Dubai luxury apartments bought by a company linked to the inner circle of the son of Hungary’s central bank governor

“One at Palm Jumeirah is a completely reimagined approach to elegance and exclusivity (…) A veritable masterpiece of artistic design and the pinnacle of luxurious living in all its aspects.”

This is what the real estate developer Omniyat says on its website about its 25-storey skyscraper that rises into the sky on Dubai’s famous palm-shaped island in the United Arab Emirates. According to Omniyat, residents of this iconic building are granted membership to the “world’s most exclusive club” and will be able to celebrate “life to the fullest” at their One at Palm Jumeirah residence.

It seems that the inner circle of Ádám Matolcsy, the son of central bank governor György Matolcsy, also joined this club.

Direkt36, as part of an international investigative project, has revealed that a company linked to them has bought several properties in Dubai, including a 286-square-metre, 3-bedroom luxury apartment on the ninth floor of One at Palm Jumeirah.

The apartment, which also has a terrace and a balcony totaling 50 square meters, was bought for more than one billion forints by a company called Future Holding Limited, which, according to a leaked database, is linked to Ádám Matolcsy. The company’s contact details include email addresses linked to a company founded by Matolcsy, his former wife and an associate.

Direkt36 also found several photos on a public Pinterest account bearing the name of Ádám Matolcsy, which, according to the many matching details, were taken in the luxury property One at Palm Jumeirah. Two of the photos appear to show Ádám Matolcsy.

Future Holding has also bought three other properties in Dubai, according to leaked data. One of these properties has the email address of an old friend and associate of Ádám Matolcsy as a contact, while the other two do not have any contact details. Three of the four properties have been sold in the meantime, including the One at Palm Jumeirah apartment, which was sold for the price of more than two billion forints.

The leaked data provides a detailed overview of hundreds of thousands of properties in Dubai and information about their ownership or usage, largely from 2020 and 2022.
The data was obtained by the Center for Advanced Defense Studies (C4ADS), a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that researches international crime and conflict.

It was then shared with Norwegian financial outlet E24 and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which coordinated an investigative project with dozens of media outlets from around the world. Direkt36 was the only Hungarian partner involved in the investigation.

We have contacted Ádám Matolcsy and the people connected to him involved in the real estate transactions, but they have not responded. We also sent questions to György Matolcsy, to which the Hungarian National Bank responded that the central bank president “does not deal with the business affairs of his adult son.”

As reported by Direkt36 and several other Hungarian news outlets, Ádám Matolcsy and his acquaintances have made a considerable fortune in recent years thanks to state and other government-related deals. Even among pro-government figures known for their luxurious lifestyle, they have distinguished themselves with their lavish spending on expensive sports cars and travels.

Dubai, which has in just a few decades become one of the world’s financial centers, is popular among billionaires and celebrities, but as the investigative project led by OCCRP and E24 has shown, criminals and corrupt political figures are also keen to invest there. Local regulations allow the owners of various companies or even real estate to hide from public view.

Investing in the future

The luxury apartment located on the 9th floor of One at Palm Jumeirah was purchased by Future Holding Limited in the autumn of 2018 for roughly HUF 1.1 billion HUF worth of dirhams (EUR 2.8 million) at the exchange rate at the time of the transaction. This was a so-called pre-registration sale, meaning that the company had invested in the apartment before the construction was completed.

According to the details of the transaction, the company also received a significant discount of more than 40 percent on the purchase price, which would have originally been close to HUF 2 billion (EUR 5.1 million).

One at Palm Jumeirah can be seen on the left – Photo: Ole Martin Wold

The leaked data don’t contain information on Future Holding Limited’s directors or owners. There is, however, one piece of information that does reveal something about the company’s background.

According to the leaked data, the contact detail for Future Holding Limited is an email address that ends in “” This domain name was registered by a Hungarian company called Glamorous Ltd, now defunct, but still in operation at the time of the Dubai property purchase and owned by Ádám Matolcsy.

The email address appears to have been used by his then wife, whose first name was Tímea. This is indicated by the name in the first half of the email address, but also by the fact that the address is the same as the one currently used on social media for the ex-wife’s beauty company, MT Beauty.

The ninth-floor property of One at Palm Jumeirah has been identified by Direkt36 based on the leaked data, the catalogue published by the building’s management and publicly available photos.

A photo from inside the apartment – Source: Pinterest

The images not only show the apparent luxury, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sea and a walk-in closet the size of a living room, but also provide some additional information. For example, the pictures, which could be accessed via one of Adam Matolcsy’s social media profiles, include a floor plan of the property, on which someone has inked the names of luxury interior design brands including Riva 1920, Porada, Baxter and Flexform.

These brands do not list their prices on their websites, but online stores selling their products offer bedside tables for two million forints, sofas costing more than EUR 10 thousand, chairs for EUR 3.3 thousand and dining tables for more than EUR 17 thousand.

