The trial of the Budapest Public Transport Company (BKV) continued on Thursday at the Kecskemét Court. During the hearing, Mr. Atilla Antal, a former BKV CEO accused of misappropriation of public funds, continued his testimony which began on Tuesday.
According to Antal, Mr. Miklós Hagyó, former Deputy Mayor of Budapest who oversaw the operations of BKV through his deputy mayoral capacities, did not force him to create a contract with the company AAM Ltd. The private company was hired for advisory services in the development of line 4 in the subway system after previously completing 10 successful projects for the public transportation company. Instead, explained Antal, the company was recommended by Mr. László Becker, a manager of the subway system who had been appointed by the Budapest City Council.
As Antal recalled, the contracts created with AAM Ltd., were necessary for development of the subway system when they were created in 2006 and 2007, and they, in his opinion, are still essential today. Even though the line 4 projects, worth approximately 500 billion forints, were unsuccessful it was not due to any sort of criminal activity between BKV and AAM. In reality, the project failure was due to the lack of manpower to execute such a large project, said the defendant.
In addition to these declarations, Antal continuously alluded to his previous claims from Tuesday’s hearing about his incriminating statements from February 4th, 2010. According to Antal, on that day the police unexpectedly arrived at his home and demanded that he go with them to the police station for questioning. Along the way, he recounts, the escorting officers informed him that if he did not play along and provide the statements which they wanted he would be subjected to more severe treatment. Still in recovery from a heart attack, Antal obliged to their commands by accusing Miklós Hagyó and Ernő Mesterházy of criminal activities, according to him, in fear for his health. However, he explained, his lawyer only accompanied him once he arrived the police station. Therefore, there were no other witnesses to observe the exchange.
The central investigation authority said Thursday morning that in the future it will pursue legal action against Antal and Ernő Mesterházy for libel statements. This, of course, comes in the wake of Antal’s and Mesterházy’s testimonies. Mesterházy also claimed that he was blackmailed by police during a separate interrogation when the interrogating officers offered him more lenient pre-trial detention treatments if he provided accusatory evidence against Miklós Hagyó.
Antal’s testimony continued to lay the foundation of innocence under the weary feet of Miklós Hagyó who, according to Zsolt Balogh, had ordered members of BKV’s upper management to see through a series of allegedly conspicuous contracts with private companies. Mr. Balogh, who served as an interim CEO for BKV after Atilla Antal suffered the heart attack, suggested the contracts veiled a criminal organization from which Hagyó profited.
The BKV trial will resume in Kecskemét next Tuesday, October 2nd.