Exposed for renting it cheaply, Finance Minister buys luxury villa at Lake Balaton
Finance Minister Mihály Varga’s asset declaration recently revealed that he is in the process of buying a 200 square metre property on Lake Balaton. In February, Átlátszó revealed that the Finance Minister was renting the house at a bargain price of just HUF 150 000 (EUR 380) a month. Now we have looked at the title deeds of the 200-square-metre luxury villa with a swimming pool, and it turns out that Mihály Varga and his wife are already listed as the owners. The house is owned by Gyenes Resort Ltd. and the company had no other income last year. It looks as if the company was only maintained so that Varga could rent the villa. This time, the Finance Minister did not respond to Átlátszó’s inquiry, and we could not find any explanation as to the source of the finance minister and his wife’s funding for the purchase of the valuable property.
In February, we exposed that Finance Minister Mihály Varga and his family rent a 200-square-metre luxury house with a garden and swimming pool on Lake Balaton for 150 000 forints a month. The finance minister himself drew attention to the rental of the property after he listed it in his asset declaration. So we found out exactly where and under what conditions he is renting the property. The house is owned by Gyenes Resort Ltd., whose owner’s other companies have won several public contracts in the past. A company owned by the Honorary Kazakh Consul László Horváth participated in the foundation of the company.
After we published that Varga could rent a luxury villa at a bargain price, the Minister responded to our calculations in a Facebook post, in which he said his rent is in line with the market price. Real estate experts and property advertisements tell otherwise: the market price would be at least the triple of what the Minister is paying.
According to the 2021 financial report of Gyenes Resort Ltd., which has just been filed, the company has no other income and is apparently only being maintained so that Varga can rent the luxury villa.
According to his asset declaration, Finance Minister Mihály Varga is renting a 204-square-metre holiday home in Gyenesdiás since 2020. Átlátszó has found out where the property is located, and that it is linked to an entrepreneur close to the government.
The latest declarations of Cabinet Members’ assets have been published in May. Mihály Varga’s declaration revealed that he is “in progress” of buying the rented property in Gyenesdiás this year. We looked at the title deeds of the house to see how the process was going. The land registry document shows Mihály Varga and his wife as owners since 27 April. We contacted the Finance Minister to find out how much the property was bought for, but this time he did not respond.
We also wanted to know why Mihály Varga decided to buy it. He could have rented the house worth HUF 169 million for almost 100 years. Looking through the real estate ads, the current price of the luxury villa is around HUF 200 million (EUR 500 000).
According to the title deed, Varga and his wife bought the holiday home together. As his wife’s assets are not publicly declared, all we know is that Varga has savings of HUF 38 million.
It is not known how the wife managed to pay for half of the villa in Gyenesdiás. The mother of four would have had to pay at least 84.5 million forints according to the ownership shares.
Translated by Szilvia Zsilák. The original, more detailed Hungarian version of this article was written by Szilvia Zsilák and Eszter Katus, and can be found here. Cover image: Mihály Varga’s rented house on Lake Balaton on public Google Maps images.