Israeli-Hungarian businessman Joav Blum. Ferenc Gyurcsány, prime minister at the time of the transaction, was also investigated for suspected abuse of office in the deal, a charge that was later dropped.

In its ruling, the Kúria criticised the secondary decision for its shortcomings and said that the land swap had “no justified relevance” for the planned casino project. The defendants must have been aware that the transaction was “not essential” for the planned project and that there was an “obviously huge” difference between the values of the two pieces of land; had it been completed, the transaction would have caused damages of 1.2 billion forints (EUR 3.9 million) to the central budget, it said.

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  • there was an “obviously huge” difference between the values of the two pieces of land

    As I remember only one of the four different evaluations supported that claim, but that is the one the first and last courts decided to believe in.

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