A man close to Viktor Orbán’s brother was the head of a department at the tax office. His department was dissolved after we reported about it

At the beginning of the July, we could not get through to Tamás Balogh when we called the National Tax and Customs Authority (NAV): a couple of months earlier, the department in charge of major procurements, formerly led by Balogh, had been dissolved.

In March, we revealed that Balogh has a remarkable network of personal relationships. He knows Győző Orbán Jr., one of the two brothers of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán. He is also an acquaintance of a businessman called Gábor Szentgyörgyi, whose companies have received multiple contracts from public institutions, including NAV. Balogh, Orbán Jr. and Szentgyörgyi have ties to the same circle of former wrestlers.

Three days after the publication of our article, the organizational structure of NAV was modified based on an instruction of the Minister of Finance. Several departments were affected by the change and the department in charge of major procurements was dissolved. Since April, Balogh is not listed among the leaders of NAV either.

We asked NAV, the Ministry of Finance and Balogh about the reason for the dissolution of the department, and whether the change was due to our article published a couple of days previously, but we didn’t get any response. NAV and Balogh did not let us know either whether Balogh is still employed by NAV in a different position or his contract was terminated.

The department in charge of major procurements of NAV was set up in October 2016 to conduct bigger public procurement procedures, including that of buying IT products. The first time Balogh was named as a contact person on a procurement document was in June 2017.

By that time, the companies of Balogh’s acquaintance, Gábor Szentgyörgyi, had already been successful in several major public procurements. One of his companies, IMG Solution Kft., received contracts from NAV both before and after Balogh became the head the department in charge of major procurements.

Thanks to these contracts, IMG, which still does not have a functioning website, has produced spectacular growth in just a few years. In 2012, its revenues were only 46 million forints (150 thousand euros), but in 2015, it made 4.7 billion forints (15.2 million euros), meaning that it grew by 100 times. In 2018, IMG had 9.5 billion forints (29.4 million euros) in revenues and 1.3 billion forints in profits (4 million euros). The owners received 450 million forints (1.4 million euros) in dividends.

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

  • Blanka Zöldi
  • 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.