The drawing also includes some additional notes, in Hungarian, which also indicates that the luxury home is in Hungarian hands. The notes also include the inscription “Antolini stone in full”, referring to a premium Italian natural stone distributor.

The photos were probably taken during a property inspection, before the final handover of the building, when the interior was finished but not the exterior. The scaffolding outside the building, visible through the windows, and the yellow visibility vests with the words One Palm on them, are indicative of this.

From the photos, it appears that one of the participants, wearing a black T-shirt and blue trousers under his vest, looks very similar to Ádám Matolcsy. The other person in the photos is a woman with blonde hair who appears several times in the mirror, but she has not been clearly identified.

A man looking like Ádám Matolcsy in the Dubai apartment – Source: Pinterest

According to Omniyat, One at Palm Jumeirah was completed in 2021. By that time, Ádám Matolcsy had a new partner, M. Nicole. She uploaded a photo to one of her social media pages on 27 December 2021, showing her cuddled up with Matolcsy and three young children, smiling happily at the camera. The location appears to be a chic, modern apartment, and the One at Palm Jumeirah has been marked as the location for the photo.

M. Nicole has created a separate collection on her social media page called AE, which is the well-known international acronym for the United Arab Emirates, the country where Dubai is located.

On 31 December 2021, a photo of Matolcsy and M. standing on a balcony with a glass in hand, dressed elegantly, in the company of several other people, was added to this collection. Presumably taken on New Year’s Eve, the illuminated towers behind the figures in the picture cannot be clearly identified, but they look very similar to those seen from the balconies of One at Palm Jumeirah.

The panoramic views from the ninth-floor apartment, as well as the other features, are stunning. It is no wonder that several promotional videos were made in the apartment. There is a short film showing the apartment by Dubai real estate company Provident Real Estate, and a promotional film focusing on the details, shot by premium appliance brand Gaggenau, which provided some of the furnishings. This company, according to its catalogue from last autumn, sells ovens for as much as EUR 17.6 thousand and refrigerators for more than EUR 20 thousand.

According to Dubai transaction records, the property changed hands again at the end of March 2024, just a few weeks ago, and someone purchased it from Future Holding for more than HUF 2.5 billion worth of dirhams, far more than the original purchase price. The name of the new owner is not known.

However, according to the Dubai lease records, the property was also subject to a lease agreement for at least one year between May 2023 and April 2024. Under this agreement, a tenant paid 50,000 dirhams per month, or between EUR 12 and EUR 13 thousand depending on the exchange rate, for the right to use the luxury apartment. According to a Dubai database, the tenant was of Hungarian nationality, but the tenant’s exact identity was not revealed in the data.

New York, Dubai

The leaked records have revealed that Future Holding bought another Dubai luxury apartment in May 2020 for EUR 1.3 million.

This apartment is in one of the twin towers of the Jumeirah Gate, a pair of Dubai skyscrapers over 300 meters tall, on the 64th floor of the building. With 237 square meters of floor space, this apartment is slightly smaller than the one purchased in 2018. But it has one more bedroom and equally stunning views, and the Jumeirah Gate building is no less extravagant than One at Palm Jumeirah.

The ownership details of this property include an email address linked to another member of the Matolcsy circle, a woman called Eszter R.

Eszter R. has close personal ties to Ádám Matolcsy. Several photos on social media from 2013 prove that R. and Matolcsy are old acquaintances. One of the photos, uploaded on the website of a Budapest nightclub, shows R. and Matolcsy, members of a large group, toasting together. The party included Ádám Matolcsy’s first wife, Tímea.

The event was probably a New Year’s Eve party, which, according to further photos, was attended by several other friends and at least one relative of Ádám Matolcsy. R. also acted as a bridesmaid at Matolcsy’s first wedding. In one of the group photos she is looking into the camera, hugging the groom, and in another photo she is holding the veil of the bride, T. Tímea, smiling.

Eszter R. also has business ties with Ádám Matolcsy and his business circle. In the past, she founded two companies which were later acquired by the Felis Private Equity Fund, which is linked to István Száraz, a businessman who is a friend of Ádám Matolcsy, but R. remained the managing director after the change of ownership.

One of the companies founded by R., Báthory 2015, also bought a villa in the 12th district of Budapest, which was previously owned by a foundation of the Hungarian National Bank. It was later found that for a time, Ádám Matolcsy had rented this property from the company founded by Eszter R. Ádám Matolcsy himself admitted living there after one of his cars was photographed at the property, and then MP Ákos Hadházy identified the villa in a photo of Matolcsy’s wife posted on social media with the caption “home sweet home.”

Since February 2021, Eszter R. has been registered at the same address in the 12th district as Balázs Gosztonyi, the former CEO of New Wave Media Group. Before Gosztonyi, the company was also managed by Ádám Matolcsy and István Száraz.

