picture of Gergely Karácsony

HVG reports that despite Mayor Gergely Karácsony’s repeated denials that Budapest City Hall was offered for sale, Hungary’s pro-government media appears to be treating it as credible.

“Karácsony’s work is marked by a series of scandalous contracts,” writes Magyar Nemzet after a two-part series of articles on the planned “sale” of City Hall that was published in news portal Index. Magyar Nemzet’s chief editor claimed that Karácsony plans to sell the historically-protected building, offering a contract seen by Index as proof.

Mayor Karácsony has maintained that the entire story is “fake news,” that the City Council has no intention of selling City Hall, and that the city has nothing to do with the purported contract. He says he has also filed a lawsuit on the matter.

While Magyar Nemzet reports on Karácsony’s “denial,” its article lists “further” scandalous contracts and plans at length. Likewise, Hirado.hu also presents the matter as “confusing,” in which Karácsony “denies and explains.”

Index claims that the contract in its possession is a private agreement signed by Northern Rock Kft. and Beák and Partners Real Estate Company, in which the Mayor’s Office was referred to as a subject of the agreement.

Deputy Mayor Kiss Ambrus told the RTL Club that Index’s articles were not investigative work, but rather a politically-motivated act on the part of the news portal.

[HVG]

By Steven N.

Steven is the editor-in-chief of Hungarian Politics. He has been following the political scene in Hungary and the Central European region more or less since 1994.