The legend of the Nokia-box and the pure truth
The legend of the Nokia-box and the pure truth
1. The box that became the symbol of corruption
A news came to light in the Hungarian media in March 2010 which shocked the whole country. This served the proof to the ones who criticize the Gyurcsány-government that the socialist-liberal administration is rotten to the core. This prejudice has been created successfully by the right-wing media.
The declaration of Zsolt Balogh, former general manager of Budapest Public Transport (BKV) caused this huge stir controversy, which was about to pay fifteen million forints a year to Miklós Hagyó, former vice-mayor of Budapest, who blackmailed him. Due to the interview the second fifteen million forints were given personally by Zsolt Balogh to Hagyó in a Nokia-box. Due to Balogh’s allegation he was threatened by the vice-mayor that he would disclose the illegal certificate of completion of the HÉV passenger displays, signed for CC Soft Kft. if Balogh failed to pay the amount claimed.
The subject of the interview depicts Miklós Hagyó as an uncultured dictator who terrorizes his “people” with a touch of Mafia leader who asks his young employee during his lunch: “You’ll be?” And then he instructs: “be tough…’cause here the things have to be done. No mercy to anyone who fails…his throat has to be cut!” – Now the reader may feel to watch The Godfather movie where the ruthless Mafia leader gives order to his threatened servants.
In spite of the fact that both of the above articles publish the words of Zsolt Balogh – that is not the thought of the journalist – the reader may have the feeling that these are solid rock, proven facts. This can happen since in 2010 and the prior years the right-wing media kept on emphasizing the picture of the “left-liberal government that sold and robbed the country during the last eight years” so that it grabbed the society’s mind and so the story of an interviewee could be treated as pure truth.
The right-wing has created an atmosphere with the tools of the mass media that is ruled by the desire of a moral catharsis in which the vast majority of the society was inclined to neglect its capability of sober analysis and evaluation; it ate what was served by that media. So the targeted media-campaign managed to make the people believe Miklós Hagyó and the Nokia box are connected and thus became the symbol of the corruption.
This corruption scandal was set by the Hungarian News Agency (MTI) like a proven state of affairs, a crime committed by Miklós Hagyó without any doubt. There were few who doubted. The others were pleased to accept the accusation against Miklós Hagyó for fraudulent misuse of funds committed in crime organization.
However if we examined the criminal sweet news stuffed with prejudices in the shop window and how the indictment was prepared I am pretty sure that your hunger would go away.
2. Nokia box in the indictment – accusation requirements
The Nokia-box-blackmail issue being one of the biggest Mafia crimes in the country appears only in a few sentences in the indictment:
“Miklós Hagyó accused of I order as the Deputy-Mayor of the Metropolis having abused his official power ordered Zsolt Balogh accused of IV order as the CEO of BKV to give him HUF 15,000,000 per year.
In order to claim the contribution Miklós Hagyó envisaged the possibility of hamstringing Zsolt Balogh on the basis of the improper statements on completion signed in favor of CC Soft Kft. in December 2007. By the above conduct and his violent behavior Miklós Hagyó aroused fear in Zsolt Balogh who as a result of this gave 15 Million Forints to Miklós Hagyó in the years of 2008 and 2009 as undue and illegal benefit.
It is observable that the description of blackmail and bribery is so general in the indictment and the elements of the state of affairs like the exact place and date of the money handover are totally missing, it only defines the year.
It is worth to know the conditions of how to accuse someone in a country where the rule of law exists. It is the Act XIX of 1998 on the criminal procedure that defines those fundamental principles which guarantee the accused shall not be judged with the absence of crime.
Out of these principles we have to underline the principle of prosecution that is the requirement of the legal prosecution and on the other hand the legal stipulations regarding the burden of proof.
The Act LI of 2006 on the amendment of the criminal procedure act (Novell) stipulates the notion of legal prosecution. However the jurisprudence defines the legal prosecution otherwise; some states that the principle of prosecution requires the definite criterions of the legal prosecution.
Vádelv the purpose of the legislature is to enact the principle that a legal prosecution can be lodged only if all the legal conditions exist and this notion serves the best interest of the accused. The principle of prosecution is defined by Section 2 of the criminal procedure act that is the legal prosecution is the inevitable, essential condition of initiating, proceeding the judicial procedure and delivering sentence.
It is a basic obligation against the prosecution to be legal and profound. If there is any obstacle against the prosecution then it fails to meet the requirements of being legality. It is called profound if “it is based on evidences which come from legal proof of evidence.”
The legal prosecution has minimal elements in its merit without which no judicial procedure can be initiated since “the legal resolution has to be well established”. These conditions are contained by paragraph (2) of Section 2 of the criminal procedure act that is the prosecution is considered legal if the crime is exactly described and a certain person claims the court to conduct the trial.
The manifestation of the prosecution is the indictment which essential element is the description of the act being the subject of the prosecution. The Supreme Court said in its opinion that the prosecution shall be regarded precise if “the historic state of affairs contains entirely the exact elements of the crime according to the statutory definition e.g. the criminal conduct, place and date of the crime committed.” Therefore one of the most important conditions of the VÁDELV is the criminal conduct since only those actions can be the subject of the prosecution which is stated by the prosecutor in the indictment. The specialty of the subject of the prosecution is that it gives the frames of the judicial procedure and so the judgment. It is a basic principle that the court shall not expand over the frames of the prosecution however it has to be expended.
Due to the judicial practice the legal prosecution has to contain the merits of the historical conduct that is a brief is enough. According to Endre Bócz the most effective way is to substitute the statutory definition with the historical facts. However there is a discrepancy between the standpoint of the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor General on the meaning of the subject of the prosecution.
Besides, point c) of paragraph (3) of Section 217 of the criminal procedure act says that the indictment shall contain the qualification of the conduct being the subject of the prosecution which means that the prosecutor must qualify the crime in legal aspect so this is the expressed obligation of the prosecutor.
The order of 11/2003 (ÜK 7.) of the Prosecutor General stipulates that the indictment must contain the place and date of the crime committed, motive, instrument of the conduct, mode and consequences of the conduct. Since the place and exact date is missing from the state of affairs of blackmail and bribery being the II point of the accusation, the indictment fails to meet the requirements of the Prosecutor General’s order.
