Election interference: Hungary’s left-wing opposition received huge sums of secret money from US and Switzerland

Hungary’s left-wing opposition may face criminal charges down the road for taking foreign campaign money worth millions of euros

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: John Cody

New information has come to light that Hungary’s left-wing opposition received far more foreign money than previously reported, raising concerns about election interference from the United States and other foreign actors.

The National Security Committee, a commission formed to investigate the matter, has now made public that a mysterious Swiss organization gave nearly HUF 1 billion (€2.57 million) to a Hungarian opposition smear portal Ezalényeg. The information was released as a partial report and made public this morning.

This means that it was not just the U.S. sending money to Hungary’s left-wing opposition, but also a second organization, with the total funds reaching more than HUF 4 billion. These left-wing parties had formed a coalition to take on Viktor Orbán in the April elections last year; their efforts, however, failed when Orbán won in a landslide victory.

As Remix News reported last year, a partial report was already released on Nov. 17 detailing how the U.S. NGO Action for Democracy funneled over HUF 3 billion to Hungary’s left in an effort to defeat Orbán.

The key figure behind the U.S. NGO is Dávid Korányi, who previously served as the chief advisor for a prominent left-wing politician here in Hungary, Gergely Karácsony. One of Korányi’s primary beneficiaries was the All for Hungary Movement of Péter Márki-Zay, the failed Hungarian candidate for prime minister.

New information from the National Security Committee details how the first tranche of money was sent to Hungary’s opposition on the day the Russian-Ukrainian war began.

However, the money was not just flowing into political campaigns, but also to media networks, with over HUF 1 billion also sent to Oraculum 2020 Ltd, which runs the left-wing portal Ezalényeg.hu, known for smearing its targets. The leader of Ezalényeg is the son of the former Socialist mayor of Komló, Zoltán Páva Jr. The NGO Action for Democracy also transferred almost HUF 150 million to the DatAdat group, which is partly owned by Gordon Bajnai, who was also active in the campaign of Péter Márki-Zay in 2022.

Márki-Zay famously let slip during an interview last year that he himself was funded by the DatAdat group, which in turn was funded by money flowing from the U.S.

He stated that the DatAdat group was sending text messages to Hungarians during the election.

“They were performing a service, including sending marketing messages. I think they were performing this service. There is no problem with that, so I am very grateful for their professional help,” he stated.

While November’s report stated that a total of some HUF 3 billion was paid from Action for Democracy, new information puts that figure some HUF 160 million higher, 58 percent of which was received by Péter Márki-Zay’s All Hungary Movement.

EzaLényeg was active in conducting mass advertisements in many parts of Hungary during the election. Currently, there is no information on how the unnamed Swiss organization could have raised nearly HUF billion money for the left-wing opposition’s election campaign. The identity of the donors behind both the Swiss and U.S. organization is unknown.

It remains to be seen whether authorities will pursue the cases as a criminal matter, as legal experts generally consider foreign campaign money to be illegal. However, it is clear that the money represents a threat to Hungary’s sovereignty. More details about the case are expected in the near future, which means Hungary’s left-wing opposition may face a troubled road ahead.

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