Public funds

Following our lawsuit, the court ordered the release of the contracts of the troubled Csekonics Equestrian Programme

An appeal has been lodged in the case we brought against Lovassport Nonprofit Ltd. in the spring. Based on the court’s decision, the company will have to publish the contracts it has concluded under the¬†Csekonics Programme. The state provided HUF 3 billion for the equestrian programme, but the company refused to release the data, claiming that it was not handling public money and was not performing a public task. However, the courts disagreed, ruling in our favour at first and second instance.

At the end of March, we reported that the Hungarian Equestrian Federation had received HUF 3 billion in state funding under the Csekonics Equestrian Programme to help Hungarian riders compete successfully in Olympic qualification competitions. Even then it seemed that there was little chance of winning an Olympic quota, but now it is certain that the jumping riders will not qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris.

As we reported in the spring, the Csekonics, also known as the National Horse Sport and Sport Horse Breeding Development Programme officially started on 1 January 2021 and will end on 31 December 2023. The Federation has entrusted the majority of the specific tasks to the Lovassport Nonprofit Ltd to which it has transferred HUF 2.8 billion. The company is 100% owned by the Hungarian Equestrian Federation.

The programme has come under criticism in equestrian circles, mainly because of questionable professional decisions and a lack of transparency in its management.

In order to get a clearer picture, Atlatszo also tried to ask questions at the Federation, but they did not respond to our letter. We also asked the non-profit company managing the state subsidies for the contracts they had signed under the programme, but they refused to answer. They argued that the company is not obliged to provide the requested information, because the amount transferred does not constitute public money. We disagreed and decided to sue for the data, which we won in the first instance in May 2023.

In response to our request for evidence, the company presented the cooperation agreement they had concluded with the Federation, on the basis of which they are running the Csekonics Programme.

According to the judge the document was clear evidence that the Lovassport Nonprofit Ltd. was performing a public task and was therefore obliged to disclose the data.

The company appealed the decision and Atlatszo filed a counter-appeal. The case has now been decided at second instance, with the Metropolitan Court of Appeal upholding the judgment of the Metropolitan Court of First Instance.

The Lovassport Nonprofit Ltd. has to send us scanned copies of all contracts concluded from the date of its formation (15.06.2021) until the date of the data request, together with their annexes, which were financed by the central or local government budget, or by EU funds or any other budgetary allocations. In particular, the contracts of the Csekonics Programme. As soon as this happens, we will report on it.

Written and translated by Eszter Katus. More detailed Hungarian version of this story can be found here. Photo: illustration/Pixabay.com

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