2015. december 6., vasárnap

The Magical Nokia-box - part 16

When did it turn out that the story of the Nokia-boxes is not more than a legend?

On October 9, 2012 the story took an unexpected turn: during his court hearing Zsolt Balogh unsaid his statements on the Nokia-boxes. He was called by Judge Ibolya Hadnagy to declare if he keeps his investigatory testimony. Balogh said that he keeps the one given before the court. About his significantly different investigatory testimony read out by the judge he said he had stated incriminatory things in it in order to meet the needs expressed by the prosecution and avoid prison: “I am not a hero. I did not want anything else just to go home.” Later, in March 2015 he completely withdrew the story of the Nokia-box and he apologized to Hagyó spending nine months in custody for his earlier false statements on him. Finally, the prosecution did drop the related investigation, admitting that the statements on the Nokia-box cannot be supported with evidence.

Why is it particularly significant that Balogh unsaid his testimony?

Because the whole Nokia-box scandal developed from his statements. Among others, this is how the story about the bribes delivered to Miklós Hagyó, former Deputy Lord Mayor, on several occasions by Balogh got around. The indictment of the BKV-case also based on these statements just like the two counts against Hagyó.

The Magical Nokia-box - part 15

Did Miklós Hagyó admit the charges against him?

The moment when Miklós Hagyó gave his testimony before the Court of Kecskemét was waited for impatiently by the media and the public as well. In his testimony Hagyó rejected the charges brought against him including the Nokia-box related statements. Moreover he drew the attention of the court to more inaccuracies in the indictment. In the indictment more dates are inexact and it was compiled without questioning him or other executives involved in the case about the Nokia-boxes during their pre-trial detentions.

Why did not the indictment fulfil the formal requirements?

The crime of bribery and blackmail described in Count II of the indictment is too general; also it fails to refer to the exact location and time of the delivery, in other word the situational elements necessary for the concretization are missing from the document. Therefore the charges against Miklós Hagyó which are related to the Nokia-box do not fulfil completely the requirements of the legal criminal procedure, which would ensure that the prosecution be brought only based on proven and concrete facts of the case filed accordingly in the Indictment. However, there are issues concerning the provability of the indictment, as the interrogatees reported the influence of the investigatory statements.

2015. november 25., szerda

The Magical Nokia-box - part 14

Why was the BKV lawsuit reassigned – twice – to Kecskemét?

The new Fundamental Law of Hungary granted Tünde Handó, president of the National Office for the Judiciary, the right to (re)assign the BKV-case to the Court of Kecskemét famous for giving unreasonably severe court decisions. According to the plans the judgement would be passed in the peak period of the campaign, 2014. The plan itself failed, however the BKV-case resulted in a “legal horror story”. Although the Constitutional Court stated that the reassignment of the case violated the law, the courts involved began passing the BKV-case to each other until it finally got back to Kecskemét again.

Was the possibility of the reassignment of lawsuits involved in the law because of the BKV-case?

Possibly, it was. The investigations in the BKV-case were already ongoing, when in 2011 the pro-government two-thirds of the parliament defined the term “case with high priority” in the Criminal Procedure Code. The related legislation made it possible that cases with high priority be assigned to a court by the responsible Prosecutor’s Office or referring to workload the president of the court could drop these cases. Since the Constitutional Court prevented that the Fidesz related Péter Polt, Chief Prosecutor, could assign the case to a court, another solution was produced.

The Magical Nokia-box - part 13

Did also the indictment contain the Nokia-boxes?

At the beginning of 2012 the prosecution was brought. The Nokia-box count was based on exclusively and solely Zsolt Balogh’s contradictory statements. The indictment of course contains the case of the Nokia-boxes, however interestingly the Nokia-boxes themselves are not mentioned. In the indictment issued carelessly and inaccurately has a reference only to the 15-15 million forints which was delivered to Hagyó on a yearly basis. Any other details on the location, the time or other circumstances are not mentioned in it. The term „Nokia-box” does not occur in the text at all.

What does the indictment exactly say about the Nokia-box?

Literally the following:
Miklós Hagyó, first accused, as the Deputy Lord Mayor of Urban Management and Asset Management of the Budapest Municipality, abusing his official position in March 2008 instructed Zsolt József Balogh, fourth accused, as the Chief Executive Officer of the BKV to deliver 15 million forints to him on a yearly basis.

The Magical Nokia-box - part 12

Did the Nokia-box case influence the municipality elections?