The European case law and practice is clear that the prosecution has to be profound and exact. In a case before the European Court of Human Rights the plaintiffs argued that the indictment was insufficient since the phrase “violation of public policy” is too general definition hence is violates point a) of paragraph (3) of Section 6 of the European Charta of Human Rights.
Therefore we can say that the II point of the indictment against Miklós Hagyó fails to meet the requirements of the legal prosecution defined in the criminal procedure act. This stipulation guarantees that an accusation can be raised only on the basis of a well-established state of affairs.
The indictment was characterized in the article of HVG journal as “carelessly supported political pamphlet” since you cannot find a single document from the tens of thousands of pages which could support the accusation of crimes committed in criminal organization. There is not a slightest evidence or circumstance beside the preamble of the indictment that would lead to the allegation of some Mob-crime. the journalist writes an example that due to the standpoint of the indictment “Ernő Mesterházy mediates the interests of the companies connected to the Lord Mayor toward BKV”. The method of how he did, who are the circles of Demszky (Lord Mayor at that time) and the prosecutor did not initiate the interrogation of Demszky Gábor as witness. There are only three crimes with which the prosecutor accuses Hagyó out of the fifty ones listed in the indictment. The evidences are mostly attestations by witnesses which are rarely incriminating. For instance János Pálocska – a company owner connected to BKV – based his attestation on rumors, second-hand information.
3. Problems with the burden of proof of the II point of the indictment
1. Investigative deal or pressure?
The II point of the indictment is mostly based on the attestation of Zsolt Balogh former general manager of BKV. As you can find out from the statement of Zsolt Balogh’s lawyer, Dr. György Bárándy, Zsolt Balogh intended to reach an investigative deal with the prosecutor. Due to the lawyer’s standpoint Balogh informed the police with information that may serve the disclosure of severe crimes committed by others. Balogh would have been suspect during the interrogation if he had not taken incriminatory attestation against Hagyó. Due to the police the former general manager was “potentially guilty”.
Balogh’s lawyer - after his former declaration - informed the press about the fact that the planned investigative deal did not come into existence after all.
In connection with Zsolt Balogh’s former attestation the court found the Central Detective Prosecutor from which a reply was received that the prosecutor "does not wish to use those open sourcing evidences which were generated as qualified data during the investigation”.
Despite of the failure of the investigative deal the police qualified Balogh’s testimony as a State secret.
When Zsolt Balogh withdrew his ominous investigative testimony in a court hearing he claimed that he had made this statements, also those to the media, by pressure since “he did not want to go to jail” and “he is not a hero." It is noteworthy that in this case neither Balogh nor any other did a report because of forced interrogation, which is mandatory in such cases.
The Attorney General's Office of Budapest published in response to the news that the Hungarian criminal law does not recognize the institution of plea bargain (American-style) and the result of the investigative deal is, in principle, that the investigating authority shall terminate the procedure in the case of the accused however in case of Balogh it did not happen as he is still being included in a criminal case.
Since the circumstances of the investigation are considered State secret under which we can rely on only the Prosecutor's Office’s and Zsolt Balogh’s statements, we do not know exactly the circumstances under which he made his testimony as crown-witness.
Colloquially referred to the investigative deal wrongly as plea bargain, although the Hungarian law does not recognize the American-style plea bargain. The law of criminal procedure in force recognizes two procedures which are somewhat similar to the original meaning of classical plea bargain: one is the cancellation of the hearing upon the accused wish; the other is the termination of the investigation because of the cooperation of the suspect – like in the case of BKV.
According to the rules in force in the criminal procedure law, the Prosecutor or the investigating authority terminates the investigation if the person is reasonably suspected of committing a criminal offence by himself or by any other, contributes to the discovery of the criminal offence to the extent that the national security or law enforcement interests is greater than the need to enforce the criminal law of the State in the interest of society.
The institution of investigative deal came to the Hungarian criminal procedure law in order to speed up the procedures, mainly from American and English law. Our country’s jurisprudence has been suffering from a long-standing problem with a number of adverse consequences and that is that the criminal proceedings unreasonably delay. A high level of backlog and delay and the expansion of staff is not a sufficient solution. One of its most damaging effects is that over time, the memory of witnesses fades, the probative value of tangible evidences vanish.
The primary purpose of the criminal proceedings is the material truth detection, of which realistic chance is reduced by the increasingly long proceedings. In addition, the victims of a crime lose their hope of the recovery order and reparation during that long period in criminal proceedings. During this time, the suspect waits the judgment in his case in full of uncertainties, during which his right to a fair trial is violated.
In our country the right to a fair trial is among the fundamental rights declared in numerous international convention, of which is an important part the right to complete the process within a reasonable time.
About one-third of the cases being at the European Court of Human Rights were a breach of the rules of rational deadlines so you can hardly find a State that does not need to appear in front of the European Court of Human Rights as an “accused”. This is one of the main reasons that all of the countries – inter alia our country – are trying to avoid penalty, which makes them abbreviating the criminal cases.
The institutions aiming to speed up the procedures in addition to their advantage, however, certain risks, dangers can be tainted. At the earliest, an English lawyer, Fortescue's aptly the concerns regarding the too quick procedures, according to which, “they never involve as much of a threat to the Jurisdiction when it takes place too quickly ".
The procedure taking place in a short time carries the threat that the establishments of the facts, the truth-finding potential are limited and might suffer from deficiency. To obtain the evidence, evaluation, establish the facts is a time-consuming process, which is indispensable for the investigation, the legal prosecution appropriate to the criteria of the righteous accusations.
On the other hand, the degree of danger is inherent in the proceedings too truncated that the rights of the participants may be injured. The most common critique against the procedural alternatives aimed at the acceleration of the procedures is that they may infringe the fundamental right to a fair trial and its additional rights.
According to the lawyer Pál Bátki, an informal investigative deal may be concluded between the prosecutor and the suspect, which is not a legal instrument, which would be regulated. In this case, the suspect and the investigating authority “coordinate their interests” but this is not an official deal. The investigative deal however is an agreement between the investigating authority and the suspect, in which will be recorded that the authority is required to terminate the investigation in exchange for information giving help to explore the crime. The prosecutor's grant is required for the investigative deal.
