Political advisor’s company gets rights to operate exclusive tourist site

A former advisor to state secretary Zoltán Illés at the Ministry for Rural Development co-owns the company which recently signed a contract for the management of Budavári Labirintus (a well known cave and tourist attraction in the Buda castle). The agreement between the company and the authority supervising the site (Duna-Ipoly Nemzeti Park Igazgatóság) was formed  behind the curtains. The advisor was recently laid off from his position, but the contract was not terminated.

All caves are owned by the state in Hungary, with the directorates of  respective National Parks in charge of their management, and the regional  environmental authorities deciding on what the caves can be used for. Many of these caves are  protected (to different degrees) which means certain restrictions.

Róbert Tamási (formerly a local council representative in Budapest’s 1st disrict where Budavári Labirintus is located) is probably the best connected of all „cave-entrepreneurs” in Hungary: until the end of 2011 he was employed at the Ministry for Rural Development (in charge of environmental issues as well) as an advisor to state secretary Zoltán Illés. Mr Illés also supervises regional environmental authorities thus may be able to have an influence on decisions made on „cave –related” cases.

It is not known whether the state secretary had actually put pressure on ministry officials, the directorate of the National Park or the regional authority in the case of Budavári Labirintus. Yet, it is a fact that  the directorate of the National Park in question (Duna-Ipoly Nemzeti Park) signed a contract with Róbert Tamási (employed at the ministry at the time) on the 1st of September  2011 with Grotta Kft. (a company partially owned by Tamási) for the operation of  the cave site.

The ministry stated that Róbert Tamási’s employment was ended when the state secretary found out about his partial ownership of Grotta Kft., but the contract in question was not terminated.

>>> Proceed to the article in Hungarian here