According to the lawyer of Miklós Hagyó, ex-Deputy Lord Mayor of the socialist party - having been sentenced to suspended imprisonment – there is a direct twofold connection between the Nokia-box, the memento of the BKV-scandal reaching its peak during the parliamentary election period in 2010 and the win of the currently governing parties with two-third majority. According to the election expert answering to our questions the corruption case did contribute to the uncertain voters’ deciding for the right-wing.
Based on the sentence passed by the court of first instance at the beginning of the week none of the accused in the Hagyó-case has to go to prison, what is more some of them are entitled to bring an action for damages. Three of the four charges against the first accused, former Deputy Lord Mayor, have been dismissed by the court. However, for abuse of authority and breach of fiduciary duty he has been sentenced to tow-year imprisonment suspended for four years.
„ I did not hand over money to Hagyó”
Miklós Hagyó was arrested in March, 2010 on suspicion of being involved in associative crime stealing around 1.5 billion forints. The real fame was brought to him by the scandal of bribery uncovered by the former Chief Executive Officer of BKV – the base of the scandal was provided by Zsolt Balogh who stated that he had been required by the politician of the MSZP to hand over 1.5 million to him, which requirement was met by Balogh who put the money in a Nokia-box. In the election campaign of 2010 it was widely bet that Hagyó would be the primary target being called to account by the FIDESZ to fulfil their campaign promise.
The prosecution basically built the indictment on the statement made by Zsolt Balogh on the Nokia-box, however during the contested hearing taking place about a year ago Balogh withdrew his testimony (“Miklós Hagyó did not instruct me to do anything unlawful and I did not deliver him any money.”), and later he also added that when the scandal had broken out he had had the hope that with his statement he could earn his release.
Despite the fact that the main evidence had lost for the prosecution and their investigation to prove the truth had brought no result the indictment was kept unchanged.
If necessary they will turn to Strasbourg
According to the court decision a withdrawn incriminatory investigatory testimony – complemented with an apology, as well – cannot be taken into consideration as evidence, for this very reason the first accused has been sentenced to only two-year imprisonment instead of the 10-year one requested for him in the respective indictment.
On ATV, „Talking Straightforward” András Kádár, the lawyer of the former Deputy Lord Mayor said: the fact that the court established the emblematic Nokia-box cannot be brought into connection with the defendant finally refuted the hypothesis, which had turned Hagyó a main public enemy since 2009.
He also added in case Hagyó is condemned by the court of appeals they will turn to Strasbourg since the defendant’s right to a judge by law had been violated by assigning the case to the court of Kecskemét.
This step, however, would mean that the final judgement in the case would be delivered only sometime in the unforeseeable future, delaying the issue a lawsuit over the violation of Miklós Hagyó’s human rights including the damage of his reputation.
The lawyer, however, had to admit that probably it will be a hard work for them to get rid of the mark of “Nokia-box” remembering Márta Tocsik whose name is still associated with the term of “success fee” although it was finally proved that she had not committed crime.
According to András Kádár there is a direct twofold connection between the Nokia-box, the memento of the BKV-scandal reaching its peak during the parliamentary election period in 2010 and the win of the currently governing parties with two-third majority. After learning the Nokia-box scandal many of the hesitating voters felt that the government corruption was widespread and endemic which made them finally to decide for the Fidesz.
No press, no prosecutor
The corruption related to the left wing government meant an important part of the 2010 election campaign – said Róbert László to our papers. According to the election expert of the Political Capital the corruption scandal over Miklós Hagyó, former Deputy Lord Mayor, created with the help of a symbol easy to remember, then picked up by the press contributed to the fact that several left-wing voters lost their certainty and the already uncertain voters decided for the right-wing government. The fact that the corruption cases were picked up in an atmosphere in which the government parties were losing their popularity did not help at all. However, it also should be mentioned – says Róbert László – that contrary to the popular belief, the government parties had started losing people’s support much earlier than the so called Öszödi speech took place. The trend began to develop when Ferenc Gyurcsány announced the New Balance Programme.
Meantime the support of the strongest opposition party, the Fidesz, was increasing while they were able to communicate convincingly their ability to lead. According to the experts one of the most important differences between the political situation today and the one five years ago is that there is no such potential political power left from the Fidesz that the Fidesz was right from the MSZP. A further difference that the corruption cases made public during the left-wing government were dealt with by the non-right-wing media as well, moreover the responsible authorities took the related reports and charges seriously.
Currently the experience is to the contrary – states the election expert and he adds: earlier Hagyó was abandoned by the government. Nowadays the more squeezed is somebody from the governmental circles by the media the more protective the “mates” are. In addition, apparently the truly committed voters of the Fidesz cannot be made uncertain and doubtful at all by any of their politicians’ manoeuvres suspicious of corruption.
Disappointment and the Facebook
According to Róbert László’s opinion the symbolic cases similar to the Nokia-box one are not such bummers anymore since the media is less varied and the information does not reach the smaller towns and villages. Furthermore, people 25 years after the change of regime are disappointed since according to their experience even after the many-year-long procedures the “committers” finally always flee from harsh punishment.
Among the reasons for the interrupted information flow the expert mentioned the logic behind the work of the public media: it is up to the users to select among the information according to their taste. Thus what they share on their profiles is actually their own selection of information limiting the total amount of available information.