HírTv interview with Balogh Zsolt from March 7th,2010




Interview with Zsolt Balogh

07/03/2010 – 20:09 (length: 25 minutes) - [2668088]

Presenter: - Welcome to the studio Zsolt Balogh, the former Acting CEO of BKV, good evening. The interview with you published yesterday in Magyar Nemzet (Hungarian Nation) took the world by storm. Those concerned are confutes, Miklós Hagyó threatens with lawsuit, issued a notice. Don't you have any regret still towards the public?

Zsolt Balogh (former Acting General Manager, BKV) - I could not do anything else. So I think that sort of pressure and the type of internal stress has led me to that one day I have to say that to the public what really happened there, and as I mentioned in the article, in fact, all along I suspected, when I realized the situation, that once this must be accounted for, and I thought that people should learn from this story, and need to learn from my fate. And if with this I can somehow contribute to purification, then I think that it is right that I did it this way. Moreover with my family, with my wife, we discussed this whole thing, since it is basically certain that this thing influence my life. I received many threats, there were many types of intimidation attempts by someone or some people, which obviously makes me tense.

Presenter: - Do you know specifically who threatened you?

Zsolt Balogh: - Well, be it so obviously I did not specifically know who threatened me. Obviously I'm guessing.

Presenter: - Are you also prepared that you have to prove everything you said?

Zsolt Balogh: - Well, I think the proof is the testimony itself, so from then on, the court will decide whether I say it's true, and I believe that the truth will come out eventually.

Presenter: - But then we have heard, that to other parties of the case might have audio recordings, capturing image of text messages. You do not have such evidence, do you?

Zsolt Balogh: - There are certain things I can't answer now, and I can not answer that because I do not want to jeopardize the success of the investigation. This I don't wish to neither refute nor to confirm now.

Presenter: - Then we should also start the story from the beginning. When and how did you get to the Budapest Transport Company?

Zsolt Balogh: - I got to the the Budapest Transport Company in April 2007, as Head of Investment, this is an office management positions at the Budapest Transport Company. A few months after my group leader appointment I was appointed the Head of Department, the Head of the Investment Department, and after this...

Presenter: - It could not be just a few months, because around April you became group leader, and in September already deputy CEO, but what was your task, what did they communicate what they expected as deputy CEO, and who told you that?

Zsolt Balogh: - Well, the kind of orientation that exactly what the job is, actually I got to know at that the deputy mayor's office.

Presenter: - Miklós Hagyó?

Zsolt Balogh: - That's right, as I wrote in the article, they introduced me, before I didn't know Mr. deputy mayor, and in this interview, it was a short conversation, I was told, or he told me, that I must work hard, there will be expectations and those who do not meet the expectations, to that throats will be cut, as described in the article I wrote.

Presenter: - And then did you go home calm and said, that I'm a kind of cut throat type, I undertake?



Zsolt Balogh: - Well, I did not go by this case so easily, but I thought that it's such a figure of speech, or slogan, since I have not been in this environment before. I could not judge that this, what type of decisiveness it requires.

Presenter: - And when did it turned out that this is not just a figure of speech? When was the first irrecusable request?

Zsolt Balogh: - Well, that was at the end of autumn.

Presenter: - And who told you, and what?

Zsolt Balogh: - Well, there was a contact, and ...

Presenter: - Who was he?

Zsolt Balogh: - Mr. János Hatvani-Szabó, and actually here they communicated a request, that there is a specific job, and during the implementation of this work, surplus performances to be accounted.

Presenter: - What kind of job was this?

Zsolt Balogh: - This is the famous Szentendre passenger information system.

Presenter: - And then you said to this that it is okay, we'll modify the contract and I also accounted for what was not fulfilled?

Zsolt Balogh: - Not quite like this, but also in relation to the actual negotiations more contractors, and here is other company too, who I won't name now, but also because of the investigation, has indicated that surplus needs, surplus technical performance must be achieved.

Presenter: - So did you sign without a word, and told to János Hatvani-Szabó that this is okay?

Zsolt Balogh: - This is not quite the way the whole system goes at BKV, but there is a process of the contract modification, after the technical justification of the contract modification it is added to a system, and I wasn't the one who signed treaties in this period, at that time it was Attila Antal CEO.

Presenter: - I would like to get to a point, that in this interview you said to János Hatvani-Szabó, that this won't work. Is this how it happened?

Zsolt Balogh: - That's right.

Presenter: - And then who convinced you and how, to do it still?

Zsolt Balogh: - Well, I met with the contractor in a hotel lobby, and the contractor gently brought to my understanding that not to protest, because actually it's all because that money must ...

Presenter: - So János Hatvani-Szabó couldn't convince you but the contractor could?

Zsolt Balogh: - When I said that this not going to work, and in the meantime the manager of the contractor told me that what is the actual direction of this surplus cost, subsequently Mr. Hagyó called me in to the Town Hall, his office was located on one of the wings of the building, on the banking wing, and in front of the office it went out to the corridor, he put his arm around my neck and started walking around up and down. Actually, it was a very unpleasant body catch, because let me decide with whom I'm going arm in arm, or who I put my arms around.

