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12th September, 2019

NAV did not investigate fraudulent Microsoft deals

NAV, the tax authority, did not conduct any internal investigation into its Microsoft software purchase contracts signed in 2014, officials told independent MP Akos Hadhazy.

The NAV gave no further information as to whether it is engaged in other investigations linked to the Microsoft corruption scandal.

The US Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission fined Microsoft a total of $25 million after finding that a senior Microsoft executive and other employees at the Hungarian office took part in a scheme to provide kickbacks in connection with Microsoft software licenses sold to Hungarian government agencies, including the NAV, during 2013-15.

Ferenc Vagujhelyi, the IT director of NAV in 2013-15, has been head of the National Communications and IT Board since November 21, 2015.

Ildiko Vida, who was involved in the US entry ban scandal, was the head of the NAV during the period in question.

The NAV also admitted that it was in direct contact with the Microsoft subsidiary, rather than with distributors. This kind of direct link is banned by Microsoft’s internal rules.

Peter Tiborcz, the brother of Istvan Tiborcz, joined NAV as head of the IT development department in 2014.

He was in charge when a Ft 750 million portion of an ongoing Microsoft order was signed. (hvg.hu; nepszava.hu; index.hu; napi.hu)
12th September, 2019

Hackers wipe out EU fund data

A hacker attack wiped out all of the data on servers belonging to the Hungarian Development Centre (MFK) in the middle of July, weekly 168 Ora reports.

As backups were stored on the same servers, all of the MFK data has been destroyed.

The MFK, set up in 2014, is a government agency engaged in obtaining EU subsidies directly from the European Structural and Investment Funds. It monitors EU tender applications and helps applicants to file bids.

It is the MFK’s task to inform the public administration, local government, corporate and civil sectors about available resources and the terms of the applications. The MFK operates a Hungarian-language website about EU structural fund tenders.

Technical director Denes Debreczeny said North Korean hackers had attacked the servers.

The Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry, which runs the MFK, did not respond to requests for information.

The Hungarian Rugby Association also lost all of its data, which was stored on the MFK servers because MFK chief Antal Kiss is also the president of the Association.

Debreczeny added that Kiss went on a one-month pilgrimage in Spain ending on August 15. This did not help to resolve the situation, the weekly adds. (168ora.hu; napi.hu; portfolio.hu; index.hu; nepszava.hu)
12th September, 2019

LMP unable to field any county lists

LMP has not managed to field any county lists for the October local elections, the website 24 reports.

Fidesz is fielding lists in all 19 counties, as are the Socialists, the Democratic Coalition and Momentum, but the latter three parties are running in several places as part of a party alliance.

The Democratic Coalition is running with other parties in Heves and Komarom counties, the Socialist Party is allied with other parties in Borsod county, and Momentum has joined election alliances in Heves, Szabolcs, Borsod and Komarom counties.

Jobbik was unable to field a list in Baranya, Fejer, Pest and Veszprem counties, while Mi Hazank has fallen short in eight counties.

LMP is faring the worst as it has not a single county list.

LMP’s press department told website 24 that “Fidesz has completely emptied the county councils, so no punch can be landed on the NER,” referring to the prevailing governing system.

The party added: “We have decided not to concentrate our resources on competing with the other opposition parties at this election, but to take back as many towns as possible.”

Even the far-left Workers Party was able to compile two county lists, 24 observes. (24.hu; hvg.hu; index.hu)
12th September, 2019

Orban letter sent to pensioners

A letter has been sent from Prime Minister Viktor Orban to all pensioners drawing attention to the Ft 9,000 utility expenses voucher given to them by the government.

“I am writing to you because the Hungarian economy is doing better in 2019 and so we have made a decision affecting every pensioner positively,” the letter says.

It continues: “We are one nation, so we think that if the economy is successful, then the older generation must share its achievements. We think with respect and esteem of those whose work laid the foundation for our work,” adding that “pensioners can continue to rely on the Hungarian government”. (hvg.hu; 444.hu; index.hu; atv.hu)
12th September, 2019

Lovasz calls EGM for December

Academy of Sciences president Laszlo Lovasz is convening an extraordinary general meeting for December 2 to discuss the law that has dismembered the Academy, according to a letter of invitation sent by Lovasz.