The details of the plea bargain and investigative deal are part of State secret so that neither the accused nor the lawyer takes statement. If the prosecutor infringes within the boundaries of the contents of these negotiations it would mean a serious abuse. As a contrast of this in the informal, verbal agreement, in most cases, some sort of procedural advantages, for example, the termination of pre-trial detention as well as the possibility of at large defense is offered to the suspect in exchange for his testimony. However, such oral agreements, according to the case-law is not always possible to enforce, and the Prosecutor's Office is not binding to the extent that, as the official written investigative deal.
History of the criminal proceedings and the case-law also shows that, as in the case of BKV can also be observed for the majority of crime is not typical of the evidence abundance. Therefore the investigating authorities are always seeking to extort testimony with the most diverse tools. The confession of the accused in the “plea bargain” procedures has always been dealt with some reservations because of the risk of false or enforced statement.
The jurisprudence distinguishes many different types of false statement, which causes, motivations are very different. In addition, there are interrogation techniques, which are perfectly suitable for influencing the confessions.
An essential requirement in this regard is that due to the right to a fair trial of which part is the prohibition of self-incrimination, it is prohibited to force anyone to testify against himself or to furnish evidence although it is impossible to prohibit him to do so. In retrospect it is hard to determine whether a confession could be considered to be free from all pressures. Therefore, the case law imposes criteria against the confession as a voluntary, credibility or awareness. Of course you can treat the suspect’s confession voluntary if its basis is not a result of unlawful coercion therefore, the break of the suspect with violence or psychic force is always prohibited.
There are a number of practicing lawyers, who reluct from the investigative deal or the plea bargain. Dr. László Jován believes that the plea bargain means that the apparent sinner is allowed to run since the investigation is terminated against the suspect who takes exploratory testimony. The most important thing to the investigating authorities is that they can detect a more serious crime thanks to the exploratory testimony. In addition, according to László Jován another problem with the plea bargain is that it runs against the fundamental principles of law. Dr. Géza Papp, often acting in major criminal matters, also a lawyer, says that it is a basic moral norm that nobody may escape from his tight squeeze position by “stepping onto another suspect’s shoulder”.
Dr. Péter Bárándy’s standpoint on the plea bargain is that it is not favorable to any of the participants since the investigator, the prosecutor, the suspect and the lawyer as well as fears to fool them. According to this legal standpoint, the State supports treason with this legal solution. In contrast, Dr. Antal Dezső, Ede Kaiser's lawyer believes that this issue is not reprehensible, if someone is cooperating with the authorities although, his client was incorrectly sentenced to life imprisonment due to plea bargain in the case of Mór-murder having claimed eight victims. Who confessed against Kaiser received quarter and 25 million forints prize was rewarded however it is now known that the court delivered false judgment on the basis of his testimony. Due to Antal Dezső it is also a serious threat in such proceedings that despite of the secrecy of the plea bargain in most cases turns out the person who testifies against others like the witness of the Mob-trial in Kecskemét who was shot in Serbia after his testimony.
László Jován opposes to plea bargain (exact phrase: investigative bargain) in fact, because the legal background and the criminal agreement system is unconstitutional. On the other hand it forces the bargain making suspect to lie and the procedure carries the risk of abuse. In addition, it makes such procedures difficult to monitor that the prosecutor's order on the content of such agreement is non-public.
László Jován believes that since the whole bargain process is considered State secret, the defense is excluded to get access to relevant information, upon which he becomes aware of the motivations of the suspect who testifies against his client. According to his standpoint it is observable in the case-law that the investigative authorities use the pre-trial detention as an evidentiary tool in many cases. For example, if someone makes a full confession in the fifth day of his arrest in connection with an embezzlement of billionaire, he usually immediately placed on his release.
And so it was, inter alia, in the Kulcsár-case, although Attila Kulcsár’s attestation seemed to be governed due to the opinion of his lawyer as it became known in the video footage. In this case the thing is in essence that Attila Kulcsár decided who becomes an accused or a witness.
In contrast, normally in an economic case the personal evidence so as the testimonies of the person charged or witnessed ought not to be of crucial importance since in these matters the most relevant evidence should be a deed, documents and so a testimony has not too much of probative value.
In my opinion, the testimonies made in the course of investigative deal lack the requirement of influence on immunity and therefore it is a question whether it can be regarded identical relevant evidence as the confession taken without bargain or deal.
The deceptive promise of benefits and the various methods of interrogation are considered as evidences gained by infringing significant procedural rights of the participants. The latter is the lack or limitation of fundamental rights, which results the evidences losing their probative value.
Uncovering the truth shall be based only on reliable evidence. As a consequence of this, you can decide whether the confession should be excluded from the scope of the evidences or not.
Representatives of jurisprudence so the authors of textbooks have the opinion that the interrogation tactic is designed to get a wider, truthful confession along with the most stringent requirements for maintaining the rule of law.
In our case we point out that a psychological compulsion is considered as a forced interrogation such as in the case when the detective tells the suspect that he would get certain benefits only in case of a confession. It is improper and involves risks the mindset that confronts the legality and efficiency since the apparent efficiency that is obtaining the confession is not sure that it brings the truth to reveal, but be sure that is illegal.
I explore the contradiction in that paragraph (1) of Section 192 of the criminal procedure act on the one hand allows the investigative deal with the suspect so that the investigating authority terminates the procedure against him in exchange for a confession. In contrast, paragraph (1) of Section 180 prohibits the investigating authority to ask a question which implies the answer or a not proven fact or a promise being inconsistent with the law. In addition, paragraph (1) of Section 181 provides that, in addition to those listed above, it shall be prohibited to ask questions, which implies guidance to the answer moreover, it extends the application of Section 180 to the witnesses as well so that the answers to the questions listen above should be excluded from the scope of the evidences.
Despite the fact that the investigation phase of criminal proceedings is not subject to a strict restriction on influencing the suspect by asking such questions as in the judicial phase, such interrogation methods are far from being less risky since the detection of the historical events occurs in the course of the interrogation and the suspect may remember to that confession during a subsequent interrogation. Balázs Elek’s opinion is to extend the restriction stipulated in the criminal procedure act to the interrogations applied during the investigations.
