10 million euros paid into firm of key figures behind purported Budapest city hall scandal
Atlatszo has found evidence of unbalanced capital reserve payments in the sum of 10 million euros in Southblaze Kft., a Hungarian company. Russian-Hungarian oligarch Ruslan Rahimkulov, and mysterious businessman Péter Zentai — both key figures behind the purported Budapest city hall scandal — both hold an interest in the firm. The company denies a hidden transfer of cash took place.
Russian-Hungarian oligarch Ruslan Rahimkulov paid the bigger part of 10 million euros in capital reserve into a firm in which mysterious businessman Péter Zentai, and Viktor Huszár — vice president at porn tycoon György Gattyán’s political party — also hold an interest.
Rahimkulov and Zentai are both key players in the so called Budapest city hall scandal, which revolves around sound recordings made in secret of several meetings, that were leaked to the media allied with Orbán’s Fidesz party in edited form. The recordings purportedly constitute evidence that the leadership of the municipality of Budapest — who belong to PM Viktor Orbán’s opposition — wants to sell the building of the city hall, a plan denied by mayor Gergely Karácsony.
Two meetings recorded in secret played were initiated by various parties said to be representing Ruslan Rahimkulov, who — along with his Russian-born father Megdet and brother Timur — belong to the richest family residing in Hungary. Rahimkulov representatives reached out to both former PM Gordon Bajnai and Balázs Barts, the head of the Budapest property holding company to hold exploratory talks on a possible deal, chased by the Rahimkulov side, that would involve the building — participants of the meetings later said. Péter Zentai reportedly took part in both meetings, and was one of the main drivers of the conversation.
Átlátszó has now revealed that in February 2021 — before the meetings happened — 10 million euros were paid into the capital reserve of a freshly established company in which both Rahimkulov and Zentai hold an indirect stake. This sum dwarfs the share capital of a mere 8500 euros for the company, Southblaze Kft. Also, the make-up of the capital reserve payments strongly differ from ownership ratios.
Rahimkulov, who indirectly owns 25 percent of Southblaze, paid 7 million euros in the capital reserve. Zentai, who also owns a 25 percent, paid nothing. The remaining 50 percent of Southblaze is held by a firm in which Viktor Huszár, the vice president of porn tycoon György Gattyán’s new political party holds a stake. This company paid 3 million euros in the capital reserve.
The sums paid in do not represent a hidden transfer of wealth, Southblaze wrote to Átlátszó. Soutblaze also wrote that there is a business rationale explaining the make-up of the payments, but it constitutes confidential information. However, a person speaking for Huszár admitted to Átlátszó on the phone, that the transaction can be characterised as ‘given cash by the Russian oligarch’.
According to Southblaze, the cash paid in is part of the purchase price for a real estate at Váci út 152-158. in Budapest. Incidentally, the same building housed one of meetings recorded in secret as part of the city hall ‘scandal’, that was attended by former PM Gordon Bajnai, Ruslan Rahimkulov and Péter Zentai, among others.
In our previous article we have traced the business network behind a new political party that was recently founded by billionaire businessman György Gattyán, and his business partner, Viktor Huszár. We found out that the new party’s vice-president has several business ties to the Rahimkulovs:
Vice-president of a Hungarian porn tycoon’s new political party does business with a wealthy Russian family in Budapest
A new political party was recently founded by billionaire businessman György Gattyán, and his business partner, Viktor Huszár, who has been appointed as vice-president. We’ve traced the business network behind him, and found out that the new party’s vice-president has several business ties to a wealthy Russian family, the Rahimkulovs.
Translated by Márton Sarkadi Nagy. The original, more detailed Hungarian version of this article was written by Márton Sarkadi Nagy and Szilvia Zsilák, and can be found here. Company data provided by Opten Kft. Cover photo: Flóra Anna Jeney.