Keeping it in the family – friends and relatives of Hungarian PM do business “within” the law

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán takes good care of his supporters. This is clear from the huge amounts of centrally channeled funding that went to loyal corporations over recent years. It is hardly surprising that he takes equally good care of his family and friends. has explored the ties surrounding the Orbán family’s latest business venture, as well as the benefits enjoyed by Orbán-loyalist, the Kékessy-Lipcsey clan, who have used their influence to establish a stronghold for themselves in Hungary.

Residents in the vicinity of Gánt, Csákberény and Zámoly are about to get a new waste management facility, to be developed on a currently unused site. The designated plot for the investment is adjacent to areas under environmental protection. This, however, will in all likelihood not cause a problem given that the company undertaking the project is Nehéz Kő Kft, owned by Győző Orbán and his two sons, close relatives of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Though Orbán the elder was described as a fair negotiator by people who have known him for years, his track record doesn’t present him as much of an environmentalist.

Earlier, residents in nearby Bicske complained about vast clouds of dust coming from the Orbán family’s nearby mining sites, while his other mining facility managed to get exemption from strict environmental restrictions even though the area surrounding it is part of a bigger conservation scheme.

The main concern about the new project is that the wind will carry the dust produced at the site to the neighboring townships, causing a potential health hazard, while also slashing real estate prices and robbing dissatisfied locals of the chance to sell their property for a reasonable sum.

Ibolya Rádl, mayor of Gánt and member of Orbán’s Fidesz party gave an optimistic response when asked by, saying she is certain locals’ concerns are unfounded and that the investor will adhere to all applicable environmental regulations.

Locals have also been given the run around, with the environmental authority advocating that they too have a direct interest in the authorization of the project, since they are living next door. They only found out that something was underway when the permit issued by the authority dated January 19 was displayed next to the road leading to their land on January 30. The dates are important since the law allows a 21-day window to make complaint, nearly two weeks of which was already lost. The mayor of Zámoly said the municipality complied with its obligation and put up the notice as soon as it received the document and managed to fashion a makeshift billboard for the landowners to see. The sheet of paper is available to read on the side of a tiny section of road without any public lighting, just for those locals with perfect vision.

Meanwhile, further off in the east in the area of Tiszafüred, good friends of the Orbán family are enjoying the benefits of a new status quo which was quickly consolidated after the Fidesz party came to power in 2010.

It was already clear from the Anthrax scandal tied to City Farm Kft that prominent government members haven’t forgotten their roots and are ready to help if the situation so demands – two members of the current cabinet come from the area. This is also home turf for friend and former business partner of the Orbáns, Georges Kékessy and his associate and distant relative György Lipcsey. The two first established formal business ties in 2005. This led to the creation of an extensive network of ownership interests and managerial positions in several companies, all held by various members of the two families, with sons, daughters and nephews coming into the picture one after another. Even a familiar name, István Garancsi comes up as a co-owner of a Kékessy agricultural venture.

György Lipcsey earned some national fame when he became a low-level defendant in a scandal in a Budapest district involving fraud and embezzlement. The mayor of the district was arrested and was charged with criminal offences. This came in 2011, a year after Lipcsey successfully ran for office for the Tiszafüred assembly. He immediately resigned from his post but didn’t stay off the state payroll for long. Starting 2012, he held a position in the county development council and is now the deputy chief executive for the state tourism promotion agency starting 2014. His wife succeeded him in his state council post.


The original articles in Hungarian were published on 2nd February 2015 and 4th February 2015.