Ongoing investigation into Hungary's oil scandal intensifies

Jul 31, 2000 02:00 AM

The ongoing investigation into Hungary's oil scandal has intensified as senior politicians were accused of being involved in the scam that saw subsidised oil sold on at full market price. Zsolt Nógrádi, who at one-time worked high-up in the oil Mafia, claims the corruption reached to the highest levels of government, including the Interior Minister, Sandor Pinter.
Nogradi's allegations have already been met with derision by those implicated and a number of law suits have been issued against the man who admits to having worked in the oil Mafia. Some of those named in Nógrádi's testimony have publicly suggested the witness was instructed on what to say.
Nógrádi's much debated account of the oil Mafia dealings goes back to 1991. He said that train loads of the oil were arriving from Romania to Kecel and Kiskôrös (about 150 km south of Budapest) with gasoline.

With the help of bribed customs officers, the duties to be paid on the gasoline were those of household oil (HTO), which were remarkably lower. Gasoline and HTO are basically the same material but the HTO, which was coloured red, was sold at a cheaper price as it was to be used for heating.
The colour of HTO was turned into the transparency of gasoline with the use of acid. The "blond oil" was then sold as gasoline to various companies including Máv (the Hungarian State Railways) and Volán (a Hungarian bus company), said Nógrádi. The oil, which now resembled gasoline in colour, seriously damaged the engine in the long run because its non-neutralised acid content corroded the metal parts.

Source: Energy24
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