Wealthy businessman locked in loan deal quagmire
One of Hungary’s wealthiest citizens has provided a hefty loan to a person promising to provide top-of the-line electric car technology. The story quickly unravels into a confusing network of cross-accusations with the participants mutually accusing each other in the €150,000 affair that is now under police investigation.
Gabor Szeles is an industrialist, listed among Hungary’s top five wealthiest individuals and one of the most influential people in the country. Recently, he became involved in a criminal investigation for giving €150,000 to Laszlo Acs, who promised to provide top-quality innovative electronic automotive technology as collateral.
The collateral for the amount was the manufacturing license and some prototypes of a new car design. Acs claimed this was worth €300,000, as such, the business magnate was confident that he was safe in entering the deal.
As it turned out, when Acs was called upon to transfer the collateral upon failing to make the payments due, he did not comply. Technically, there were no legally determined deadlines for him to do so since there was no mention in the contract. However, Szeles escalated the matter and went to the authorities with a fraud charge.
Our investigation into the matter revealed a quagmire with all parties involved blaming someone else, while claiming they were the party who was somehow wronged.
As it turns out Acs apparently lacked the formal authorization of the license owner Laszlo Sandor Horvath to engage in the kind of deal he signed with Szeles. Acs was allegedly contracted by the inventor, who was living abroad, to find investors for the manufacture of his electric car design. When Szeles called on Acs to settle the termination of their agreement, Acs announced that he had no means of repaying the loan and also lacked the means to transfer the items that served as collateral. This was when Szeles filed the criminal charge.
As Acs told us, he refused to hand over the vehicles, since he was concerned that Szeles would sell them. Acs, who happens to be the head of a non-parliamentary green political party, asserted that he had done nothing wrong. He did not understand Szeles’s outrage in the matter, which he said could have been resolved in a civil dispute without involving the police.
Acs also stated that the man who came up with the idea of the loan deal in the first place, Balazs Toth, had unilaterally taken over his party’s website. As Horvath told us, Toth had already made efforts to acquire various electric auto models and designs, and he was the one who recommended Acs as a middle-man to approach investors. Toth said he was working with Acs, helping out for his party when employees left, and this is why he had access to their internet domains. He also alleged that his business relations with Acs involved him offering the setting up of a loan in return for a payout.
The matter is currently under investigation, without any clear indication where it will lead.