The Russian Connection

Orbán blocked the idea that could have pushed out Russia from Hungary’s nuclear plant expansion

Last year, there were talks in government circles about starting building a third nuclear power plant with the French, which could have led to the insignificance of the Russian-built Paks II. Direkt36 learned new details about the Orbán government’s big power maneuvers in nuclear issues.

Orbán’s true reasons for opposing Ukraine’s EU accession revealed

According to information obtained by Direkt36, prime minister Orbán said at a closed-door meeting last spring that Ukraine’s accession would increase US influence in the region. He also said that he had warned French President Emmanuel Macron about this but that he did not fully understand Orbán’s calculations.

Bracing for US sanctions, Russian financier in Budapest was busy securing personal offshore assets, leaked documents reveal

Until last autumn, Nikolay Kosov headed the International Investment Bank, which is leaving Hungary. According to documents obtained by Direkt36, the Russian banker, who has since been hit by US sanctions, was planning to transfer his family’s assets to Dubai.

Varga Mihály pénzügyminiszter Nyikolaj Koszovval, az IIB korábbi elnökével. Forrás: Varga Facebook-oldala

Before the Hungarian government exited the Russian bank, it was helped out by a government-close financial institution

According to internal documents obtained by Direkt36, OTP closed the accounts of the International Investment Bank after the outbreak of the war. Followingly, the Russian-dominated financial institution turned to the government-close MKB to open a new account.

“We need to pressure” the Hungarians – Leaked documents reveal collapse of Russian-led bank in Budapest

Internal documents obtained by Direkt36 reveal that the Hungarian government has become one of the strongest backers of the Russian-dominated International Investment Bank, which was brought to the brink of collapse by the war against Ukraine.

We looked into the contracts signed by the Hungarian government with “Mr. Russia”

Direkt36 looked into the content of consultancy contracts that the Hungarian government signed last year with Klaus Mangold, an influential German businessman dubbed Mr. Russia for his Russian relations. These showed among others that he was entitled for a lucrative success fee in exchange for his assistance in the buy-back of the Budapest Airport.

Russian spy chief’s son has a Budapest home address. In the company property of an old friend of Orbán’s chief of staff

Official document shows that Andrey Naryshkin, who acquired residency permit in the Hungarian golden visa scheme, had his registered home address in a property owned by pro-government businessman Shabtai Michaeli’s company just a few months ago. According to the government, Naryshkin’s residency permit was revoked by the counterintelligence service two years ago, but the case was stalled in court.

Inside Viktor Orbán’s Response to the War in Ukraine

Viktor Orbán came home from his talks with Vladimir Putin saying that he did not expect war. When it did break out, there was some wavering on the continuation of the government’s pro-Russian policy, but in the end, there was no change of direction because of the importance of Russian natural gas as well as longtime anti-Western sentiments.

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.

Sinking ground on the Paks II nuclear power plant site could further delay the project

The Hungarian authority assessing the plans of Russian Rosatom will have to make a decision whether safe construction above a fault line which is vulnerable to earthquakes is possible.