Hungarian news outlet 444 reported previously on R’s involvement in another property deal linked to Matolcsy’s circle. It was revealed then that R. was linked to a US-registered company called MN A18 LLC, which bought a luxurious 350-square-metre, 3-bedroom luxury apartment on the 18th floor of the Crown Building on Billionaire Row, one of Manhattan’s most expensive neighborhoods. In April of this year, Bloomberg reported that the apartment had been put up for sale, with the company selling the property for $40 million, or roughly HUF 15 billion.

Future Holding Limited has also bought two other properties in Dubai, for more than EUR 1 million each, according to the leaked data. The two smaller 2-bedroom apartments, each 150 sqm, are located on the 12th and 14th floors of the same building, the imposing glass palace Five at Palm Jumeirah. These transactions do not include contact details for Future Holding Limited, so these purchases cannot be directly linked to Matolcsy’s circle.

However, it is certain that the company has already sold them, and Future Holding Limited is not currently the  owner of either of the two properties.

The enrichment of the Matolcsy circle

As we reported in detail in our February 2022 article, Ádám Matolcsy owes much of his business success to the Hungarian National Bank, which his father runs, the NHB bank owned by their relatives, and various state institutions.

In 2015, Matolcsy acquired a Veszprém-based furniture factory, the long-established Balaton Bútor, through a loan from NHB linked to Tamás Szemerey, György Matolcsy’s cousin. The original source of the purchase price was the Hungarian National Bank and its Growth Loan Programme.

Hungarian newspaper Népszava reported that in the spring of 2021, trucks loaded with goods arrived in the courtyard of the Art Nouveau building of the Post Palace owned by the national bank, one of which bore the inscription Balaton Bútor. Ádám Matolcsy later told Direkt36 that his company had won about 5% of the furniture order from a subcontractor of the project at a competitive market price.

In a statement in 2017, Ádám Matolcsy said that winning a public tender is anything but a gift. In 2018, Balaton Bútor won a contract worth more than HUF 220 million in a tender by the University of Physical Education, and in 2020 it was one of the six companies that were selected to provide furniture for public institutions for a total of HUF 20 billion over three years from December 2020.

Balaton Bútor has also received at least HUF 600 million in non-reimbursable EU funding since 2015. Before Ádám Matolcsy’s arrival, the company’s annual revenues were around HUF 700-800 million. Between 2018 and 2020, this figure was around HUF 1.7 billion, and in 2021 and 2022 it rose significantly to HUF 3.5 billion.

In December 2018, Ádám Matolcsy was also part of a small group of entrepreneurs who withdrew their money from the financially troubled NHB. The financial institution was placed under central bank restrictions just a few weeks later and was ordered to be wound up by March 2019.

Bálint Somlai, a member of Matolcsy’s circle of friends, was also part of the same lucky, narrow circle. His rise to fame was also covered in detail in our previous article.

Through the Hungarian National Bank, Somlai’s companies have secured several lucrative contracts, including the complete interior and exterior renovation of the MNB’s Szabadság Square headquarters.

Somlai’s company, Raw Development, has also been commissioned to renovate Postapalota, the central bank’s building on Széll Kálmán Square in Budapest. In April 2022, Direkt36 published a story on how the costs of this project had escalated.

Another of Ádám Matolcsy’s friends is István Száraz, whose company has been hired to do the MNB’s official communications. Száraz also had shares in the publisher of Origo, one of the largest Hungarian news portals, and he was behind the news outlet, which in 2016 was found to have been secretly financed by MNB with significant funding of more than half a billion forints. In the summer of 2017, Ádám Matolcsy became the owner of the company behind Origo and VS.

In 2023, Direkt36 reported that according to official records Száraz is the beneficial owner of several private equity funds, ultimately owning 10.8 percent of the new superbank called Magyar Bankholding.

  • Dániel Szőke

    Graduated from Eötvös Loránd University at 2013 as a librarian scientist. As a freelancer he worked with news-site for several years, and in 2020 attended Transparency International’s mentor program for investigative journalists. In January 2021 he started to work as an intern, and since September 2021 he is a full-time journalist of Direkt36.

  • András Pethő

    András is a co-founder, editor and executive director of Direkt36. Previously, he was a senior editor for leading Hungarian news site Origo before it had been transformed into the government’s propaganda outlet. He also worked for the BBC World Service in London and was a reporter at the investigative unit of The Washington Post. He has contributed to several international reporting projects, including The Panama Papers. He twice won the Soma Prize, the prestigious annual award dedicated to investigative journalism in Hungary. He was a World Press Institute fellow in 2008, a Humphrey fellow at the University of Maryland in 2012/13, and a Nieman fellow at Harvard University in 2019/20. András has taught journalism courses at Hungarian universities.