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25th April, 2018

EC hopes to reclaim Ft 13bn from Elios contracts

The European Commission is holding talks with Hungarian authorities on how large a fine Hungary will have to pay for serious irregularities in awarding EU-funded public procurement contracts to public lighting company Elios, anonymous sources told Népszava.

In checking 35 public lighting projects OLAF, the EU Anti-Fraud Office, found organised fraud in 17 tenders.

Elios was owned at the time by the prime minister’s son-in-law, István Tiborcz.

OLAF proposes withdrawing the entire sum of EU subsidies granted, a total of Ft 13 billion.

Staff from the EC directorate general for regional policy have contacted Hungarian government officials in recent months after analysing OLAF’s findings. Their talks now are primarily about how large a fine Hungary will have to pay.

The EC wants Hungary to repay all of the funds granted to any project in which a verified fraud was committed, while other irregularities entail minor fines. The consultations could take many months.

Sources regularly consulted, with abbreviations used in text: Népszabadság (N); Magyar Hírlap (MH); Világgazdaság (VG); Napi Gazdaság (NG); Magyar Nemzet (MN); Népszava (Nsz); Kossuth Rádió news (KR); nightly TV news (TV).

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