A former state secretary of the reigning political side has compiled a new report on what he claims is a scheme to pass valuable farmland to individuals close to the government. Jozsef Angyan warns that while the involved oligarchs are a tight-knit group who look out for each other for the time being, should someone fall from grace, the price will ultimately have to be paid by those at the bottom of the food chain.
The ongoing farmland auctions are targeted at creating at establishing a new feudal system and the creation of a loyal clientele – claims professor Jozsef Angyan in his latest report about the process. Angyan is actually a former state secretary of the reigning Fidesz government, but he quit and has since become an ardent critic, saying that the government is deliberately making efforts to pass on ownership of valuable farmland to those it favors.
Angyan’s latest review targeted the privatization of land in central Hungary’s Fejer county. The results show a major concentration of beneficiaries. In the county, some 19,340 hectares divided into 334 units were auctioned and bought by a total of 43 circles of interest. Lorinc Meszaros, the close ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban is one of the biggest winners. Angyan also noted that most assets went for the asking price without any real bidding that would have increased the total, in his view because the local powerful individuals already divided the bounty between themselves, while the smaller potential buyers were outpriced from the start, since the various units were already too big to be affordable for their limited budgets.
In northwest-Hungary’s Gyor-Moson- Sopron county, the widespread practices led to other aspects that ultimately had severe consequences for those on the bottom rungs. Around two-thirds of the auctioned land went to the empire of Lajos Simicska and Zsolt Nyerges, they acquired the rights to rent the areas until 2051. As it happens, the friendly relations between Simicska and Orban came to a spectacular end, and the change in favors left those on the affected areas in a state of limbo.
In these parts, Angyan’s assessment once more revealed that only a handful benefitted from the sales, many of them could be easily tied to government-friendly business interests, while others are clearly strawmen bidding from urban addresses without any prior involvement in agriculture. Another widely adopted method was for bidders to bid against themselves whenever they felt it necessary to outprice potential small-time farmers looking to ascertain land holdings.
Based on the findings Angyan concluded that the Hungarian state is actually sponsoring the theft of highly valuable assets.
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