Hungary refuses to disclose Chinese chemical hub project documents, Direkt36 sues

Since Direkt36 reported based on leaked documents that a large-scale Chinese chemical trade hub would be set up in Budapest and the town of Záhony, the Orbán government has denied the plans. However, a letter sent by Orbán’s chief of staff on the matter has been withheld from the public because it is considered as “data supporting decision-making”. Direkt36 is suing the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office for the documents.

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Hungary could become a European hub for Chinese chemicals, leaked documents reveal

According to secret plans uncovered by Direkt36, the Orbán government is close to reaching an agreement with China to transport Chinese chemicals supplying battery factories and other industries in Europe by rail through a Hungarian hub. One possible distribution center is on the outskirts of Budapest, while one of the companies involved in the project has ties to PM Orbán’s chief of staff.

How Viktor Orbán angered his closest friends in Europe

A box of excrement was sent to the Hungarian Embassy in Warsaw, president Katalin Novák was lectured by the Polish prime minister, and Viktor Orbán’s European ambitions were jeopardized. Direkt36, in cooperation with Vsquare, have uncovered the behind the scenes story of the Hungarian-Polish alliance, which previously seemed unbreakable, since the outbreak of the war.

Cyber companies accompanied the Israeli Prime Minister to Budapest, later one of them trained foreign intelligence officials in Hungary

A company that sells surveillance intelligence technology accompanied Benjamin Netanyahu to his visit to Hungary in 2017. Direkt36 found out details about how later this company trained Bangladeshi secret agents in Budapest, during which they probably illegally intercepted Hungarian telephone conversations.

How Viktor Orbán decided to arm Hungary

Hungary launched a major military development program seven years ago. The prime minister has used it to strengthen his international relationships and also realised the usefulness of the military in domestic politics.

Illusztráció: Szarvas / Telex

Hungary’s diplomats with controversial backgrounds caught up in an investigation by international journalists

Direkt36 has been part of the “Shadow Diplomats” project, an investigation into the murky world of honorary consuls, led by ICIJ and ProPublica. We found that Hungary is represented by honorary consuls who are accused of crimes such as financing terrorism.

Western allies puzzled by Hungary’s mild reaction to Russian hacking

Russia’s hacking of the Hungarian foreign ministry is a concern for the EU, and the U.S. has already warned Hungary and other allies about the dangers of Russian cyberattacks. The Orbán government could in principle ask for EU help to tackle the problem, but there is no sign so far that it will do so.

Cables show how Orbán’s diplomats gather information on journalists

The information contained in these documents was gathered by diplomats of the Orbán government from social media profiles of journalists or online reports, as well as by inquiring foreign government officials.

Putin’s hackers gained full access to Hungary’s foreign ministry networks, the Orbán government has been unable to stop them

Russian state actors hacked into the Hungarian Foreign Ministry’s computer network compromising internal correspondence and even a secure network that transmits classified information. The recurring cyberattacks over the past decade were kept quiet by the Orbán government, and have not been successfully countered. With the help of internal documents and background interviews, Direkt36 exposes Russian cyber espionage against Hungary’s MFA.

Spies, business deals and criminals. How Orbán favors Russian interests instead of Western ones

In the past 12 years, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government has gotten into a situation many times, when they had to decide between the interests of Western allies, or Russia. Direkt36 has revealed many cases, where, in the end, the government favored Vladimir Putin and his circles. It occurred, for example, that they drove a Hungarian company out of business, just to be able to make space for a Russian firm.