Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s brother involved in company with offshore links and Central Asian past

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It has been known for a long time that the father and two brothers of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán have business interests in the mining industry, in the production of concrete items, and also in transportation. The older brother, Győző Orbán Jr., however, has also become involved in a company that is remarkably different from the family businesses both in terms of its activities and its ownership structure.

Since last December, a company co-owned by Győző Orbán Jr. has been the business partner of Adrere Limited, an offshore company registered on the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Adrere and the Orbán-company are among the major shareholders of an industrial company called Yntergy Zrt., which previously had worked in distant countries. According to its business reports, Intergy had worked for LKZ, a train factory in Kazakhstan, and it had also been active in Russia’s Chechnya and in Nigeria.

A Russian owner

András Zoltán Papp, Yntergy’s CEO and shareholder, told Direkt36 that Adrere Limited is owned by “a Russian individual.” When asked who this person is, he said that ”I do not know his name exactly.” He added that he does not know the individual personally but would not like to reveal his identity anyway due to Adrere’s offshore nature. Papp also said that he made an agreement with the BVI company to buy its shares in Yntergy later this year.

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Győző Orbán Jr. became involved in Yntergy through Gamma Analcont, a technological company, a 45 percent shareholder in Yntergy. Orbán has been a co-owner of Gamma Analcont since January 2015. He joined the company at the request of András Zoltán Papp, the manager and long-time co-owner of Gamma Analcont.

Papp said that he had known Győző Orbán Jr. for a long time but declined to provide details about how they had got to know each other. Papp said that he asked Orbán to join Gamma Analcont because ”I wanted to have partners on whom I can rely in the long term.”

He claimed that Győző Orbán Jr.’s personal relationship to the prime minister did not matter in this business decision. “I did not want to create another Közgép,” Papp said, referring to a company that previously had been receiving lucrative public contracts reportedly thanks to its close ties to Orbán’s government. Papp also said that Győző Orbán Jr. does not participate in the daily operations of Gamma Analcont and Yntergy.

Győző Orbán Jr. did not respond to written questions.

Support from the EU

Previously, Direkt36 reported that Gamma Analcont received two European Union-funded grants after Győző Orbán had become one of its co-owners. In August 2016, the company got nearly 300 million forints (little less than 1 million euros) for a renewable energy project. Earlier that year, the firm was awarded 57 million forints (184 thousand euros) to expand its production capacities. Gamma Analcont had also got two smaller EU grants (62 million forints or 200 thousand euros in total) before Orbán became a co-owner.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been a strong critic of the European Union since he returned to power in 2010. He often compared Brussels to Moscow of the Soviet Union.

Earlier this year, Direkt36 has exposed that businesses of the Orbán family have been secretly benefiting from public projects often financed by the European Union.

As for Yntergy, András Zoltán Papp said that currently they mainly work in Hungary. The Kazakh job ended “around 2013” and their work in Nigeria is also over, he said. Papp added that even though their subsidiary in Chechnya is still active, their local project did not even start.

According to Papp, currently Yntergy’s main client is GE’s Hungarian enterprise. He added that they are planning to re-establish their Russian and Kazakh connections.

Looking towards the East

One of the flagship initiatives of Orbán’s government is to build closer economic relationships with countries of the former Soviet Union, including Kazakhstan. “Kazakhstan is the most important state in Central Asia for Hungary,” László Szabó, a state minister of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said last year.

Papp said that they have not yet got in touch with the government in order to become part of their programmes in the Eastern countries, but he added that they are planning to do so. This is just a plan, “no concrete steps have been taken,” he added. Both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the National Trading House, a government agency promoting Hungarian businesses abroad, told Direkt36 that they have not been in contact with Yntergy.

Gamma Analcont holds 45 percent of Yntergy’s shares. The firm bought the shares from Adrere Limited, which still owns 20 percent of Yntergy. The British Virgin Islands, where Adrere is registered, is one of the offshore jurisdictions where ownership records of companies are not available to the public.

Some Western countries and transnational organizations have made efforts to make the offshore world more transparent. In Hungary, Viktor Orbán has been a long-time critic of the use of offshore companies and in his 2010 campaign he even promised that once he enters government he would end the “era of offshore knights.”

Győző Orbán’s involvement in Yntergy, however, is not the first time that a member of the Orbán family has had connection to offshore companies. Last year, one of Viktor Orbán’s son-in-laws, István Tiborcz, sold his ownership in a real estate company to a firm registered in the British Virgin Islands.

For Hungarian company data, we used the services of Opten.

The cover photo’s source: KDNP Flickr.

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