The government’s newly created Eotvos Lorand Research Network took over the Academy’s research institutes from September 1, but Lovasz continues to insist that the legislation that made this possible violates Basic Law provisions on academic freedom and property rights, and has appealed to the Constitutional Court. (hvg.hu; index.hu; napi.hu)
12th September, 2019

ELI-ALPS project postponed

The government has recently increased the target price of its tender for building the second phase of ELI-ALPS laser research centre in Szeged by 5.5% to Ft 42.3 billion and has postponed the completion deadline by 10 months to April 30, 2022.

The deadline for financial settlement has also been extended by 10 months to July 31, 2022.

Three members of the research centre’s international board resigned in the spring, alleging that the government had made political decisions about a Ft 20 billion project. (portfolio.hu)
12th September, 2019

Volner leaving Mi Hazank

Former Jobbik vice-president Janos Volner announced on Wednesday that he will no longer sit with Mi Hazank representatives in Parliament.

Volner, who was never a member of Mi Hazank, said he now believes that the new far-right party led by Laszlo Toroczkai will never be a modern, nationally committed professional working party.

“The copying of slogans (and errors) of the Jobbik of ten years ago leads to unchanged policymaking. One cannot live off the 2006 and Garda nostalgia forever,” he declared.

Volner has organised a community of 150 academics and business executives in the past few months.

He was expelled from the Jobbik caucus after he openly opposed the strategy of the party leadership and co-operation with LMP. (hvg.hu; 24.hu; nepszava.hu; index.hu)
12th September, 2019

Karacsony proposes date for debate

The opposition parties’ Budapest mayoral candidate Gergely Karacsony on Wednesday proposed a debate with mayor Istvan Tarlos at the Atrium theatre on September 30.

Karacsony told a Wednesday press conference that he is ready to take part in a debate even if Tarlos brings along “his Fidesz aides,” presumably alluding to fringe candidates Krisztian Berki, Robert Puzser and Gyula Thurmer.

Karacsony also said that since realistically only he or Tarlos can win the contest, it is important that they have a one-on-one debate.

He said he would write to Tarlos to give him a detailed description of what kind of a debate he has in mind, and expressed hope that the mayor will not try to “hide” behind pre-conditions. (merce.hu; 444.hu; index.hu; hirado.hu; propeller.hu)
12th September, 2019

Forint falls to 333 per euro

The forint weakened to Ft 333.14 per euro on Wednesday, hitting a new record low for the second consecutive day.

The exchange rate against the US dollar stood at Ft 302.75, slightly better than the record low of Ft 303.11 reached last week.

Today’s rate-setting meeting of the European Central Bank will significantly influence the forint exchange rate, analysts commented.

MNB governor Gyorgy Matolcsy recently affirmed that the central bank has no exchange rate target, but only follows inflation developments. (napi.hu; portfolio.hu; hvg.hu; index.hu; 444.hu)
12th September, 2019

EU supports M30 construction

The EU Cohesion Fund is granting €552.6 million for the construction of the M30 motorway connecting the city of Miskolc to the Slovak border at Tornyosnemeti, the European Commission announced on Wednesday.

The motorway is part of the EU’s Via Carpatia project, financing road constructions connecting the Baltic and Balkan regions.

The EU financing covers the construction of 60km of motorway, and of 48 bridges over the road, with a planned completion date of February 2022.

Better links between Slovakia and Hungary help to create jobs by inducing tourism and trade, said EU Education, Culture Youth and Sports Commissioner Tibor Navracsics. (napi.hu; portfolio.hu; hvg.hu; index.hu; 444.hu)
12th September, 2019

Guest nights lower in July

The number of guest nights spent at commercial accommodation in Hungary dropped by 3.2% year-on-year to 4.4 million in July, the Central Statistics Office announced on Wednesday.

The number of guest nights spent by foreign visitors fell by 5.4% to 1,884,000, while the number of guest nights spent by domestic travellers was 1.5% lower at 2,536,000.

Total revenues of commercial accommodations went up by 4.7% to Ft 62 billion in July and reached Ft 300 billion over the first seven months of the year.

The hotel room occupancy rate was 71.7% in July, down slightly from 72.7% one year earlier.

