Felcsút Travel Club

PM Viktor Orbán and the oligarchs’ private jet visited Paris simultaneously

Viktor Orbán and the private plane OE-LEM, which is linked to the „national capitalist class” of Hungary, appeared in Paris at the same time last weekend of the champions league final. According to photos posted on Facebook and Twitter, the prime minister was in talks with French far-right leader Marine Le Pen, but only AFP pictures show that he was also attending the Champions League final. We asked the Prime Minister’s Office when and how Viktor Orbán travelled abroad, but they did not respond.

In Hungary it was not widely reported that the Hungarian prime minister was indulging in his hobby and watching the Champions League final on site, but AFP photographed Viktor Orbán in the VIP box at the Stade de France in Paris on 28 May 2022.

The French news agency’s pictures show him standing next to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy during the Real Madrid-Liverpool match. On his Facebook page, Viktor Orbán did not report this, only his meeting with French far-right leader Marine Le Pen on 27 May.

A day later, the luxury OE-LEM jet took off from Budapest for Paris, landing in the morning. The private plane returned to Budapest on 29 May. This was also reported by NERtravel, our Twitter application for the politically connected aircraft and yachts tracker.

It is not known exactly who travelled by the Austrian-registered private jet – of which Lőrinc Mészáros, László Szíjjj and the Prime Minister himself were photographed earlier. In any case, we have asked the Prime Minister’s Office when and how Viktor Orbán travelled to Paris over the weekend. By the time of the publication of our article, they had not answered our questions.

According to Ákos Hadházy’s Facebook post, a Dassault Falcon aircraft belonging to the Hungarian Air Force landed at Le Bourget airport on Thursday afternoon (on 26 May), but returned after half an hour, so it probably just dropped off its unknown passenger.

Bertalan Havasi, the Prime Minister’s press chief, told MTI in a statement on Sunday that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had attended the Champions League final on Saturday evening at the invitation of the European Football Association (UEFA) and would then travel on from the French capital to Brussels. He added: “The extraordinary meeting of the European Council will be held in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday, at which the heads of state and government will discuss, among other things, the protracted war in Ukraine, the serious economic crisis it is causing and the security of energy supply” – the Magyar Hang quoted the statement as saying.

It would not be the first time

The Prime Minister has been traveling the misterious private jet once before, in 2018, when he travelled to Bulgaria for the Ludogorec-Videoton Champions League match.

The Bombardier Global 6000 luxury private jet is registered in the Austrian Air Registry under the registration number OE-LEM. Its owner is unknown and its operator is International Jet Management GmbH, a specialist Austrian company. However, the plane is parked almost permanently at Budapest airport and has been used by everyone from László Szíjjj to Lőrinc Mészáros. The new price of the private jet was 60 million US dollars, or about 17 billion forints, in 2018.

At the time, Bulgarian newspaper Standart reported that Orban had arrived in Varna, the closest airport to Ludogorec’s home city of Razgrad, in a private jet. The Bulgarian team’s website carried a short news item and a photo gallery reporting that the club’s management welcomed the Hungarian prime minister at the stadium, where he was also presented with a gift in a Ludogorec-branded bag.

Credit: Atlatszo.hu/Dániel Németh

After the match, the plane took off and arrived back at Ferihegy shortly before midnight, where Orban was photographed getting out of the private jet with a gift bag from Ludogorec management in his hand.

The incident caused quite a stir, with many people trying to find out how Orban ended up on a 17 billion HUF luxury plane. Orbán’s press secretary first said that the luxury plane was a gift from the owner of the football club Videoton, István Garancsi, and then, in response to a parliamentary question on the subject, Orbán said

„I traveled like this 30 years ago, and I will travel like this next week!”

However, the Ludogorec-Videoton match was not the only football-related trip for the private jet in question. On 21 June 2018, Viktor Orban traveled to Nizhny Novgorod, where Argentina were playing Croatia in the second round of Group D of the World Cup. And on 15 July, the luxury jet travelled to Moscow, where the World Cup final was taking place. It was reported in the press at the time that Prime Minister Viktor Orban was on hand to watch the match and even met Russian President Vladimir Putin that day.

Written and translated by Eszter Katus, the Hungarian version of this story is available here.

Cover photo: The OE-LEM Bombardier private plane in Budapest (Photo credit: Szabó Imre/Jetphotos)

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