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Bank mogul falls out of favour with government

June 10th, 2016

News analysts come forward with elaborate theories to explain what appears to be the sudden downfall of Hungarian bank mogul Zoltán Spéder from the echelons of power, but they admit that they lack facts to corroborate their explanations.

On mno.hu, Magyar Nemzet’s news site, Albert Gazda describes as ‘weird’ a report on the TV2 news show about Zoltán Spéder.

In its recently launched series on ‘reclusive tycoons’, TV2 broadcast images of Mr. Spéder’s lavish residence, swimming pool, his allegedly awful clothing style and depicted him as a man with an insatiable hunger for money. Bank mogul and media owner Zoltán Spéder maintained what appeared to be an amicable relationship with the government until very recently, but came under fire last week. New legislation passed by Parliament on Tuesday basically broke his dominance of the integration of savings co-operatives, after he was accused of draining the resources of the co-operatives into his own bank. On the same day, the Central Bank, which also serves as a financial supervisory authority in Hungary, fined his flagship bank FHB for malpractices dating back to 2012.

Albert Gazda believes that such alleged malpractices would not be sufficient reason for such treatment by the government-friendly media and suspects that Mr Spéder must have broken the ‘rules of loyalty’ to deserve this. However, the author admits, he can only guess at what the real cause of Zoltán Spéder’s falling out of favour with the government is.

The causes of the split cannot yet be seen clearly, all we can do at the moment is invent hazy explanations from the realms of Kremlinology, 444.hu’s Márton Kasnyik writes. The liberal author suggests that what we can see now is the result of an elaborate power game that includes other bank tycoons (possibly Sándor Demján and Sándor Csányi, whom the press sees as Mr Spéder’s arch enemy – see BudaPost July 24th, 2013) as well as unspecified political key players. Kasnyik goes so far as to predict that the control and ownership structure of Mr. Spéder’s bank and media empire will change as a result.

Népszava‘s Zoltán Simon also stresses that the exact reason behind Spéder’s downfall is unknown, and there are only gossips about the real motives. He speculates that Fidesz might want to expand its influence over Hungary’s number one online news site Index.hu, which is owned by the tycoon.

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