In the first seven months, hotel room occupancy edged down to 59.5% from 59.6% in the same period of last year. (napi.hu; hvg.hu; origo.hu; magyarnemzet.hu)
12th September, 2019

Biotech firm invests in Kaba

US biotech company Conagen plans to build a Ft 15 billion factory on the site of the former Agroferm factory in Kaba, a town in Hajdu-Bihar county, founder and chairman Steven Chen announced on Wednesday.

The investor makes GMO-free components for food and cosmetics products.

The factory in Kaba will supply all European clients, Chen said, adding that a research and development division will also be located in the town.

The new factory will create 250 jobs, mayor Emma Szegi pointed out, highlighting that this is the largest investment in the town since the sugar factory closed in 2006 and Evonik Agroferm stopped production last year. (napi.hu; portfolio.hu; index.hu; origo.hu)
12th September, 2019

Still moving to Tatabanya

German forklift maker and repair company Still will move its Hungarian headquarters to Tatabanya from the nearby village of Kornye, local CEO Gabor Szalay announced on Wednesday.

Leier Monolit will build the nearly Ft 1 billion new headquarters building and will lease it to Still.

Plans call for the 3,000m2 facility to open in the spring of 2020.

Still employs 100 staff in Hungary in its four forklift rental centres. Two-thirds of the workers are engaged in maintenance tasks.

Revenues rose from Ft 9 billion in 2017 to Ft 11 billion in 2018. (napi.hu)
12th September, 2019

4iG acquires SAP consultancy

4iG has fully purchased SAP consultancy Veritas Consulting from Enterprise Group SAP, the listed company announced on the stock exchange website.

Veritas has Partner Edge status in SAP consultancy services, giving it the right to sell SAP licences.

The purchase price has not been revealed.

Enterprise Group SAP, a fully Hungarian-owned company, has clarified its portfolio with the sale.

It is now active only in product lifecycle management, information and communications technology and eHealth, said CEO Elod Orban. (portfolio.hu; napi.hu; hvg.hu)
12th September, 2019

Est Media plans name change

Est Media plans to change its name following the acquisition of Delta Systems, the holding company has announced.

The agenda of the EGM called for October 1 shows that shareholders will be asked to approve the deal signed with systems integrator Deltagroup Holding on July 30, according to which Est Media fully purchases Delta Systems from the group for Ft 26.3 billion.

Of that only Ft 2.4 billion will be paid in cash, with the remainder to be paid in the form of new shares issued to Deltagroup amounting to a 48.5% stake in Est Media.

Executives also propose to change the names of Est Media and Deltagroup to a new shared name to be announced later.

In addition, the company headquarters will move to Robert Karoly korut 70-74 in Budapest’s 13th District. (portfolio.hu)
12th September, 2019

MNB building loses permit

A renovated historic building owned by the MNB foundation PADA has recently lost its usage permit, news website 24 reports.

The former town hall in Buda Castle was too noisy for residents of the neighbouring building, who took their complaint to court, pointing out that the renovation did not include noise insulation.

Officially the building was designated for teaching, but in reality it is used as a catering facility and for parties, with additional noise generated by large ventilation units, according to website 24.

PADA said it has not received any official notice concerning the matter, and stressed that the Ft 4 billion renovation project had received a Unesco award. (24.hu; index.hu; napi.hu; hvg.hu; 444.hu)
12th September, 2019

“Gloomy Sunday” composer honoured

A mini-sculpture by Mihaly Kolodko honouring world-renowned songwriter Rezso Seress, author of “Gloomy Sunday,” was inaugurated on Wednesday.

The small artwork commissioned by the Seventh District council portrays Seress in a small bronze pipe playing the piano.

It has been placed on a limestone plaque near his favourite haunt, the Kispipa (Small Pipe) restaurant on Akacfa utca.

Seress was born nearby at Dob utca 46/b.

His most famous composition “Gloomy Sunday” written in 1933, has been recorded in more than 100 languages.

It was blamed for a rise in suicides in many countries, including Hungary.

Seress himself committed suicide in 1968 at the age of 78. (hvg.hu; orientpr.hu; nepszava.hu; index.hu; blikk.hu)

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