Hungary by atlatszo.hu
Massive broker scandal transcends party lines
Although the recent broker scandal that has become synonymous with the Quaestor brokerage and its owner Csaba Tarsoly is widely considered to have strong ties to the political elite currently in power, there is nevertheless plenty of evidence to show that both sides of the aisle have been involved. The fraud is of an enormous scale and has led to several fortunes simply evaporating.
The Quaestor brokerage scandal is still far from being resolved, many investors are looking for their money and it is also still unclear what kind of inside information was available that allowed state agencies to withdraw their investment before the crackdown.
The extensive review of the investigative documents together with press access to new testimonies has shed new light on the nature of the dealings which were going on for more than a decade. Many of these ventures expose political ties to both the left and the right.
The documents show that Quaestor tried its hand in several areas. Authorities found movie and television show scripts that the company was planning to finance. It had a telecoms venture in the United States and it had money in various recreational ventures in Hungary. The common theme in all of these, is that the firm took its investors’ money, lost big, and then resorted to creative bookkeeping to cover it up. Other times money was simply moved to the now infamous 7/737 account where the owners simply took out their invested money, basically stealing it.
As we found out from market insiders who kept their eyes on Quaestor, those in the industry were very much aware that foul play was involved in the operation of the group over many years. When we asked why they never spoke up, the answer was that if they knew, than the authorities knew as well, yet they didn’t do anything. The conclusion was that Tarsoly and Quaestor were so well-connected that stepping up against them was the bigger risk.
As the years went by and the various failed investment ventures were draining money, Questor decided to acquire more money through issuing bonds, which eventually turned out to contain fictional equities.
The investigation is also strange. While the authorities came down hard on Tarsoly, his close associate, who just so happens to be dating the daughter of attorney general Peter Polt was not even interviewed.The explanation to this may lie in the fact that big chunks of the remaining Quaestor assets, including land and sports real estate, have been targeted by the oligarchy. Valuable assets are up for grabs now that Quaestor has folded. The duration and the various deals show that Tarsoly was managing his relations elegantly, making friends in different governments over the years.
Tarsoly was also behind trading houses in Moscow, and this establishes direct links to the interests of President Vladimir Putin. Yet another broad range of his relations, along with the often less successful projects that Quaestor undertook stem from the friendship and business relationships that were established through the trading house.
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