EU funds

Government politicians built unvisible “guest houses” with EU funding

We have collected a list of hunting lodges and guesthouses built using EU funding, by politicians close to the ruling party, Fidesz, and their families. The ‘village accommodation’, which appear to be family houses, are problematic because they are suspected to have been used by politicians to host themselves and their friends only, not as houses for rent as declared. In many cases, the contact details for booking accommodation were only made public after the scandals. 

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Building or renovating a house with EU money is a very good investment, as you only have to run the property as commercial accommodation for five years. After that, the owners can do what they want with it: move in, or sell it. However, there is no expectation of the return on investment in the grant conditions, thus, landlords have developed a number of ways to keep unknown guests out, and to avoid inspections.

One solution was to invite only friends or other acquaintances, for example hunters to stay. Another way to keep unwanted guests away is to advertise the property at an unrealistically high price. Furthermore, not publishing any contact details is also common. In recent years, hundreds of people have won accommodation subsidies from the EU, but it is certainly not the case that all of them have been tricked. In this collection, we collect the government-affiliated accommodation providers who have used tens of millions of euros of EU funds to build up their properties in questionable circumstances in recent years under the guise of rural tourism development.

The hounting house of the mayor of Izsák

The first in 2017 was the Fidesz mayor of Izsák, József Mondok, who was reported by as living in a hunting lodge built with EU money. One of the mayor’s companies, Mondok Ltd., applied for the funds in 2014 in a tender under the Ignác Darányi Plan – which was launched in 2012 in order to renew and develop rural areas –  where they won HUF 35 million to build a hunting lodge. The mayor was also a member of the committee that evaluated the grants.

Journalists have gathered more evidence on the case of the hunting lodge at 89 Gedeon Dune, completed in 2015. In 2017, reporters of 444 went to the house in Bács-Kiskun County, where they even photographed the mayor going to work from the hunting lodge to the town hall in the morning. The mayor was “busted” by N1TV: he that he lived in the hunting lodge by saying “Well, I live there most of the time”, and when asked who uses it, he said, “My circle of friends. I don’t allow a passage-house there.”

The hunting lodge in Izsák

The Prime Minister’s Office launched an investigation, and in June 2017 Mondok’s company had to repay the HUF 35 million grant. In January 2017, the Hungarian State Treasury found that the accommodation was being used irregularly for private purposes. The state later lost the civil case against them, so the HUF 35 million recovered was paid back to Mondok Ltd. József Mondok was not elected mayor in 2019, but when the new mayor resigned after one year, Mondok was re-elected. He died in 2020.

In January 2017, Index found another hidden hunting lodge linked to the mayor of Izsák. Another company, Agro-Wild, built a guesthouse in Karád, Somogy county, by József Mondok, with almost HUF 50 million of EU money.

State Secretary’s relatives built a hunting house in Szuha

In 2015, found out that it is impossible to book accommodation in the village of Szuha in Nógrád county, which was built in 2014 with 32 million HUF of EU funding, under the Ignác Darányi Plan.

Guesthouse Zoha

The house was built by Tasty Trade Ltd., a company related to Zsolt Szabó. The newspaper reported that he often hunts near the settlement, and his circle of friends have used the property several times. Zsolt Szabó has a number of dubious cases, and has been under investigation for years over his alleged offshore account. Zoha Guesthouse is now on, but has only six reviews.

HUF 20 million EU money for the construction of a town clerk’s house

In 2018, Atlatszo investigated how the clerk of Somogy county, Dr. Judit Sárhegyi, started her village tourism business in the Zselic Valley. The county’s town clerk built a country house as a guest inn back in 2015 and won HUF 20 million EU grant for it. She had previously become mayor of the village in 2006 under Fidesz.

Guesthouse in Zselic. Photo: Atlatszo

When asked, villagers told us that Sárhegyi only organises parties with her friends once or twice a month, but otherwise the house is empty. We were also told that there were no signs to suggest that there were any guests there, nor was there any sign that the house was subsidised.