Of course, it did – Hagyó was suspected of the Nokia-boxes five week before the municipality elections. This was also the time when the records on the confrontation leaked out, which brought back the same public mood as before parliamentary elections. In fall – just like previously in spring before the parliamentary elections - the Nokia-box became a campaign topic again. Beginning a new wave of their attacks they used the BKV-severance pays as weapons. Later more socialist politicians were charged. The then mainly liberal and socialist Budapest failed. Although it has been revealed that the Nokia-box charges are false, the truth cannot change the results of the elections.

When and how did the record on Balogh and Hagyó’s confrontation leak out?

Again the timing of the right wing was careful and precise. The record on the police confrontation came to light during the campaign period of the elections. And although it is obvious it should be pointed out that the Magyar Nemzet did publish it under the following title “I live in fear of death by you, Miklós!”. Of course, the fact that the BKV-case was picked up again might have influenced the municipality elections as it might have done the parliamentary elections.

2015. november 2., hétfő

Péter Ottoné Szabadvári dr. - Her role in BKV-case

We do not know much of Szabadváriné’s carrier. You cannot find her CV on the internet or her exact date of birth and there is no information on her studies. The only thing which we know for sure is that she played a significant role in the BKV-case as the head of department of the Special and Economic Affairs of the Metropolitan’s Prosecutor’s Office.

She also took part in other metropolitan investigations in 2010. After this, she became one of the senior advisors of István Tarlós. However, she took this position under her husband’s family name, which seems to be logical if we take into consideration her doubtful cases.  

2015. szeptember 15., kedd

The prosecutor getting Hagyó into custody is also one of Tarlós’s chief advisors

The former prosecutor who succeeded to have the former Deputy Lord Mayor of MSZP in custody appears on the list of Tarlós’s advisors by the name of her husband’s with a monthly salary of 850 thousand forints. Former counter intelligence agents and police officers involved in the BKV-case are employed by the capital city, as well.

One of the Lord Mayor’s most well-paid chief advisors is Péter Ottóné Szabadvári dr. The lawyer currently using his husband’s name at the City Hall worked as prosecutor by the name of Katalin Vámos: she was involved not only in the Hagyó-case but also in proceedings against more executives in Budapest. Her name also appears in cases of breach of state-secrets and in the cases in connection with the UD Ltd. She is not the only one who took a role in these cases and became employed by the capital after Tarlós had been elected.

The former prosecutor can be hardly recognized

On the salary list published by the Origo a couple of weeks ago the most well-paid advisor in the 14-member advisory team appears by the name of her husband, Péter Ottóné Szabadvári dr. The chief advisor working as special referee for a monthly salary of 850 thousand forints was identified by the Origo as the former prosecutor who had played an important role in the Hagyó-case.

The Prosecutor’s Office also has disbelief in the story of the Nokia-box.

At the trial of the BKV-case on Tuesday, the prosecution also arrived at the conclusion that the main count against Miklós Hagyó – the receipt of the bribes hidden in the Nokia-box - could not be substantiated any more after the only incriminatory testimony had been unsaid before the court. Interestingly, the prosecution initiated the related investigation only after bringing charges against the former Deputy Lord Mayor of MSZP.

The most serious count of the indictment against Miklós Hagyó, former Deputy Lord Mayor of MSZP, seems to be refuted in the lawsuit heard at the Court of Kecskemét.

The count against Hagyó was based on Zsolt Balogh’s, former Chief Executive Officer of the BKV’s, contradictory statements made earlier during the investigatory phase. 

The statements made on the bribes delivered in the Nokia-box and becoming well-known in 2010 were unsaid by Balogh during an earlier phase of the lawsuit in 2012. This year he asked Hagyó for his apologize at the trial, furthermore he claimed: he had never delivered money to Hagyó, either in a Nokia-box or any other way. On Tuesday at the trial the prosecution admitted that the statements on the Nokia-box could not be proved.

2015. augusztus 18., kedd

The Magical Nokia-box - part 11

Was Hagyó accused of the nokia-boxes as well?

Yes, he was, but the accusation was unfounded and made long after Balogh’s testimony and Hagyó’s arrest. During his custody, he was not inquired about the nokia-boxes at all. Hagyó and Balogh were confronted on September 14, 2015. Hagyó stated that he has never received money from Balogh, however Balogh kept to his story and refused to answer to any questions. At that time, Balogh was already defended by István Szabó Dr., who was referred to as “the lawyer of the Fidesz” in the media.

When was Hagyó accused of the nokia-box?

He was accused of the box only on August 30, 2010 although Balogh made his first statement about the boxes in March. A whole season passed. Moreover, Hagyó was not inquired in relation with the boxes during his custody.

The Magical Nokia-box - part 10

How did the parliamentary elections affect Hagyó’s nokia-box case?

