Pressure on Hungarian central bank governor expands to include links to offshore company

By bne IntelliNews May 4, 2016

The cousin of Gyorgy Matolcs, governor of the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB), owned an offshore company between 2009-2010, local press reported on May 4.

The reports appear to contradict statements from the Hungarian central bank chief that neither he nor his relatives have any connection to offshore businesses. The news will only raise the pressure on Matolcsy due to an ongoing scandal over MNB spending. 

Before becoming the governor of MNB in 2013, Matolcsy was member of the Hungarian parliament (2006-2013) and Minister for National Economy in the Orban-government from 2006. In the meantime, his cousin, Tamas Szemerey was owner and president of Sunjoy Development, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands according to records released under the Panama Papers leak, Direkt36 reports.

Szemerey owned the company between 2009 May and 2010 June, but claims Matolcsy was unaware of that. "I do not tend to talk about my business activities with my cousin,” Szemerey told the media outlet.

Recent records released by the MNB reveal, however, that Matolcsy had direct influence on his cousin’s business activities. Contracts the MNB was forced to publish in late April show Matolcsy made direct investment decisions at Pallas Athenene Domus Animae (PADA) Foundation, one of the central bank's six charitable foundations. PADA’s contracts show that most of its funds were invested at NHB Bank, which is owned by Szemerey. 

MNB’s foundations also granted HUF501.4mn (€1.6mn) to New Wave, a media company reportedly owned by Szemerey, and the publisher of the news website. 

Related Articles

Hungary's electric sports aircraft maker expands production

Hungary's Magnus Aircraft is constructing a new manufacturing plant in southern Hungary near the regional Pecs-Pogany airport to meet rising demand for its unique aircraft and plans to finish ... more

Gyorgy Waberer to list logistics company BILK on Budapest bourse

Gyorgy Waberer, the former owner of haulage company Waberer, plans to list shares of Budapest logistics terminal BILK on the Budapest Stock Exchange in June, local media reported on May 28. “I ... more

Hungary reaches deal with Gazprom on 2019 gas deliveries

Hungary has reached an agreement with Russian gas giant Gazprom on the volume and price of next year's gas deliveries and negotiations have begun on gas deliveries for 2020, Foreign Minister Peter ... more