Presenter: - So this could have been almost equal with physical pressure.

Zsolt Balogh: - Well, this was such a strange feeling of tightness, and strolling up and down the corridor while the workers of the Town Hall could all see that we walk in the corridor in sweet harmony. And then Mr. Hagyó said, that this surplus cost of Szentendre must be recognized.


Presenter: - Why did you turn to Éva Horváth with this matter? Who was she, what was her role at the BKV?


Zsolt Balogh: - Well, as in the article I phrased, I do not want to insult her as a person, but after all she was the gendarme's hat, so in fact she personified Miklós Hagyó at the BKV when the negotiations took place.


Presenter: - Then, in this difficult and humiliating situation in early 2008, they offer you the position of Acting CEO. Why did you undertake this?


Zsolt Balogh: - I thought that this is a one time request, and I thought that I can get away with this thing. Actually I was weak, I should have resisted, or I should have said that this is not what I signed for, I wanted to stay on my field.


Presenter: - And after you became the CEO, even though only the Acting CEO, the political requests proliferated or rather decreased?


Zsolt Balogh: - Well, it almost became an everyday thing, that in addition to the daily work Mr. Hagyó called me in, and where with Mr. Hagyó, there with Éva Horváth had to have an almost every day contact. The first private discussion was in Gödöllő, on a Saturday Mr. Hagyó asked me to go there. Actually it was said, that personally to him I must hand over 15 million HUF a year, and in any event, I must help in all kinds of things, connection with which he says.


Presenter: - Then for example this 15 million HUF from where did you pull from all together? Because if I know it correctly, you handed it over.


Zsolt Balogh: - The fortune or misfortune in this case played at my hand. This means, that regarding to one of the IT contract a former leader had a background deal, which was about that the IT company wants to pay business acquisition commission to that director, who...


Presenter: - So from this it was solved. But this wasn't the only 15 million HUF. Altogether how many times and how much money did you have to hand over?


Zsolt Balogh: - Overall personally, only once I handed over that 15 million HUF to Mr. Hagyó, and here that yearly 15 million HUF I think, that this way I could account.


Presenter: - But the 70 million, which is written in the article, how was it made up?


Zsolt Balogh: - The 70 million was composed of, that in connection with the Szentendre passenger information system, during the conversation at that time from the negotiation it turned out to me, that 40 million HUF was taken to Mr. Hagyó, by saying that I have signed this certificate of completion.


Presenter: - Where did you hand over this money, this 15 million, how and to whom?


Zsolt Balogh: - The 15 million itself I handed over to Mr. Hagyó personally, and at the Town Hall there were two offices opposite to his office, in one of them was Éva Horváth sitting, in the other one was Ottó Lesovits. I went to the Town Hall, and into Éva Horváth's office, who let Hagyó know that I arrived, then I had to go to the office of Lelovits with Mr. Hagyó. Mr. Hagyó, sent out Lelovits, and then I gave it to him.


Presenter: - And the rest of the money, what do you know about, how did it get to Miklós Hagyó?


Zsolt Balogh: - The first 15 million HUF got there directly from the IT company, the 70 million forints I mean, that I knew about 70 million HUF, that it’s my fault that it got to Mr. Hagyó. From 70 miillon, 40 million is that from the passenger information system, and twice 15 million he obtained in the course of this IT license.


Presenter: - Please tell us specifically how many times the money was handed over, in what form was it handed over, and in what form you saw that money been handed over?


Zsolt Balogh : - Specifically, on one occasion I gave 15 million forints.


Presenter: - In what form?


Balogh Zsolt: - Nos, ebben a Nokia dobozban, közvetlenül a Mr. Hagyó.


Presenter: - And that particular envelope?


Zsolt Balogh: - The envelope is of Szentendre, so who took the envelope in a bag, referred to in the hall, that this is the dowry of Szentendre passenger information system.


Presenter: - But did you see this envelope in János Hatvani-Szabó's hand?


Zsolt Balogh - I saw it in his bag, as he opened it.


Presenter: - From the political sphere, did you have to meet the requests of others as well, or just Miklós Hagyó?


Zsolt Balogh: - I'm not quite sure of what exactly do you mean under political sphere. Practically there was a conversation where at the beginning of the conversation, and I have referred to this, in a pretty humiliating way, being on hold for hours, eventually they asked me to go to a restaurant, where there was the Town Hall's other senior political representative Mr. Ernő Mesterházy, as well as the Chairman of the Board Mr. Tóthfalusi. Besides of Mr. Hagyó, Mr. Tóthfalusi had requests.


Presenter: - So they actually knew about it, Hagyó, Mr. Tóthfalusi, and Mr. Mesterházy all knew about this case.


