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Leading Socialist MP’s secret bank account unearthed

February 6th, 2014

Left-wing commentators call on the MSZP to disown its corrupt politicians, after a pro-government daily unveiled a secret bank account with hundreds of millions of undeclared funds possessed by Socialist Vice Chairman Gábor Simon. The leading left-wing daily adds that the scandal further diminishes the chances of the left at the election in April.

On Monday, MSZP Vice-President Gábor Simon suspended his party membership after Magyar Nemzet revealed that in October 2013, the Socialist MP had 770,000 Euros in an Austrian bank account. The funds were not declared in Mr. Simon’s official asset statements. Népszabadság reported that Simon stepped down after consulting the MSZP leadership which demanded that he take immediate action.

According to Magyar Nemzet, the account was opened in 2008 in an Austrian bank which at the same time offered a 3 billion Forint loan to Budapest’s 18th district, Gábor Simon’ electoral constituency. Magyar Nemzet suspects that the secret bank account was discovered by the authorities during an investigation into the loan agreement, which, according to Fidesz politicians, was unreasonably costly.

The Socialists need to get rid of Gábor Simon, Népszava‘s editor-in-chief Péter Németh contends. The left-wing columnist notes that neither Simon nor his party could explain how Mr. Simon saved hundreds of millions Forints on a secret account. Although it is unclear how the pro-government Magyar Nemzet could get hold of Simon’s private bank statement, and despite the fact that the current Fidesz government can also be accused of large-scale corruption, the left should not try to defend the Socialist deputy, Németh maintains.

Népszabadság in a front-page editorial notes that the scandal is a huge blow to the Socialists. The leading left-wing daily suggests that Mr. Simon has tacitly acknowledged corruption by not providing a credible answer to the accusations, although it is unclear whether the undeclared assets are his personal savings or serve as a secret fund used to finance the MSZP. In the light of the scandal unfolding two months ahead of the April election, the chances of a left-wing victory over Fidesz have become very slim, Népszabadság suspects. The daily concludes by pointing out that if Gábor Simon is found guilty of corruption, the MSZP should do its best to shed maximum light on the case, or it will lose not only the election, but its credibility as well.

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