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Former PM Gyurcsány as a court witness

August 26th, 2013

Commentators from both the left and right agree that former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány has successfully stolen the show and managed to use the court hearing in a land swap deal to gain publicity and accuse his opponents of acting against national interest.

On Thursday, former PM Ferenc Gyurcsány was heard as a witness in a case related to a casino land swap deal (see BudaPost). According to the prosecutor, the agreement which was brokered while PM Gyurcsány was still in office and reversed after his resignation in 2009 was highly disadvantageous for the treasury. Earlier Gyurcsány was personally suspected of being embroiled in the same land swap, but his file has been shelved “for lack of evidence” (see BudaPost July 23, 2012). In their hearings, former PM Gyurcsány and former Finance Minister János Veres both claimed that the deal would have been highly advantageous for the country as a result of the revenues and the 2-3,000 jobs which would have been created had the casino been built. Mr Gyurcsány claimed that the deal would have been beneficial even if the government decided to hand over the land completely free of charge.

In Magyar Nemzet, Anna Kulcsár finds it disappointing that after four years of investigation, there is still no verdict in the case. The pro-government columnist suggests that Ferenc Gyurcsány, who appeared before the court in jeans and red sneakers, stole the show by even accusing the prosecutor of incompetence for reversing a deal which, according to the former PM, would have been highly beneficial for the country. As time passes and no one is convicted, Hungarians will in the end remember only Mr Gyurcsány’s performance rather than the problematic land swap transaction, Szabó concludes.

Former PM Gyurcsány has changed role from suspect to accuser, Népszabadság comments in a front page editorial. The left-wing daily believes that Mr Gyurcsány convincingly refuted the accusations, and even turned the tables on the prosecutor and his predecessors. He successfully turned the trial into a campaign event, Népszabadság concludes.

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