For the first time paragraph (3) of Section 60 of Act XXVI of 1989 stipulated the rule according to which the result of the evidence performed contrary to the provisions of law cannot be taken into account. The effective law stipulates similarly the evaluation of the evidences.
As it is explained in a former criminal procedure law the definition of “in a manner similar to…” means on one hand the physical constraints being less than physical coercion but this includes the so called “tricky questions” like bringing into error, unfounded promises or other psychic influence, which is proper to get the person testify contrary to his intention and knowledge.
It also raises questions on how to reconcile the principle of the right to a fair trial with the fact that the procedure applied during the investigative deal implies the influence of the suspect as its essential element is the promise to the termination of the procedure. Out of the partial rights of the right to a fair trial, in particular, the prohibition of self-incrimination is difficult to reconcile with the practice as the cooperating suspect shall take a confession onto himself or others in order to release him.
The Constitutional Court has taken a standpoint in several cases regarding the conflict of the right to a fair trial with other basic rights. The gown board determined the principals of the fair trial case by case. It pointed out that the right to a fair trial is also a result of a deliberation therefore there is no other deliberative basic right or constitutional aim against it.
The requirement of the fair trial is applied to the whole procedure, which must meet the requirements of fairness from the beginning of the investigation until delivering a judgment, which is one of the most important fundamental rights. This is one of the most important fundamental rights and a principle of criminal procedure at the same time, which guarantees that the courts do not deliver damning judgment against innocent people.
It is interesting in the BKV-case that almost all the witnesses have canceled or changed their testimony in front of the court and there are many beside Zsolt Balogh who complained to a forced interrogation.
It is not the purpose of the present study to determine whether the testimony of the witnesses is true but as Mihály Tóth criminal lawyer explained in his statement, the prosecutor’s office has a duty ex officio to initiate a procedure against a forced interrogation even if it is supported only by the testimony of the witnesses.
2. internal investigation at the BKV- An unused documentary evidence
Zsolt Balogh made his statement on 24th February 2010 at a police station in connection with the II point of the indictment as follows: BKV concluded an agreement in the summer or spring of 2008 with Synergon Nyrt. being the winner in the central procurement in order to supply Microsoft software.
Balogh reached this agreement upon the instruction of Hagyó as he testified. After that, in March 2008 Miklós Hagyó invited Balogh to his residency in Gödöllő where he told Balogh to pay him 15 million forints per year.
According to Balogh’s statement he could delivered this request that when he concluded the BKV contract with the CEO of Synergon Plc., L.M., L offered him to give 15 Million forints for the execution of the contract. At that time, the CEO was told to give this money directly to Hagyó instead of Balogh who confirmed in a future meeting that he received the amount.
On the basis of the confession Hagyó and Éva Horváth kept on instructing Balogh to deliver the following 15 Million to Hagyó. This money was also given by the CEO of Synergon, L.M. L.M. did not dare deliver personally the amount to Hagyó so they agreed that L.M. brings the money to the City Hall. Before, they met in a café where the CEO showed Balogh the money placed in a Nokia-box. L.M. had given the money to Balogh in the garage of the City Hall which he delivered to Hagyó at the room of Éva Horváth.
Strange enough that despite of the fact that L.M. had a leading role in the corruption according to Zsolt Balogh's testimony, the investigative authorities have not interrogated him at all. In addition, Hagyó was not confronted with him regarding the Synergon-BKV contract. It is remarkable that despite of the fact that the police was in the possession of the report of 1st April 2010 prior to the arrest of Hagyó of 17th May 2010, why someone who is not only a witness but also takes part of an alleged criminal offence was excluded from the circle of the ones to be interrogated and so the police neglected an essential evidence?
Not only the testimony of L.M. is the only possible relevant evidence neglected by the prosecutor but failed to use an available and suitable documentary evidence, which is to be considered as relevant evidence in accordance with the legislation in force.
The criminal procedure act stipulates that the burden of proof covers the facts on which the application of the rules of criminal law and criminal procedure law is essential. In the course of the demonstration the thorough and complete clarification of the facts has to be achieved.
This document is the report of the Budapest Police Department of Economic Security of 1st April 2010, which was available for the police prior to the arrest of Hagyó. This document is significant in terms of the investigation since Zsolt Balogh testified that he could delivered the 15 Million forints in 2008 that Synergon intended to give him 15 Million forints for the BKV-Synergon contract. According to his testimony he suggested that the CEO of Synergon would give this money to Hagyó instead of him.
The cash-flow between Synergon and BKV was investigated seven times so all-in-all eight police report deal with the transfers between Synergon and BKV. The aforementioned police report deals with the period between 1st January 2007 and 1st January 2010. Accordingly, there was no transfer in 2007 between BKV and Synergon Nyrt..
In 2008, the year of the alleged offence, there was only a single financial move, namely the transfer from the account of BKV on 12th September 2008, which was the counter value of the financial service of HUF 117,504,000 given to BKV.
The next transfer was completed 3rd February 2009 on HUF 237,418,056, which was indicated in the report as the price of a financial service according to which these amounts are in full compliance with the contract. The police report in addition to the aforementioned references also includes the fate of the amounts received by Synergon so accompanies the way of the money. This, however, does not contain either the 15 Million items or Zsolt Balogh as beneficiary.
It is a question why in this case the prosecutor did not qualified essential two evidences, which connect directly to the criminal action of bribery and blackmail, although in a way that they doubt the legitimacy of this charge?
So in this case there are two evidences, which were neglected by the prosecutor without any reason although the effective criminal procedure law orders the prosecutor to take into account all the circumstances whether they are criminative or saving to the accused.
So in this case there are two evidences, which were neglected by the prosecutor without any reason although the effective criminal procedure law orders the prosecutor to take into account all the circumstances whether they are criminative or saving to the accused.
3. Contradictions in the confessions of the accused of IV order
Before proceeding to the contradictions among the confessions of Zsolt Balogh I would like to draw the reader’s attention to an interesting event of the investigation. Before the arrest of Miklós Hagyó he indicated to the investigating authority on 11th May 2010 that he shall be at their disposal, he lives in his residency and gave all of his availabilities. In spite of this the police failed to interrogate Hagyó before his arrest of 14th May 2010.
