Pro-Orban Magazine Lists Partners of Soros

World | April 13, 2018, Friday // 12:32| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Pro-Orban Magazine Lists Partners of Soros twitter.com

A Hungarian magazine published more than 200 names of people it claims are likely part of a group that Prime Minister Viktor Orban calls "mercenaries" paid by US-Hungarian billionaire philanthropist George Soros to topple the government.

Those on the list in the weekly publication Figyelo include members of rights organizations such as Amnesty International, anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International, refugee advocates, investigative journalists and faculty and officials from the Soros Foundation, Budapest-based Central European University.

Some of those named are deceased.

Figyelo is a formerly highly respected business magazine that took on a unabashedly pro-government slant after it was acquired by Mr Orban ally in December 2016.

Mr Orban was re-elected to the fourth term as Hungary's leader on Sunday's parliamentary elections. A few weeks before the vote, he told a crowd of thousands of supporters that, after the elections, "moral, political and legal amends" would be sought against rivals.

Mr Orban, who based his campaign on demonizing migrants, blames Soros and organizations supported by his Open Society Foundations for wanting to allow thousands of immigrants to Hungary.

Last month, Mr Orban said the government knew the names of some 2,000 members of the "Soros mercenary army," paid to "work towards bringing down the government."

"We know exactly who these people are, we know names ... and how and why they are working to transform Hungary into an immigrant country," Mr Orban said on March 30 on state radio.

The government's International Communications Office, which has been asked about the published list, including whether the names in Figyelo matches those compiled by the government, referred all questions to the publication.

Mr Orban said Tuesday that the "Stop Soros" legislative package submitted by the government before the elections had been tacitly endorsed by voters. The new laws, which could be approved in May, could severely hamper the activities of civilian groups working with asylum-seekers and refugees.

"We feel authorized to pass the law," Mr Orban said.

Andras Petho, an investigative journalist at website Direkt36.hu and one of those named by Figyelo, said that while his publication was partly supported by Soros' foundation, most of its revenues came from crowdfunding efforts and from Hungarian readers.

"We've never had any requests or expectations expressed about our reporting or stories by the Soros fund," Petho said, noting that Direkt36's donors were listed on its website.

"In 2016, during a speech in parliament, Prime Minister Orban even cited information from one of our reports on the financial dealings of an opposition party," Petho said.

Direkt36 writes regularly about the business dealings of Mr Orban's family and allies, while also reporting on the business activities and interests of government and opposition politicians.

AP

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