Zsolt Balogh: - Well look, I assume that if there is a conversation at a table where there were known the highest representative of MSZP, SZDSZ, than I think, but of course I can tell  whether they have consulted with each other, but if they invite me for such a dinner, or more precisely they've finished eating they invited me for coffee, and then they tell me, that by the way whatever Mr. Hagyó and Mr. Tóthfalusi says it is like it's coming from Mr. Hagyó, so from then on ...


Presenter: - You have also said that union leaders also knew about certain circulation of money. The unions are very much protesting now. How can you be able to prove that the unions actually were aware of this secret money?


Zsolt Balogh: - Well please, like in connection with every other cases I claimed, and I would like to stress, because in this I am determined, practically I have nothing to lose, quotation marks only in my honor, I'm standing in front of the confrontation. So I am repeating this in their eyes too.


Presenter: - No one ever told you by way of explanation, or didn't you ask, that where this money will eventually go?


Zsolt Balogh: - They did not tell me.


Presenter: - Didn't you ask? So they weren't defending against with that so you brought me a lot of money, but don't think that I'm going to take this home!?


Zsolt Balogh: - Well look, in Zuhanyhíradó many people to talk about, that this money in some way goes to a party or parties. I tried to know as little as possible about these things, and tired not to become entangled to this part, that what will happen to it.


Presenter: - Was it imposed when and in what form to hand over the money? Since we've heard about it here a Nokia box. Was it a standard requirement to put the money into a Nokia box?


Zsolt Balogh: - No, it was accidentally.



Presenter: - Did you receive anything from this money?


Zsolt Balogh: - No.


Presenter: - You were not eligible? If you have the stipulation that all right, I'll bring that 15 million, but that two is mine, what would they say? Did not even occur during the conversation, that you could easily get a little of it?


Zsolt Balogh: - No, I had no such need to walk on such a path. I wanted to have a good night sleep at home.


Presenter: - Now that we talked about it, do you sleep slightly more relaxed?


Zsolt Balogh: - To tell the truth, that necessarily I wanted to tell, that since I left BKV, I'm at home and I'm processing these things. And our home, and I apologize for such a profane thing to be boring you or viewers, so our apartment is that the front room window is facing the gate. I live in an 80 m2 self-built family house for 25 years, I built this house 25 years ago, and Mr. editor, since I'm at home, this perhaps not even my family knows, every night or at dawn, when I went to the toilet to pee, I always took a look out at the gate, because I knew that they will come for me.


Presenter: - But on the way you had the opportunity more than once to say that it's enough. Why do fear them more than the administration of justice?


Zsolt Balogh: - Because I was weak, Mr. Hagyó could terrorize the people an indescribable way, he shouted, before practically for six years I was on the street. I was glad that I got a job, or could start a job as a team leader, in what profession I think I was good at, and still am. So it would have been a very difficult decision, obviously with my own conscience, and with my cowardice, and weakness. I was extremely pleased when I found out that I didn't have to carry on this position when the tender for the vacant CEO position was won by someone. It was also a terrible story. Well, imagine that they are screaming at me, that I must give in my application, when I knew that I am unfit for the call for tender, I do not meet the requirements, university degree required and I have college degree transport, and civil engineering. And I would refer back to another earlier question as whether they knew about each other that who is doing what. This conversation took place at Éva Horváth's office, and it wasn't really a conversation, it was rather a control, they shouted at me. I told Mr. Hagyó, that I will not give in my application, n fact, there was hope after the twice 30-days of extension, that I can get out of this. Really, there was hope, and then maybe 3 times I said no, but Hagyó was shouting in a way, that Éva Horváth told him to get a little more quieter, as we're not at home. And Hagyó said to carry over my stuff, so with what I should apply, prepare it, and and give it to Mr. Mesterházy. As I have mentioned before, that in the U-shaped building of the Capital, the two parties seat on different wings, and I assume that they have been discussed with each other, even though in many cases in front of the public they may not have been on the same platform.


Presenter: - What do you expect, what's next?


Zsolt Balogh: - Very difficult question.


Presenter: - Are you cooperating with the police?


Zsolt Balogh: - Yes, I actually for the first time in October I indicated to the police through my lawyer, so if we put the thing together in chronological order, from the 1st of August I was no longer an employee, I left at my request from BKV, and this request of mine was accepted by the CEO. And basically it means that after two months of a struggling, in October through my lawyer I indicated to the police, that I wish to talk about these things.


Presenter: - How long have you know that this is going to fall and it will not go further?


Zsolt Balogh: - Under the Directorate of Dr. István Kocsis, as Deputy General I attended the Board meetings, and there was a meeting when by the slip of the tongue I said, when they called me for the interview, and this is proved by the Minutes, that Honourable Tribunal, and so was the inhuman effect, so ...


Presenter: - What does it mean that it was inhuman?


Zsolt Balogh: - It was as if a bomb had exploded.


Presenter: - Thank you very much for coming and tell us all this.


Zsolt Balogh: - Thank you.