Zsolt Balogh also offered his testimony to the investigating authority in the first half of October 2009 howver he was interrogation only in February 2010 firstly as witness and then as a suspect as stated in the letter dated on 8th April 2011 and addressed to the K.D. Marshall.
The investigators were not interested in the testimony of Ajtony Egervári, former CEO of C.C. Soft Ltd. who was rejected when he logged on the police to prove his claims since the police stated that there is no need for his testimony.
In this respect you should know the following: an important part of the facts of blackmail is that Hagyó got Balogh deliver the 15 Million forints or Balogh would be out of CC Soft Ltd. because of the improper statement on completion. Balogh stated in an interview in March 2010 that Hagyó personally pressed him for the sake of the statement on completion of the public information boards delivered by CC Soft Ltd. According to his allegations 40% of the hundred millions worth investment flew back to BKV as bribe. C.C. Soft Ltd. states that they carried out the implementation according to the contract and the leaders of BKV took over the public information system after checking it several times. Notwithstanding the statement of Balogh, C.C. Soft says that they did not give money to anyone.
Therefore, it can be observed that the volunteer witnesses, who did not support the accusation with their confession, were consistently rejected by the investigating authorities. The CEO of C.C. Soft Ltd. however was named as quasi perpetrator in the indictment although he was never interrogated.
Miklós Hagyó denied in his remarks the confession of Zsolt Balogh as he would have pressed Balogh to sign the statement on completion since he did not take part in the preparation, procuration or implementation of the public information system of HÉV furthermore he does not even know the CEO of CC Soft Ltd.
There are discrepancies among the several confession of Zsolt Balogh made in different time. They are a part of the testimony of the accused of IV order regarding the statement on completion of CC Soft Ltd.:
1. Zsolt Balogh said in his investigative statement: “I told Hagyó that although the work was fulfilled by C.C. Soft Ltd. and I witnessed that it works but the 30-days trial run had not expired so the completion could not have justified".
This is contradicted to the testimony and details of Zsolt Balogh’s following testimony: “I do not know why CC Soft could not perform the trouble-free 30-day trial run but the experts of the right expertise considered the completion as being able to the trial run and this is proven by the fact that this system runs in the Szentendre HÉV line in the present days". I asked the responsible technical professionals and the answer I got from them was that the trial run has not yet completed but it works perfectly so I signed the statement on completion quietly".
2. Zsolt Balogh alleged the following in the Minutes of his interrogation of 14th February 2010: “I tell that this is the only completion signed by me” This refers to the statement on completion of 6th December 2007 on the basis of which CC Soft Ltd. issued an invoice of gross HUF 47,520,000,-.
This contradicts Balogh’s statement of 16th March 2010 where he recognizes that not only the statement on completion of 6th December 2007 was signed by him but he signed several completions before and after this date moreover BKV concluded another contract with CC Soft Ltd in March 2008 for the sake of developing and installing a contract data base software:
“I signed the following revealed documents: 2007/41950. payroll, the invoice of 15th October 2007, the statement on completion of 15th October 2007 and the factoring contract between BKV-CC Soft-MKB Bank. I signed the following revealed documents: 2007/49.125. payroll, the invoice of 6th December 2007 and the statement on completion of 6th December 2007. I signed the following revealed documents: 2008/851 number of payroll, the invoice of 17th March 2008, the statement on completion of 17th March 2008 and the factoring contract between BKV-CC Soft-MKB Bank. I signed the following revealed documents: 2008/11.093 payroll, the invoice of 31st March 2008., the statement on completion of 17th March 2008 and the factoring contract between BKV-CC Soft-MKB Bank.
3. The accused of IV order testified the followings during his interrogation on 23rd August 2010:
,, ... was the main administrator of this tender. D.Z. was responsible for the publication of the tender. I as a team leader monitored ... work. I can't tell you ... who coordinated the ones who were invited to the tender. I found out that I have to deal with this tender that I received a notification signed by Mr. D. that I am the member of the tender committee. I then met the tender for the first time".
On the contrary, the Internal Control Board of BKV stated in its No. 2 report that the project manager was Zsolt Balogh.
4. Balogh in his statement made on 23rd August 2011 included the followings: “In my opinion C.C. Soft won the tender of the public information system highly guided. This can be gathered from colleagues’, bosses’ remarks".
In contrast, he testified the followings on 16th March 2010:
“As I recall I got 4-5 company's offer at that time. I tell you that as far as I can remember the CC Soft’s offer was about 10% less than the second bid. The result of the evaluation of the tender was the C.C. Soft Ltd. won the job then they started the contracting process". All of this proves that this was a proper tender where the winning company provided the best and lowest price, which was selected on the basis of predetermined criterions and conditions.
5, The followings took place during the interrogation on 16th March 2010: “After the contract Egervári turned to me that he has technical problems and extra work needs to be done in order to complete. Egervári claimed that BKV’s tender was not correct and he was not informed that there is no connection with the security equipment". (…) The money for the extra work has to be paid to Hagyó".
Zsolt Balogh said in an interview to the Hungarian Nation daily on 6th March 2010 that “The winner company shall raise its fee and also extend the deadline in November 2007” (…) “...This is a common procedure that the most favorable offer wins formally but will always come these modifications with the raised price and the extended deadlines".
He took the following testimony on 23rd August 2011 at the prosecutor’s office:
At the same time, C.C., Soft did not calculate with the requirement that the security system needs a connection. When they started the job then they realized this but the company Thales asked 1,2 Billion forints for this software. There were 2-3 meetings accordingly. Then, quickly they fabricated a control board which connects to the CC Soft system to download the information. To do this they had to write a separate program, which caused the price increase and the amendment of the contract, this special program".
Miklós Hagyó pointed out in connection with the confession of the accused of IV order that the amendment of contract had nothing to do with the software connection set-up, the differenc in the price was caused only by the replacement of the displays and that this process was initiated in the late August 2007 when Balogh and Hagyó did not even know each other and the accused of IV order was not in the position of technical vice-general manager. This is also demonstrated by the e-mail of Zsolt Balogh addressed to CC Soft on 3rd September 2007".
6, Zsolt Balogh stated in his statement of 24th February 2010 the followings: Mr. Hagyó invited me to the City Hall and I was told to sign the completion of CC Soft”.
