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Bajnai’s successful lawsuit in the viewfinder

November 11th, 2011

Magyar Hírlap carries a ferocious attack on former Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai, who has won a slander suit against a right-wing filmmaker who accused him of responsibility for the suicide of nine farmers a decade ago.

Mr Bajnai, the last Socialist-backed Prime Minister and a potential candidate for the post of premier at the next election, was general manager of Wallis Holding from 2000 to 2006. The Wallis portfolio included a Debrecen-based company which exported poultry and goose liver to Russia and Western Europe. It subcontracted hundreds of small farmers to breed the goslings and paid them from the sales revenue. Eventually the company went bankrupt, six hundred subcontractors were not paid for their geese, and nine of them committed suicide. László Pesty, a documentary film-maker interviewed some of the  farmers and later alleged in a TV-show that Bajnai and Wallis were responsible for what happened. He was sued by both, and lost to Bajnai (but not to Wallis). The case is under appeal.

In Magyar Hírlap, deputy editor-in-chief László Szentesi-Zöldi remarks that unlike Mr Bajnai, the ruined farmers can find no court to provide them with justice. And he puts a further question: “Where is the money? Where are the five billion Forints that were due to those six hundred families? Why did nine people commit suicide?” Szentesi-Zöldi does not believe Bajnai’s own version of events, according to which he was unaware of what was going on, and was himself a victim of the affair.

“So where is the money, Bajnai?” – the right wing columnist asks again.