The news is that, as of this Monday, World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder and Israeli property investor Joav Blum are taking legal action against Hungary in Washington D.C., USA. They want more than 100 billion forints (EUR 337m) in damages from the Hungarian taxpayers because of their failed casino investment. The Israeli investors will testify in person at the hearings. An earlier testimony by former Socialist prime minister Gordon Bajnai, as well as a written testimony by former Socialist prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany will be used as well to back up the case of the disappointed investors.
Gordon Bajnai, leader of the opposition E14-PM electoral alliance, told a Hungarian court last year that, as a prime minister, he had confronted the billion-dollar casino project planned in Sukoro in central Hungary not as a business issue but as a politically focused one.
Ex-Socialist prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsány, leader of the opposition DK party, who is in fact infamous for his “Őszöd speech” which resulted in mass riots and in an unprecedented mass-scale abuse of human rights and police terror in Hungary in the autumn of 2006, granted Lauder’s and Blum’s plans a priority status. Later the public prosecutors tried to make him accountable for this and the US embassy made it clear in uncertain terms that they were very worried about the witch-hunt Mr. Gyurcsány had to put up with in this case.
Former finance minister Peter Oszkó and former staff of Investment and Trade Development Hungary ITDH will give testimony in person on the side of the state of Hungary.
The plans of Blum and Lauder to build a casino and resort on Lake Velence in Western Hungary, allegedly for more than one billion Euro, failed after a land swap involving the site was put under scrutiny. Opposition leader András Schiffer filed a report to the police in the autumn of 2009 and this is when the scandal broke.
Unfortunately for the Israeli investors, Hungary’s supreme court (Kúria) declared the contract on the exchange of farm land for prime lakefront property null and void a year ago and they also established that the planned land swap would have resulted in a financial loss of 1.3 billion Forints for the Hungarian state. This is why Lauder and Blum are seeking revenge… er, compensation in Washington.
So who are these respectable Israeli investors who want 100 billion HUF from the Hungarian taxpayer for shattering their grandiose casino dreams, a business which could have easily eclipsed Monte Carlo and Las Vegas?
Well, a certain Yoav Blum, an Israeli-Hungarian citizen, bought this fancy residency in Sukoró some time in 2007. Lake Velence, where this impressive palace of a grand businessman dealing with grandiose business projects is located, is a popular resort place west of Budapest.
Then he bought some apple tree plantation in Albertirsa which is really a small, dull town in the Great Plains. But then he didn’t seem to be interested in apples so much because he soon offered his apple trees in the Albertirsa sand (valued at 300 millions at the time) in exchange for the lake-side land in Sukoró (valued at 1.1 billion HUF).
Oh,well, a few hundreds of millions were still missing… No problem. Mr. Blum bought some more fruit trees in the village of Pilis which, due to some strange coincidence, happened to be located exactly where motorway M4 would run in a few years. Now Mr. Blum’s fruit trees were worth 800 millions. The Hungarian Asset Management Holding discussed the land swaps first on the 18th of June, 2008 and the procedure went through in a record short time: the evaluation of the business proposal was held on the 28th of July and they approved it on the 30th. Mr. Yoah Blum because an owner of the Sukoró land on the very next day.
This was when the whole Jewish mafia, that is Ronald Lauder, Ronald Lauder, Fred Langhammer and Itzhak Fisher appeared on stage. The rest is history, see above.
- Bajnai tells court casino deal political, not business (politics.hu)
- Israeli investors seek damages from Hungary in international arbitration court (politics.hu)