Friends of Orban

Another huge private estate is being built by the business circle of the Prime Minister’s son-in-law

Balatonhenye is a tiny village north of Lake Balaton in a beautiful area which is a candidate for the UNESCO World Heritage List. We first showed drone recordings a year ago of a large construction project there. The estate by now has grown as large as the one owned by the Prime Minister’s father in Hatvanpuszta. The building project was started in 2019 by the CEO of the Hungarian Tourism Agency, Zoltán Guller, who afterwards passed it on to his relatives and close acquaintances. The real estate is now owned by a capital fund managed by the company of a friend of István Tiborcz, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s son-in-law. With the help of Member of Parliament Ákos Hadházy, we photographed from a small aircraft the nearly 20,000 square meter estate located in a nature reserve area.

It is easy to find the exceptionally large real estate project in Balatonhenye, a settlement that has recently become known in Hungary in connection with the summer house built by the Minister of Justice. Judit Varga and her family used millions of government subsidy – intended to support the housing of large families with children – to build this holiday home. Also, in this same village  – as we reported a year ago – there is a huge construction project which, as we quoted Ákos Hadházy, an independent Member of Parliament,

“is about the new feudalism, with a huge castle, an officer’s house, a separate bath house and and their own inn.”

Since then, the estate has almost doubled in size from the original 8992 000 square meters. According to the online database of the building authority, part of the property is a main building (739.06 m2), a summer house (107.38 m2) and a bath house (170.48 m2), and this year the owner requested permission from the Veszprém County Government Office to further expand the buildings.

Fotó: Átlátszó / Németh Dániel

The current owner of the property is Fekete-hegy Vagyonkezelő Kft., which has its headquarters in Buda, but when tried to contact them on the registered address, the central operator of the office building said they had not heard of this company. This company is owned by a capital management fund named Közép-Európai V. Magántőkealap. The ownership background of this fund is not public information, all that is known is that the company (Central European Venture and Private Equity Fund Ltd.) managing the fund is directed and 50% owned by Bálint Szécsényi, known as a friend of István Tiborcz, Viktor Orbán’s son-in-law .

The company managing the fund is registered at the same address (Budapest, Pasaréti út 122-124.) as the well-known Tiborcz interest, BDPST Zrt., a real estate developer company. The fund also owns another, recently founded company, PSRT 122 Holding Zrt. , which is also managed by Bálint Szécsényi, and is registered at the same address. This is also the address of  several further companies in the Tiborcz portfolio.

Fotó: Átlátszó / Németh Dániel

The Balatonhenye property has expanded not only with plots in the immediate vicinity of the construction site, but the project has almost “pocketed” the whole settlement. During our last visit there in January, we saw that the road leading to the estate was monitored from a car parked on the side as if it was a private road, and the building materials used for the construction were stored in the areas along this road.

The village of Balatonhenye, with under 200 inhabitants is part of the Káli Basin Landscape Protection Area and the Balaton Felvidék National Park.  The investment is surrounded by Natura 2000 protected areas, on one section the road used for the construction cuts into this protected area.

During our visit there were no workers on the construction site, for which we received a possible explanation from one of our sources: according to him, the building project is staffed by workers from Romania who could not cross the border due to the virus situation. According to our source, these guest workers were housed on the upper floor of the municipal building in rooms previously designed for tourists. The clerk in charge of renting the property confirmed by phone that the place had indeed been rented to construction workers.

Fotó: Átlátszó / Németh Dániel

In the summer of  2020 the settlement received HUF 6 million as development support for this municipally owned accommodation within the framework of the Kisfaludy Tourism Development Program. This program is supervised by the Hungarian Tourism Agency, led by Zoltán Guller, the first owner and initiator of the investment of the property discussed above.

The building contractor of the construction, Maros 35 ′ Építőipari Bt., is based in Budajenő. This company’s owner said on the phone that they plan to complete the construction by the end of the year. Through them we would have liked to ask who is the ultimate beneficial owner of the investment, but we were not given the opportunity to do so. The managing director of Fekete-hegy Vagyonkezelő Kft. did not answer our questions either.

Written by Gabriella Horn, pictures by Dániel Németh. Thanks to Ákos Hadházy for his help in taking aerial photos.  The original Hungarian article is available here.

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