This contradicts the interview in the Hungarian Nation daily on 6th March 2010: "... the amendment however you need to do and the extra money has to be paid just before Christmas." In fact, however the amendment was performed on 3rd October.
On the 7th March 2010 (the next day) in his interview to the News TV he gave a different explanation: “I was informed at the end of autumn that there was a specific work and during the payment extra performance has to be calculated with.”
The accused of IV order said by making discrepancy between his previous when he says that in late November, early December Hagyó invited him to the City Hall and instructed him to pay the final invoice of CC Soft.”
7. On the 24th February 2010 Balogh took the following statement:
“The payment of C.C. Soft Ltd.’s invoice slipped through to 2008. I know this that when I was in the position of CEO … told me to go to the City Hall to Mr. Hagyó. After I sat down Hagyó told me that the work is progressing nicely in Szentendre".
This contradicts the fact that Zsolt Balogh was appointed on 9th February 2008 as CEO. The technical transfer and acceptance was held on 30th November..
In addition, there are several contradictions among the actions incorporated in the II point of the indictment and the investigative confessions concerning Synergon Plc. I would like to describe them in the followings.
Zsolt Balogh told the followings in his interrogation on 24th February 2010: ”Hagyó instructed me to take my tender to Ernő Mesterházy”. From this statement you may read out that Hagyó supported the appointment of Zsolt Balogh as CEO.
The accused of II order refused the above statement.
In addition, the above statement contradicts the testimony of the accused of IV order saying that: “ Previously I had order from Hagyó to support the appointment of Kocsis. I was not in the position to influence the appointment so I had to take a professional look at his application to filter out the possible errors or mistakes.
Miklós Hagyó denied the above allegations of Balogh. He also drew attention to the testimonies of Balogh, which are in discrepancy to each other.
The accused of IV order stated in his interrogation on 30th Marc 2011:
I gave the money to Hagyó in Lelovics’s room and then I went back to Éva Horváth's office. Éva just asked me if it’s all right? I gave her a bypass answer like: Of course. And then I also left the place. He said that he wanted to run away from this situation that was the reason why he gave a bypass answer since I did not want to talk about this at all. I was ashamed and I am ashamed of this".
There is a discrepancy between the above confession and the interview of the accused of IV order as follows:
In spite of the above, he gave interviews to the wide public through TV channels and the most popular dailies, of which content was rejected in the court hearing by himself.
It is difficult to figure out his motivations when he stand up in front of the public despite of the shame he felt that carries a severe moral burden and the risk of legal stigma.
3. In his statement during the investigation Balogh made the following statement in relation to blackmail of several occasions: “Miklós Hagyó definitely said that if I don't give him that amount then they sew up my stockings at C.C. Soft due to the signing of the completion".
This is entirely in conflict with the fact that they knew a lot about Zsolt Balogh’s participation in the whole project e.g. the preparation of the contract, the contractor's role in increasing the amount, the implementation…etc.
So all of this is a common knowledge and based on documents also acknowledged by the managerial and professional circles. Therefore, it is a fact that the disclosure of it was totally inappropriate to create fear in anybody. This is also demonstrated by the Internal Control Division of BKV report, which clearly sets out that: “Zsolt Balogh office manager and later general and technical deputy CEO was the manager and host of the case as from the tendering procedure thorough the amendments till the statements on completion".
4. In addition to the threat of deterrence, Zsolt Balogh said during the interrogations that Hagyó has kept him in constant fear by his dictatorial management style and felt that if he did not obey him his existence and life would be at risk. These confessions also refer to controversies. During one of the interrogations he said:
“I was broken by the possibility that Hagyó may destroy my existence because of the signed CC Soft completion and moreover I felt that they could kill me at any time and this fear still persists".
This claim is entirely in contradiction with the fact that confessions also confirmed that Balogh ignored the CEO instructions several occasions and simply did not sign the received but treated unnecessary contracts:
“I tell you that when I saw the large quantities of contracts not related to the activity of BKV then I started to brake this process, I put them away". His next testimony also testifies that as an acting CEO had wide decision rights on most issues and decided independently:
“When I was appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Executive decided about the top managers. There was a deputy person or any other leader who I sent away, S.L. deputy CEO, B.Gy. and others were sent away by me".
In addition, there was a misspeak, which also refers to the lack of fear. On this basis the accused of IV order testifies the followings: “I became tough since they flattered me again. And then I said that I've had enough of you I have completed all of your requests”. It is hard to imagine such a firm opposition if someone has a fear of dying.
During the confrontation with Hagyó of 4th September 2010, Balogh stated the followings in connection with the corruption of IT Outsourcing and Synergon: I did not manage the tenders. I simply cannot take part in the tender process. I basically rejected your request".
So if we summarize the contradictions of the confessions a question arises as to when and which Synergon contract are we talking about: the transport contract or the IT Outsourcing contract? It is not celar at all on the basis of the confessions that why Balogh concluded the contract: 1. The company won in public procurement and therefore the company was able to conclude a contract? 2. Did he concluded upon the instructions of Hagyó? 3. He signed it because it was in the signatory block and the necessary preparatory signatures were on it?
It could not have been managed to fix a date for the entering into a contract based on the statements.
6. From the investigative documents we may find it out that practically we are talking about the following contracts:
The first one is a big company transport of Microsoft products as of 30th June 2008. The contracting parties are the BKV as customer and Synergon as supplier. The entrepreneurial fee was HUF 289,969,000 Ft + VAT, the fulfillment’s deadline: the first 96 Million forints had to be paid until the 29th September with 60 days deadline. The second installment’s deadline was 31st January 2009 with the amount of HUF 193,969,000.
The second contract was the IT Outsourcing agreement. The date of the binding was the 19th November 2008, the customer was BKV Zrt., the service provider was Synergon. The fee stipulated by the parties was HUF32,987,952,387 Forints. The supplier was obliged to complete the service in 10 years as from the date of signing. The contract was signed by István Kocsis on BKV’s side and L.M. on Synergon’s side.
There is also a third contract, which was concluded during the governance of István Tarlós, on 17th October 2010 where BKV is the principal and Synergon is the supplier. The fee is HUF 6,975,783,280 so altogether this is a 7 Billion contract.