Sárhegyi  responded to Átlátszó’s letter after the article was published, but we were not told exactly how much the money ultimately increased tourism in Szentbalázs, because its revenue is “a private matter.” The website of the guesthouse is no longer available.

Rural tourism on the main street of Mendep

The daughter of the mayor of Mende, Vivien Kaszanyi, is offering an apartment in a guest house of the village at an extremely high price (80 thousand HUF/person/night), wrote in his April post Ákos Hadházy, an independent MP. The Vivien guest house is located on the main street of Mende, between the tobacco shop and the CBA.

Vivien Kaszanyi received a HUF 50 million grant in 2018 under the heading “Development of rural tourism”, according to József Kaszanyi, independent mayor of the Pest County municipality, has been the mayor since 2010. The mayor’s name came up earlier in the horse solarium scandal, linked to the son-in-law of György Czerván, a Fidesz MP.

Gueshouse of Zsolt Becsó MP was also built with EU funding

Hollókő, located in Nógrád County, is the only village in Hungary that is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, thanks to the support of Zsolt Becsó, Member of Parliament. Direkt36 visited the property in 2016 and found no sign that it was a guesthouse. Two years later, HVG journalists tried to book accommodation in the Görbeország guesthouse, but were also unsuccessful.

Guesthouse Görbeország

A sign on the site said that the accommodation was built as part of the Ignác Darányi project with a grant of 34.4 million HUF, and that the guesthouse was operated by Vertical Art Ltd. Neighbours told that “it’s the local MP’s own house.” The owner of the company is Ara-Coeli Ltd., owned by Zsolt Becsó and his brother. However, Becsó omitted the company from his asset declaration, which he explained by saying that he did not hold an interest in the company as an individual but through another company.

The guest house is now available on There are 15 reviews, the oldest being only 2 years old.

Fidesz pastor turns former grandparents’ house into a guesthouse

Richárd Hörcsik, a Fidesz MP, protestant pastor and chairman of the European Affairs Committee of the Parliament, was suspected in 2018 of using a guest house built with EU funds for his family. He did not apply for the 18 million HUF, but the Nitor Abaúj Social Cooperative in Göncruszka, in 2015. However, family members were found in the company, which includes the brother of Richárd Hörcsik and his son.

Later, an email address for booking was posted on a sheet of paper on the door of the guest house, and a project sign was also put up in the window. According to the sign on the house, they received 18 million forints under the Ignác Darányi plan. The property,  can now be found on an accommodation site, but neighbours told HírTV that the family is the main users of the house.

Contructions of mayor’s wives were also EU-funded

Ildikó Garainé Bajnok received 34.7 million forints in EU funding to build a guest house on Császta Hill in Edelény, Magyar Nemzet reported in 2017. Her husband, Bertalan Garai, was vice-president of the Fidesz organisation in Edelény and is currently Fidesz mayor of the neighbouring village of Lak.

The Guest House is located next to the “beer house” of Oszkár Molnár, the former Fidesz mayor of Edelény, which the newspaper wrote a week earlier that it was more of a weekend house than a fruit processing factory, and its products were not known in the village. It was also built using EU money.

Fidesz MP caught just in time in Géberjén

In the autumn of 2020, wrote that Sándor Kovács, Fidesz MP for Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County, had used HUF 60 million in non-refundable subsidies to create tourism investments on his estate. For example, the Tündérmező Guesthouse was built with EU funding.

Guesthouse Tündérmező

The problem in this case was that, although the money was not officially given to the politician, it was used to build a guesthouse on his property. Journalists also found out that five years were not enough to register the supposedly different owners in the land registry.

The government politician said he had nothing to do with the tourist facilities, he had only given the land so that a company owned by his son and an association run by his wife could build on it. The MP only settled the ownership issue after the article appeared. The case had no legal consequences, and the National Tax and Custom Administration (NAV) closed the investigation in June 2021.

Translated by Zita Szopkó. The original, Hungarian version was written by Szilvia Zsilák and is available here.

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