A couple of minutes after the National Assembly had been established, Hagyó was arrested at his home. He was handcuffed despite the fact that he had declared his intention to cooperate to the police in advance in writing, furthermore there was no intent to escape shown. Hagyó was remanded in custody which was prolonged three times without – all together for 9 months - considerable justification by Mária Szívós and the prosecution led by Imre Keresztes. Hagyó turned to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for remedy. Meanwhile he was also accused of being in an unlawful relationship with his partner. They decided in his favor in both the cases.

What were the reasons for Hagyó’s custody?

The related orders usually referred to the intent to escape and hide as the reasons for Hagyó’s keeping in custody. His custody was prolonged by Mária Szívós basically simply repeating the same reasons. Hagyó finally spent all together 9 months in custody based on rather doubtful reasons.

The Magical Nokia-box - part 9

How did the Nokia-box effect the parliamentary elections?

The smear campaign against Hagyó had significant role in the two-thirds victory. The new Fidesz-led government appointed Tünde Handó as the president of the National Office for the Judiciary, Péter Polt as the Chief Prosecutor of Hungary, Mária Szívós as signatory judge, furthermore they established their authority over the media with the help of the media law. As the Nokia-box had an influence on the election, the election also had an effect on the Nokia-box case, as the above mentioned appointees played a significant role in the progress of the BKV- and Hagyó-case.

Thanks to the Nokia-box legend has the left-party been associated with corruption?

Yes, it has. After Zsolt Balogh’s statement the whole nation was shocked. At the time of the 2010’s election the Nokia-box became the symbol of corruption in the public awareness. The idea of a corrupt, left-liberal and rotten government developed by the right-party related media seemed to be proved for people criticizing the Gyurcsány-government. As a result of the smear campaign the left-party not only lost the elections, but Fidesz was able to obtain the two-thirds majority.

2015. augusztus 17., hétfő

The Magical Nokia-box - part 8

How did the press pick up the story of the „Nokia-box”?

One month before the parliamentary elections Zsolt Balogh begun to give interviews about the Noki-box, but only to the right –party related media. First, in the Magyar Nemzet, later on the Hír-TV the smear campaign continued. The Nokia-box, however, became more and more magic, since the former Chief Executive Officer’s statements on the exact source of the money and the circumstances of the delivery itself were changing day by day. These contradictions were never spotted by the investigators, although they were the only one aware of all the versions of the same story. For the audience only the official statements were available. By this time Balogh’s incriminatory statements were considered to be facts.

When was the first time when Zsolt Balogh talked about the Nokia-box?

The first “out-coming” took place one month before the parliamentary elections. 6 March 2010 the full interview done by the righ-party media appeared in the Magyar Nemzet with the title “I handed over the money to Hagyó in a Nokia-box…”

The Magical Nokia-box - part 7

Did the BRFK proceed correctly in the BKV case?

During the trial of the BKV case the accused claimed one by one that their testimonies  - incriminating both themselves and the other accused, primarily Hagyó – were given under coercion. Some of the accused called the procedure a show-trial, others simply described the incident as a political showdown.

Does it mean that before the court the accused and the witnesses gave different testimonies from the ones they had given to the investigators?

Yes, it does. What is more, the testimonies heard at the trial in Kecskemét are in a sharp conflict with the ones given in the investigation period. The vast majority of the main defendants and witnesses unsaid their testimonies given in the investigation period and they gave a new testimony before the court. The testimonies incriminating others were stated to have been given as a result of police threat, in exchange for their release, under humiliating circumstances, furthermore they had been given under direction and coercion.

The Magical Nokia-box - part 6

When did BRFK start the investigation?

Although there were no condemning investigations at BKV before 2008, BRFK entered the campaign in 2010. One day after Hagyó resigned from BKV’s supervisory board Gábor Tóth police chief informed the transporting company about continuing criminal procedure. Police initiated the arrest of Szalainé 90 days prior to the elections and kept on accusing BKV persons. The investigation landed in the hands of Hagyó’s former political rival: György Pető used his position to recruit managers of some companies owned by the capital before the municipality elections, who were supposed to be informants to the police.

There were really no condemning internal investigations at BKV?

Really there were not. Two internal investigations stated in 2008 that all the contracts of the affected period are ok. Supervisory Board accepted the investigation of the Internal Supervisory Department on October 16, 2008 with respect to that those reports contained the entire advisory circle and there were no ascertainments that would have requested further steps to take. The general meeting of 2008 accepted Zsolt Tiba’s report (capital clerk) with the attachments which were reports on the contracts between BKV and AAM Zrt.

The Magical Nokia-box - part 5

How did Hagyó react to the scandal?

The press was emphasizing that BKV-case would be Hagyó’s downfall. Fulfilling MSZP’s request the Deputy Mayor resigned from his positions. He said that he did not want to weaken the left-wing with his own battle. He also added that time and justice are good friends and he could face with both of them.

