Rural Hungary

Strongmen of a village were puzzled by the questions of Átlátszó, so they called the governing party

The representative of the municipality and the mayor informed the entrepreneur involved in the case, and the entrepreneur reported to the Fidesz headquarters that Átlátszó had asked why the road leading to the entrepreneur’s farm had been renovated with public money. The wiretap reports in the invoice fraud case also reveal how Gergő Bajor, a confidant of Fidesz MP Bence Rétvári, manages tender funds in Pest County.

Last year, in April we wrote about a small town near the Hungarian border and its strongman, Zoltán Hetei. Mr Hetei, who used to organise events in Esztergom, moved with his family to Letkés and bought a farm to keep animals. He settled in quickly and was lucky, because the road to his farm on the edge of the village was repaired by the mayor himself.

Now Hetei’s name has come up again, in a much more serious story. According to a series of articles by based on leaked investigative material, the tax authority has been investigating a tax fraud case since 2019, one of the people involved being Szabolcs Sz., alias Madár. He ran the VAT fraud department of the organisation. Szabolcs Sz’ phone was wiretapped and he was one of the invoice issuers who invoiced more than 19 billion HUF over three and a half years, which is how Zoltán Hetei came into the picture, with whom he often consulted by phone. One of Hetei’s companies, Moriani Consulting Kft., was a profiteer in the transactions, according to the National Tax and Customs Administration (NAV).

Gergő helps wherever he can

Hetei’s phone calls were also wiretapped as part of the investigation into the invoice fraud case. The wiretap report reveals that the entrepreneur had been using a telephone number registered with Fidesz to negotiate a tender.

The entrepreneur had made several calls to a man called Gergő. On 11 January, G. called Mr Hetei from a telephone number registered to the governing party Fidesz, informing him that applications for up to HUF 25 million could be submitted in the region of Szob from 1 February. Mr G. asked Mr Hetei to check whether they could apply, because “it is unpleasant when it turns out afterwards that there is a technical problem or something is wrong.” He then informs G. that they have not yet decided which company they will apply with, but that they will buy things for the zoo. G then says: “We’d be happy to help, I just need a company name this week.” According to the transcript, Hetei “thanks him graciously”.

According to the minutes, this phone number was used by Gergő Bajor, secretary of the KDNP parliamentary group and also close associate of Bence Rétvári, the MP for the region.

He consulted with Bajor about several things, and Hetei even reported a family from Letkés, who are not only criticising the current system and the governing party, Fidesz, but are also unhappy with the vaccination campaign related to the coronavirus pandemic.

On 17 February, Bajor asked if the application to the tender had been submitted, as it was about to expire. Hetei informed G. by SMS that the application was being uploaded and thanked him for his help. He also informed his wife.

But he did not forget to inform Bajor that Atlatszo had approached the mayor of Letkés about a road renovation project that also affected Hetei.

Less than 2 months later, Hetei informed his wife that they had received the HUF 25 million. “The former is acknowledged with boredom by K.” – says the report.

All roads lead to the Széppatak farm

Hetei was very lucky, the municipality won money in 2020 to renovate two roads, and one of them leads visitors to his port. The farmhouse is far away from everything, but that didn’t stop the mayor, Tamás Huszák, from designating it as the one to be renovated, during the emergency, by single-handedly selecting the roads to be renovated.

Last year, we asked the mayor why he had chosen to renovate a road leading to nowhere on the outskirts of the town. At the time, he explained that a zoo and a guest house would be built in the area, with the help of local workers, so the road renovation would help create jobs. A year later, wiretap reports published by revealed that Zoltán Hetei was not only involved in animal breeding, but was also in contact with Szabolcs Sz., and thus came to the attention of the tax authorities.

The former rally driver was particularly active in Esztergom, where two of his companies (Moriani Kft. and Baunsback Hungary Kft.) were supported by the local municipality. Although we called several MPs to find out how much they agreed with the renovation of the sparsely used road, no one wanted to speak out on the matter. The wiretap transcripts show that several people had spoken to Hetei about our inquiry.

Mayor Tamás Huszák did not want to comment on the matter, but he also informed Hetei of our request.

Then the mayor wrote the reply letter and sent it to Hetei for checking.

It seems that the entrepreneur was satisfied, because he praised the mayor and suggested some changes.

Hetei  later happily informs Szabolcs Sz. that he has become a representative of the municipality (replacing a resigned representative) and mentions our story by saying that he will go to his first council meeting wearing a Winnie the Pooh T-shirt, because of the honey pot.

Although we contacted the mayor of Letkés, Tamás Huszák, he could not remember what kind of clothes Zoltán Hetei wore when he finally arrived at the meeting.

Translated by Zita Szopkó. The original, Hungarian version of this story was written by Zsuzsa Zimre and can be found here. Cover Photo: Fidelitas Vác / Facebook

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