This means the followings according to the confessions. Zsolt Balogh did not objected to sign the contract dated 30th June 2008 since he was afraid of the consequences but on the contrary he was brave enough to object against the signing of the HUF 33 Billion IT Outsourcing contract and no retaliate reached him. Another shortcoming of the investigation is that collecting the tender and other documents of the procurement is missing for for unknown reasons.
7. The Minutes of the confrontation between Balogh and Hagyó says the followings:
The acting prosecutor questions: "Mr. Balogh noted that during a conversation there has been an information in respect of excluding a participant from the tender. I ask you to comment on it in details. Which company’s which tender was that? Answer: You asked me Miklós to find only Synergon proper to the tender conditions and so to exclude the other company. I asked for, I think, two days due to the fact that I was not involved in the tendering and so I basically refused your request.”
To the contrary, BKV’s statement of 19th November 2008 says that Hagyó played no positive or negative role in the IT Outsourcing contract. This communication reports that the Board of Directors decided on the contract as a result of a procurement, in which 17 companies submitted a letter of intent and Synergon became the winner as the one who submitted the best offer. Basically this tender gave the BKV 3 Billion overall savings in 10 years if you examine the extra works, the higher quality of the service level and the extended payment periods.
8. The accused of IV order testified differently during the interrogations on the reason of the money take-over:
He alleged the expressed instruction of Hagyó once then he stated that the money served the purpose of supporting a nursing house and in another way Balogh said that Hagyó did not informed him about the purpose of the money. He alleged in an interview of 7th March 2010 to the Hír TV that the money was required to finance political parties. There are differences in the amounts of the money as well, sometimes he talks about 30 Million then changes to 70 Million. All-in-all the amount of the money, the purpose and the way of the money is never clear in his testimonies.
9. The accused of IV order says differently in his several confessions: Zsolt Balogh indicates the original source of the money in the person of L.M. CEO of Synergon in all cases however he describes the story in different ways and circumstances.
By contrast, he alleged in an interview of 6th March 2010 to the HÍR TV that the managers of BKV collected the money to Hagyó. They were already aware of the fact that I deliver the money.
So the confessions of the accused of IV order contradict to each other as when and under which circumstances, in which order, where and with what content it has been undertaken by L.M. that he gave the money to Hagyó.
There is a statement of Balogh where he alleged that during their second meeting after the meeting in a café, in late June 2008 L. offered him 15 Million to hand over in favor of Hagyó given by the CEO of Synergon.
The testimony of the accused of IV order on 23rd August 2010 contains that L. suggested him during their meeting in the office of the accused of IV order that he would give a royalty to Balogh who bypassed the answer. And then a week after he said in the café that the money has to be given to Hagyó while L. was hesitating and then he decided to continue.
If we take all the relevant information into account e.g. time-line of the events, dates of the contracts and dates of other events, it becomes evident that this line of the events excludes each other and the story could not happened in this way:
Putting the details together you may find the following time-line: the first date is the 30th June, Monday. Then Balogh and L.M. met during the next week. According to his confession he did not accept the money at this time. After this he was thinking for a week when he asked his secretary to arrange another meeting with L.M. This meeting was held in the week commencing as of 7th July 2008. Miklós Hagyó went on a hike on 10th July 2008 by train to Szombathely then changed to bus to Velem where the hike was started on the next day. According to the testimony of the accused of IV order Hagyó met Balogh on 17th July 2008. Consequently it is impossible that someone gave Hagyó 15 Million forints till 10th July 2008.
Eight reports have been made by the police and each of them examined the period between 1st January 2007 to 1st February 2010. It is obvious from these reports that no money transfer was made in 2007 between Synergon and BKV , there was only one such transfer in 2008 which you can find in the report of 1st April referred by Hagyó.
According to a police report dated 1st April the following bank transfers were made between Synergon and BKV during the period of 1st January 2007 and 1st February 2010: transfer from BKV’s account on 12th September 2008 (HUF 117,504,000 IT-service), second transfer on 3rd February 2009 (HUF 237,418,056 IT-service). These amounts however entirely correspond to the contracts. The report also deals with the way of the money and in this course neither Zsolt Balogh nor the 15 Million is listed.
Summarizing the above it can be stated that the CEO of Synergon could have paid the 15 Million to Hagyó only if BKV fulfilled its obligation upon their contract. According to his statement the first 15 Million was taken over during the hike in the lake of Hévíz. It is strange that the first transfer was in 12th September 2008 two months later than the alleged takeover of the 15 Million.
The accused of IV order says differently:
The first confession did not mention the time and circumstances of the confirmation of the takeover. You can only read in the Minutes that it happened during a personal meeting.
In the next confession you can read that Hagyó confirmed in the lake of Hévíz that he received the money.
In addition, all the above statements are also questioned by the confession of 23rd August 2010. They are about that the accused of IV order when he was no longer appointed CEO, met with L.M. who allegedly informed him that it was not he who forwarded the first amount to Hagyó but a third person.
All contents of this confession have absolutely no rationality so this in itself is against the authenticity of the confession as the aforementioned conversation took place almost a year after than Hagyó allegedly acknowledged the receipt of the money in the lake of Hévíz.
17, There is no reasonable explanation why the accused of IV order confessed that the felt that he had to pay the amount in question in 2009. He said illogically that his mandate lasted for 30 days but Hagyó told him to prolong this period. I wanted someone else to be the CEO after this 30 days to avoid further payments but after I resigned I had to give him this money since he threatened me with the CC Soft contracts.
The contradictions are presented in the Minutes of 14th September 2010: For detective's question: Why did not Zsolt Balogh refused the handover of the amount in 2009 since he was no longer CEO to the BKV? Answer: I did not deny the handover of this amount since as I indicated before I feared him and I believed that under István Kocsis CEO it would not be easy to blackmail me with the public information board of Szentendre. The fact that this case came to sunlight and that Szentendre-case comes to the knowledge of the Board of Directors or the Supervisory Board – you fluttered this with me. I had to do the same in 2009."
