The hearing in the Kecskemét Tribunal received Gábor Csapó, a former Hungarian water polo Olympic champion, and Zoltán Kamondi, a well-known film director.
Csapó, once a star defenseman on the 1976 and 1980 Olympic teams, allegedly sought financial support from BKV for his water polo school. It seems however that certain municipal regulations restricted BKV from providing sponsorship in this situation. The prosecution asserts that Csapó and primary defendant Miklós Hagyó have a close relationship, so when Hagyó was Budapest Deputy Mayor between 2006 and 2010 the two men arranged an agreement. Csapó’s company, Csapó Ltd., would receive funding from BKV in exchange for advertising BKV’s logo at the school and on the school’s promotional material. The 2008 contract valued at 2.85 million HUF ($12,551.08 at the time of writing) was “unnecessary,” claims the prosecution.
In an effort to uncover the assumed “close, personal relationship” between the two men, the prosecution questioned Hagyó’s neighbors and his doctor.
In response, Hagyó considered fact that the prosecution did not interview people of significant relevance to case such as his past superior, former Budapest Mayor Gábor Demszky. The primary defendant also claimed that none of the other defendants were questioned about the relationship, a point he found “weird” since the 15 suspects are accused of operating as a tightly knit network of organized criminals.
Kamondi’s testimony followed that from Csapó. According to him, he directed the feature film “1,” which was produced by the company Honeymood Ltd. In October 2007, BKV paid Honeymood Ltd 3.6 million HUF ($15,385.28 at the time of writing) in exchange for advertising spots on the films press materials. Honeymood included 20 complimentary tickets to the film’s premiere.
Once again, the prosecution claims the contractual agreement between BKV and Honeymood was “unnecessary.”
Kamondi reminded the court that this was not the first instance of film sponsorship from BKV. The director claimed that BKV also had a similar agreement with the producers of the 2003 film “Kontroll.”
The prosecution then persisted that the contract was “unnecessary” and it only served the interests of Hagyó, who was not the city council supervisor of BKV in 2003.
Kamondi finished his testimony by asserting that this type of legal assault from the prosecution damages the Hungarian film industry. According to him, successfully funding feature films will be more difficult if financiers are concerned that “support of the culture is a crime.”
In my last post, I concluded with the assumption that the prosecution’s persistent word modification of indictment, and the judge’s compliance, will henceforth only make it more difficult for the defendants. After the testimonies from Csapó and Kamondi, there may be a glimmer of hope for the defendants. If their accounts of the marketing contracts are not persuasive, then perhaps their sheer star power can shed light on the trial’s questionable purposes.