Ujhelyi: Evidence of Fidesz Covid-Test Deals Quietly Covered by Liquidations!

In response to a request for public interest data, the National Hospital Directorate General (OKFŐ) has released the contracts worth billions of forints that the state institution concluded for the purchase of covid tests during the coronavirus epidemic, István Ujhelyi, who requested the documents, said at an online press conference. The MEP added, however, that the details of the shady looking procurements that have now been revealed raise further questions and do not provide reassuring answers to fundamental concerns. In fact, as he said in a video posted on his social media page, the traces of companies linked to former Fidesz politicians and which have done billions of forints in business with the state have been attempted to be wiped out in recent months through means of liquidation.

At the online press conference, the Social Democrat István Ujhelyi recalled that during the covid epidemic, the Hungarian state was represented by OKFŐ, the National Hospital Directorate General (and its predecessor at the time, the State Health Care Supply Centre), which signed five contracts with three different companies at the end of 2020 for the purchase of covid tests worth around five billion forints.

According to the politician, two of the contracts just issued by the OKFŐ „scream of having been entered into the procurement process mostly as a front man intermediary.” Ujhelyi pointed out that, according to the documents he has seen (by using the legal options in force), an unnamed member of the OKFŐ staff, instead of the government or the then extraordinarily empowered Operational Staff, decided to entrust the companies concerned with the procurement of the covid tests without a public procurement procedure. The contracts were signed by the then Director General of the institution, who was to be in charge for only a few more weeks, as the ÁEEK was being reorganised and merged into the National Directorate General for Hospitals, which was being set up under a new Director General.

The investigative press has already revealed that two companies with links to Fidesz were involved in the purchases and, as such, raise well-founded suspicions of corruption. Ujhelyi explained that one of the companies (Rayrai Ltd.), which had two contracts with the legal predecessor of OKFŐ for a total gross amount of HUF 1.6 billion, had not previously generated any revenue and its business was „wellness services”, in this case, Thai massage. A few days before the billion-euro contract was signed, András Kupper, a former Fidesz MP, appeared in the company as a co-owner and managing director; he was also signing the contracts from this point onwards on behalf of the company.

According to the documents presented by Ujhelyi, first 30,000 tests are ordered from the company at a price of 2980 forints, and then five days later 500,000 tests are requested at 3100 forints, which is a significant increase in price for such a large quantity. Moreover, according to the MEP, in the contract, the ÁEEK, in other words, the Hungarian state, undertook to pay the company fifty per cent of the final amount, in this case some HUF 800 million, as an advance within eight days of the signing of the agreement. At the press conference, Ujhelyi gave further details of the company, saying that former Minister of State for Law Enforcement in the Orbán government László Tasnádi later appeared in Rayrai Ltd. through another company, but that a company was also a co-owner at the same time, the head of which, according to press reports, was linked to former Fidesz Development Minister Miklós Seszták and the casino business of the lawyer who appeared in the Borkai sex video. Ujhelyi explained that the new owners of Rayrai Ltd. took a dividend of nearly HUF 800 million in February 2021, the company changed its name in the same year and was ordered to be liquidated in January this year.

Despite the highly successful covid-testing business, another Fidesz-affiliated company contracted by the predecessor of the National Hospital Directorate General is not continuing its activities either, and was also ordered to be liquidated at the end of last year. Recalling information previously published in the investigative press, Ujhelyi said that also in November 2020, the state signed a one-off contract for the procurement of covid tests with Minerva Consulting Ltd., which was established less than two months before the contract was signed and according to the company court papers of the subsequent period, it had no other income.

The founder of this company – and, according to the contracts presented by Ujhelyi, the signing managing director of the company – was Dániel Martos, who was previously a leading figure and representative of Fidesz in Ferencváros, but also worked as the personal secretary of one of the vice-presidents of the governing party. According to the MEP, the contract with Minerva Ltd. also includes a special clause that half of the net final amount of three billion euros will be paid as an advance within eight days to the company, which has no previous revenue whatsoever.

Ujhelyi also pointed out that, although the contract lists the five types of covid tests the company is asked to supply, the one-line annex only lists the HUF 1 million quantity and the three thousand HUF 3000 unit price, with a striking absence of any detail. Shortly after the deal was done, Martos and his partner sold the company to a young man in his twenties living in Rakaca, a dead-end village in the Borsod region.

Another interesting fact, reported the MEP at the press conference, is that according to the company court documents, at the end of 2021, the new and sole owner held a „members’ meeting” at the now Rakaca headquarters, which is legally incomprehensible and incorrect, as he was the only member of the company, so he could have passed a „founding resolution”, not one of a members’ meeting. According to the papers, the young man in his twenties decided – also in a highly questionable legal manner – to pay the former owners (i.e. Fidesz’s Martos and his former partner) HUF 98 million in each in dividends from the proceeds of the company’s only business. Ujhelyi added that the Borsod company director then failed to submit any financial balance sheet, so the company was ordered to be compulsorily dissolved last spring and liquidated at the end of last year. „So they are trying to cover their tracks here too,” the Socialist MEP pointed out.

At the press briefing, István Ujhelyi said, „We certainly owe it to the sixty thousand Hungarians who died from the coronavirus to clear up the shady deals that occurred during the epidemic and hold those responsible for profiteering accountable. The politician said that he would submit a new public interest information request to the recently appointed new management of the OKFŐ, so that the public could also learn the circumstances of the conclusion of the objectionable contracts, the preparations and reasons for the decisions in favour of the selected companies, as well as the detailed documentation of their implementation. Similarly, he would ask for a copy of the decision of the ÁEEK which proves which head of the public institution took responsibility for entrusting the billion-forint deal to these companies, which were chosen for unknown reasons and in an unknown manner, without a public procurement procedure. „It is in the interest of the OKFŐ and the Hungarian government, but also of all honest Fidesz members, to clear up the well-founded suspicion of corruption in connection with the procurement of the covid tests, which was financed with billions of public money. I expect them to facilitate this process and not to hinder it”, István Ujhelyi said at the end of his online press conference.

Brussels/Budapest – 01/02/2024

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