Hungarian police have admitted the criminal complaint of opposition party Dialogue for Hungary, which called for an investigation based on a recent Direkt36’s article about Elios, a company until recently co-owned by István Tiborcz, son-in-law of Hungary’s prime minister. The party filed the complaint with the suspicion of fraud.
Direkt36’s article showed that, compared to other projects, the lamps used in Elios’s projects were outstandingly expensive. These price differences increased the overall cost of several projects by tens of millions of forint (several thousand euro) and in at least in one town by as much as hundreds of millions of forint (hundreds of thousands of euro). This was all paid from public money, mostly coming from European Union subsidies made available to Hungary to modernize its infrastructure.
Dialogue for Hungary has been notified by the Pest County Prosecutor’s Office that their complaint was handed over to the National Investigative Office of the police. The prosecutors told RTL Klub, a tv channel, that the police admitted the complaint and attached it to an ongoing investigation into some street lighting projects of Elios. This means that the police will examine the findings of Direkt36’s story.
In March, newsportal Index wrote that the police had launched investigations in connection with four public tenders subsequently won by Elios. The investigation started after András Schiffer, co-president of LMP, a Hungarian opposition party, had filed a complaint because of the alleged concentration of ownership at Sistrade and Elios, based on an article of Átlátszó.
The police have confirmed that they have included the complaint in their ongoing investigation. They declined to give any details of the investigation.
Elios did not answer to the question whether they have been contacted by the police. The company stressed that they won their state contracts on lawful tenders and they carried out the work on a high level of quality.
It’s been revealed recently that Elios’s projects are also investigated by OLAF, the European Union’s anti-fraud office. Elios said, however, that they are not aware of any investigation into their activities either by OLAF or other EU agencies. On Tuesday, an official of Prime Minister’s office in charge of EU developments also said that Hungary has not been notified yet of any OLAF investigation into Elios.