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Hungarian parliament publishes report on secret financing of opposition by US organisation

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Hungary – This news has struck Hungarian political life like a clap of thunder. As reported by Mandiner, Magyar Nemzet, and other Hungarian media on 23 November, the Hungarian parliament published a report on 17 November that had been prepared by the National Information Centre (Nemzeti Információs Központ), shedding light on the financial support received by the Hungarian opposition from foreign agencies, including the NGO Action for Democracy, which defines itself as a “non-profit building a global pro-democracy solidarity movement”.

According to the report, currently unidentified individuals, most likely based outside Hungary, have made donations to Action for Democracy, which – as former opposition leader Péter Márki-Zay himself recently admitted – has made a payment of 1.8 billion forints (4.4 million euros) to Márki-Zay’s MMM (Hungary for All Movement). MMM have allegedly paid 1.4 billion forints (3.3 million euros) to DatAdat GmbH, an Austrian company based in the 19th district of Vienna and headed by Ádám Ficsor, Viktor Szigetvári, and Benjy Cook. Their corporate purpose is to “equip progressive leaders and movements with innovative digital solutions to make social change possible” through “vast political expertise, political IT development, and a proven track record of international experience of working with various progressive organizations”.

Ádám Ficsor was Minister of Civilian Intelligence (from April to September 2009) in the government of Gordon Bajnai, Prime Minister of Hungary from April 2009 to May 2010, just before Viktor Orbán’s return to power. He is a member of former Socialist PM Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition (Demokratikus Koalíció, DK). Viktor Szigetvári is a Hungarian political scientist and politician, a former member of the Socialist Party (MSZP), and a former chairman of the Együtt (Together) party founded in 2012 by Gordon Bajnai. Benjy Cook is an Israeli computer scientist, based in Tel Aviv.

The Nemzeti Információs Központ report further mentions the American National Endowment for Democracy (NED) – an organisation with links to Action for Democracy – which was founded in 1983 and describes itself as being “dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world”, but is known to act as a cover for the CIA. According to the report, NED ended its activities in Hungary “in the late 1990s, when it became clear that Hungary’s membership in NATO was certain” and resumed them in 2014 through local partners, when “NED management felt that the domestic political situation in Hungary had become worrisome” from the perspective of the US administration.

The Hungarian report goes on to describe the role of the Albright Stonebridge Group, an international consulting firm – founded by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1937–2022), who was of Czechoslovakian descent – whose consultants are close to the Biden administration and the European Commission. This company allegedly “partially financed (…) Péter Márki-Zay’s trip to the United States before the election campaign” of 2022.

The report also reveals that Action for Democracy paid 147 million forints (350,000 euros) to the above-mentioned company DatAdat GmbH; one billion forints (2.4 million euros) to the Hungarian company Oraculum 2020 Kft – a public relations company based in the 7th district of Budapest, which has links to the Hungarian opposition, and which in turn paid 324 million forints (770,000 euros) to the same DatAdat GmbH; and finally a sum of 3.4 million forints (8,000 euros) to the Hungarian company Gemius Hungary Kft, a marketing consulting company based in the 5th district of Budapest.

In concrete terms, this means that not just 1.8 billion forints as per Márki-Zay’s own admission, but three billion forints (7.2 million euros) were paid from the United States to support the opposition’s campaign before Hungary’s April parliamentary elections.