(Reuters) - In the Lake Balaton city of Keszthely, each waterfront property has several owners. The ones with the largest stakes include people whose interests and influence reach nationwide. Below are 10 of the Keszthely investors: Seven of them did not respond to requests for comment.
1. Lorinc Meszaros (52)
A childhood friend of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, he is mayor of Felcsut, Orban’s home village, and worth $415 million according to Forbes Hungary’s Rich List – he ranks No. 8 nationwide. He controls Hotel Balaton and the former Hotel Fonix through Konzum, a holding company; and has direct or indirect control of dozens of tourist properties around the lake. Konzum also owns the company which operates Zala camping, another Keszthely lakeside business. Meszaros owns shares or control of more than 125 companies to date including media, construction and Hungary’s fourth largest bank.
2. Gellert Jaszai (43)
CEO and co-owner of Konzum, which owns Hotel Balaton and former Hotel Fonix, Jaszai is an important executive in the Meszaros empire. He said the hotels are not strategically important for Konzum and the Keszthely investors have no joint strategy. He is not a major player in public procurement in his own right.
3. Laszlo Szijj (59)
No. 9 in Forbes Hungary’s Rich List. A Szijj company bought a stake in Hotel Via in phases from 2015. He is a construction magnate whose fortunes have soared since Orban split with another ally, Lajos Simicska, that year. About a quarter of public procurement tenders won by Meszaros companies since 2005 were in consortia with Szijj’s. They have also co-owned at least three companies, company documents show.
4. Karoly Varga (55)
Varga is from the same town as Laszlo Szijj, and has owned many businesses with him, including the one which bought Hotel Via. He is No. 22 on Hungary’s Forbes rich list. The pair have won lots of public procurement contracts together.
5. Ferenc Kovacs (38)
Holder of 33.75 percent of the Keszthely Yacht Club, according to company documents. His other companies include construction firms which scored public procurement contracts mainly in water management and sewer construction. He said his activity was free of politics and based solely on business considerations.
6. Krisztian Lukacs (43)
A lawyer and former procurement tender adviser, Lukacs, like Kovacs, holds 33.75 percent of the Keszthely Yacht Club, company documents show. Lukacs says he has not participated in public procurements for years, and has no links to politics.
7. Attila Paar (45)
The main owner and executive of West Hungaria Bau (WHB), an industrial and construction group. Paar’s business interests have participated in several billion dollars’ worth of successful public procurement tenders.
He has bought stakes in businesses controlled by Istvan Tiborcz several times. In 2015, company documents show, he purchased Tiborcz’s stake in Green Investments, the company Tiborcz used to buy the Keszthely Yacht Club.
This year Paar also bought 70 percent of shares in Pannon Tessera Hospitalis, a company which bought the Helikon Hotel and Hotel Hullam. Paar owns a share in the land and buildings of Zala camping, but not in the company which operates it.
In turn, Tiborcz bought a majority stake in a WHB real estate company in 2016, passing it to an entity in the Virgin Islands, company documents show. Paar remains a minority owner of that firm.
8. Istvan Szeivolt (70)
Owner of a construction conglomerate and companies with a strong track record in public procurement tenders, where he has occasionally partnered Meszaros. He participates in Keszthely as a partial owner of the land and buildings of Zala camping, alongside Attila Paar.
9. Adam Fintha-Nagy (44)
A lawyer. In January he bought the largest single stake in the company that owns Hotel Helikon and Hotel Hullam. His holding entitles him to more than 45 percent of any profit and includes a share that gives first refusal on further stakes.
10. Istvan Tiborcz (31)
Married to Rahel Orban, he has dozens of companies. He often operates in close alliance with school friend Endre Hamar - for instance on the purchase of Keszthely Yacht Club in 2014 (he sold his stake in 2015). He has bought property around the country, including a stake in Hotel Helikon and Hotel Hullam in Keszthely.
Edited by Sara Ledwith
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