The veracity of these claims is strongly questioned by the following facts: a compelling documentary evidence exists that Péter Takács sent an e-mail to … on 19th September 2008 on the status of the public information system. The mail was sent also to N.G., T.P., Zsolt Balogh and Sándor Futó who was the chief advisor for coordination of the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Therefore it is slightly possible that any information may have been disclosed to the Board of Directors regarding the public information system of Szentendre, 2009. Disclosing or envisaging a fact that is known by the entitled and authorized persons cannot be intimidating so no one can start to commit a serious crime upon it. So according to the minutes during the fall in 2008 more than 3 dozen BKV-employee and the whole management was aware of this fact. The director of the legal department worked 3 times on this case in 2008 and other 4 persons were also aware of its existence. So how could you intimidate anyone with that the Board of Directors got to know this in 2009?
18., The investigation reports contain a number of inconsistencies in respect of the consequences of the second alleged transfer of 15 Million forints: Due to the confession of 24th February 2010 L. met the accused of IV order in a café where he showed him the money that was put in the Nokia-box in a white bag. Then Zsolt Balogh took the bag from L. in the garage of the City Hall and he gave the money to Miklós Hagyó in L.O.’s office. Due to his allegation Hagyó took the bag but did not check its content.
The confession of 16th March 2010 however does not contain that L. showed the money in the café. But it does contain the fact not mentioned previously that both of them went to the garage of the City Hall by car where they stopped next to each other and Balogh without having get in the car of L. took the money, which he gave Hagyó in his office. Due to his allegation Hagyó took the bag but did not check its content.
Due to his confession of 23rd August 2010 L. did not show the money but explained in details the amount. The bag was not taken by Balogh from L.’s car but first he sat next to L. and took the bag and all of this happened in the street instead of a garage. After Balogh sat in his car both of the cars were started and L. was following Balogh until Madách-square. Józsi – professional driver of Balogh – came to the picture as a new witness of all of the above. Another new element in his 10th testimony is that Hagyó took the bag and opened the box and checked its content.
Summarizing my standpoint regarding the confessions of the accused of IV order it can be stated that the prosecutor raised accusation against Hagyó only upon the statement of Balogh which is full with contradictions and discrepancies. The prosecutor found the above statements profound despite of the fact that the contradictions between the confessions have to be clarified due to the relevant regulation and stipulation of the criminal procedure act. It is, as shown above, is still missing for some reason.
We cannot talk about evidences which would serve the basis of the prosecution. According to the rules of criminal procedure the fact which is not proven shall not be considered against the accused.
4., Az állítólagos szemtanú eredménytelen felismertetése
The failed recognition of the alleged eyewitness
Zsolt Balogh testified on 23rd August 2010 that Hagyó sent him to Gödöllő to his girlfriend, Krisztina T. where he instructed Balogh to give him 15 Million per year. Due to the confession of the accused of IV order that Hagyó told him that there are two reasons: the first on is that he works with a bunch of fellows who are not registered employees but they have to be financed and the other reason was that there is a nursing home at Csepel and he collected the money to support it". Here, again he accuses Hagyó that he threatened him with the disclosure of the improper CC Soft statement on completion.
Krisztina T. stayed in the second room when Balogh and Hagyó met so she could detect only the tone of the conversation tone detected, she did not hear what was said. That is the reason why she said that the conversation took place in a calm, polite manner and it did not seem to be such a violent persuasion or coercion
Miklós Hagyó’s girlfriend, Krisztina T.’s photo was shown to Zsolt Balogh during the investigation. It is strange that the accused of IV order did not recognize Krisztina T. however he stated that they met during the meeting in Gödöllő. It is difficult to understand that someone with strong emotions in connection with a memory can provide a detailed report but continuously failed to recognize a person taking part in that event.
On this basis, it is concluded that Zsolt Balogh’s statement is improper to confirm the II point of the indictment and no additional evidences arisen. In the light of this it is incomprehensible that how the prosecutor raised claim. Why a person was held in pre-trial detention, exposed to severe testing whose guilt is not supported by anything?
4. Criminal law as the tool of the election campaign
Nokia-box as the symbol of corruption was introduced to the public during the 2010’s elections. Unfortunately thanks to the governing party’s media the name of Miklós Hagyó entrenched in many people's minds as the representing of the corrupt social-liberal side who sells the public assets below the market price. ".
In addition, this hate discrediting campaign started well before the investigation neglecting and disregarded to the principle of the presumption of innocence.
Today it is a known fact that Zsolt Balogh withdrew his confession regarding the infamous Nokia-box, which is the bases of the II point of the indictment. Initially, however the public service media, MTI failed to give objective, factual information on the ominous confession about the withdrawal. Instead, he gave the following information on 16th October 2012: “Zsolt Balogh did not withdraw his statement made during the interrogation that is he gave 15 Million to the former socialist Deputy-Mayor two times ".
And on the same day, it appeared in a later news: Zsolt Balogh, ... did not withdraw his statement taken in the interrogation phase that is he had to give 15 Million to Hagyó twice. (…) He refused to give testimony in the hearing in connection with the point according to which he gave Hagyó 30 Million forints.
In reality, by contrast, Zsolt Balogh made the following statement on 9th October 2012. at the Kecskemét Tribunal: I informed the honorable court according to the best of my knowledge, I shall uphold my confession made at the hearing and it is not my intention to give further details or statements".
He insisted on in his statement and maintained them in 16th October 2012 when MTI was informed:
I shall uphold my confession made in the hearing. Also in relation to the discrepancies I maintain my confession made in the hearing. Therefore, I do not intend to say more."
As a result of the above Miklós Hagyó claimed for emendation from MTI. MTI failed to meet this request in due time therefore Hagyó lodged a lawsuit to the Metropolitan Tribunal.
For me it is inconceivable that a government who declares itself conservative, bearing Christian values and its servant media how could reconcile the Christian love with such a character-assassination.
I can only hope that at some point the Hungarian justice system returns to its original function and wins its independence and the Prosecutor's Office shall prosecute only on the basis of existing, relevant evidences. If we fails to act urgently accordingly then the Hungarian law the State slips back to the point when anyone can be prosecuted in the absence of evidence or criminal offence, only upon party-order.
Source: Galamus - csoport: http://www.galamuscsoport.hu/tartalom/cikk/387276_a_nokias_doboz_legendaja_es_a_valosag