Fact Check: Budapest Mayor's Supporter Did NOT Admit That His Movement Was Funded From Abroad


  • szerzõ: Lead Stories
Fact Check: Budapest Mayor's Supporter Did NOT Admit That His Movement Was Funded From Abroad Out Of Context

Did Erzsebet Pusztai, a supporter of the mayor of Budapest Gergely Karacsony, admit that Karacsony's 99 Movement accepted funds from abroad? No, that's not true: Her quote shown in the video is taken out of context.

The claim appeared in a TikTok a video (archived here) where it was published by Kristóf Trombitás on 22. July, 2023. It opened:

Gergely Karacsony made such a huge lie that it can be seen from Hollywood too.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

pusztai erzsébet.JPG

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Jul 25 06:46:30 2023 UTC)

Erzsebet Pusztai is a medical professional and politician who openly supported Gergely Karacsony's 99 Movement before the 2021 opposition primaries. She gave an interview to ATV on July 13, 2023. The quote shown in the TikTok is the following: "These are foreign supporters who funded the movement in Euros." The quote is taken out of context, she didn't admit that foreign supporters funded Karacsony's campaign. When she was asked about the scandal around the funds, she said:

I have no idea, that is weird, I don't understand that. Probably those were foreign supporters who donated in euros. Maybe they didn't put them in the box, they just gave it to them directly. I don't know, but it's very upsetting. The government side tries to discourage everyone who has a chance against them.

Earlier in the interview she explained that she supported the movement by appearing at events but she doesn't have an idea about how the movement worked.

The National Information Center, the Hungarian intelligence service, made a report about foreign interference in the 2022 parliamentary elections. The 52-page long report got declassified and uploaded to the Parliament's website on 26.06.2023. The report contains a short section (page 19.) about the finances of Kilencvenkilenc Mozgalom Egyesület (Ninety-nine Movement Association), the NGO of Gergely Karacsony, the mayor of Budapest. Karacsony ran in the opposition's primary election as the representative of his movement. The report found that in 2021 and 2022, Gabor Perjes, the president of the association added more than 506 million HUF (1 502 303 USD) in cash to the association's bank account including foreign currencies, EUR and GBP. The report does not mention the source of the funds and does not say that it comes from abroad.
Gergely Karacsony reacted to the report in a Facebook post. He also highlighted that the report does not mention that the funds came from abroad. He wrote that these were legally collected donations in their locked donation boxes. The association's financial reports are available on the Hungarian Courts' website. Their publicly available report says that they received 653 323 000 HUF in 2021 and 2022.


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