Why did Hagyó fulfill the request of the capital presidency?

 The politician said that he did not want to weaken the left-wing with his own battle.

2015. augusztus 15., szombat

The Magical Nokia-box - part 4

Who wins with the scandal?

The case came in handy to FIDESZ before the elections. They turned almost immediately to the Attorney General, 6 days after the scandal burst out. Everyone who may be familiar with the Hungarian political situation knew that BKV-case was very important with regard to the 2010 national elections. Hagyó resigned from BKV supervisory board in August, 2009. MSZP announced that they trust in the innocence of the Deputy Mayor but on the contrary they asked Hagyó in February, 2010 - in the middle of the election campaign - to resign from every title he had.

 If MSZP trust in Hagyó’s innocence, why did they have him resigned?

Knowing the position fights inside MSZP it is not surprising that the national management did everything possible to shrivel Hagyó from the fourth place of the regional list. They were insinuating and leaking in the press however they claimed Hagyó to resign only when it was published that two BKV managers took incriminating testimony against him.

The Magical Nokia-box - part 3

What exploded the BKV-scandal?

 Let’s jump back until July 23, 2009 when BKV-scandal exploded in connection with the dismissal pay of Szalainé Szilágyi Eleonóra, former HR director. Hagyó, who was on vacation at that time, immediately ordered an investigation in this case. According to Magyar Nemzet daily BKV concluded unnecessary contracts and paid excessive dismissal pays. Now we are aware of the fact the BKK still concludes these kinds of contracts so far. Of course the press barely wright about this and nobody has been arrested accordingly. 

What did experts say about the necessity of the contracts?

 Nothing. The prosecutor’s office considered these contracts as unnecessary and surplus so incriminated them. The prosecutor’s office did not ask experts to write their opinion. The indictment declared as fact – without experts’ opinion – that BKV’s marketing activity was totally unnecessary as the company was in monopoly position. On top of all that it was Hagyó who pointed at the unprofessional argument of the prosecutor’s office during the court trial. He namely asked the question that “who has transport engineering, metropolis public transportation-logistics and communication or marketing skills in the prosecutor’s office so he can decide and establish such a serious declaration?”.

2015. augusztus 13., csütörtök

The Magical Nokia-box - part 2

How did the money jump into the Magic box?

Nokia box is magical because every time the money jumped into it in different ways. Firstly Balogh accused Synergon that the company paid royalty to Hagyó and he gave over the half of the 30 Million HUF bribe – of course in a Nokia box. However he stated to the press that the money was put together by managers of different companies which were close to BKV. It was not just the source of the money but the circumstances were also magically different. He took over once in a garage, in a car in another time and once he saw the content of the Box or who knows.

Then from where did the money come due to Balogh? 

One of the most magical characters of the Nokia box is that the money jumped into it every time in different ways. In his first interview to Magyar Nemzet daily on March 6, 2010 he said that BKV managers put together the money when they knew the time when Balogh delivers. This contradicts to his first testimony on February 24, 2010 when he confessed that the 2*15 Million HUF came from Synergon since the company allegedly paid royalty to Hagyó in order to win the software license tender.

2015. május 6., szerda

The nokia box story is over

The BKV case continued in Kecskemét with the screening of the confrontation between Miklós Hagyó and Zsolt Balogh on September 14, 2010. Zsolt Balogh after the hearing said: he felt that he could only stay released if he says incriminatory about Miklós Hagyó. Hagyó never ordered him into any outlawry; respectively he never gave him any money.

Before the court viewed the record in closed circle, András Kádár, the lawyer of the former deputy lord mayor asked the resume of the verdict from the European Court of Human Rights from Strasbourg in the case between Hagyó and Hungary. 

2015. február 23., hétfő

The Magical Nokia-box - part 1.

Origins of the Magic box

The Magic box opened like Pandora’s Box: Zsolt Balogh former general manager of BKV started to talk about Nokia boxes filled with 15 Million HUF in February, 2010, which he had to give over Miklós Hagyó Deputy Mayor. He had repeated this story during the investigative phase of the BKV-case but later he withdrew it in the judicial phase. 168 Óra weekly indicated Balogh with “Nokia man” attributive in September, 2009 with which it predicted the script of the BKV-case.

Miklós Hagyó

How many Nokia boxes existed according to Balogh?

Due to Balogh’s allegation he had to give over 15 Million HUF to Hagyó twice a year. For the first time the one who allegedly possessed the money sent the general manager directly to Hagyó. The handover process was justified by Hagyó in the middle of the Hévíz-lake. Then Balogh gave over the other 15 Million personally to Hagyó in a Nokia box – allegedly.