A pro-Russian who advises the Hungarian government for billions

The man who is on good terms with the Russians and who advises the Hungarian government for billions: Klaus Mangold. In business circles he is known as Mr. Russia. But who is this German businessman who has such good relations with Russia and Hungary? Read our article to learn more about him.

In 2013, he was the one who organized Orbán’s meeting with the boss of Rosatom to decide on the construction of Paks II. Later he lobbied the Russian and Hungarian governments in Brussels. At the end of 2021, Klaus Mangold received a contract worth 8.2 billion HUF from the ministry of László Palkovics. As can be seen, Klaus Mangold was heavily involved in the Hungarian-Russian rapprochement.

Klaus Mangold, German businessman

Klaus Jürgen Mangold was born in 1943 in Pforzheim, southern Germany, and studied law and economics in Geneva, London and at several German universities, Telex.hu writes. After graduating, he worked for a number of companies and was soon given important positions in West German business life.

He was on the board of Daimler-Benz AG (the Mercedes Group) when he first met members of the Orbán government, with whom he also discussed Mercedes’ expansion in Hungary. In 1999, an agreement was reached with Attila Chikán, Minister of Economy at the time, on the renovation of Soviet-built Mig 29 aircraft. And although that deal fell through in 2001, Mangold’s dealings with Fidesz politicians continued.

Friends with Russia

His most important contact in the region is Vladimir Putin, whom he met in 1993 while in the KGB, writes Telex.hu. Mangold’s contacts with the East were also appreciated in Germany, for example, between 2000 and 2010 he chaired the German Committee for Eastern European Economic Relations, responsible for representing the interests of German companies participants in Eastern Europe.

A well-known name in Hungary

In 2003, while still chairing the committee, he founded Mangold Consulting GmbH, a consulting firm that has since become a household name in Hungary, and which earned HUF 8.2 billion (€20.3 million) contract by the Ministry of Innovation and Technology at the end of 2021. After 2010, Mangold’s relationship with Hungary ran in parallel on two tracks.

On the one hand, together with János Lázár, they facilitated the transformation of the country into an assembly factory and the import of German industry to Hungary. On the other hand, from 2012 he began to work more closely with Orbán, especially in the pursuit of rapprochement with Russia. For the second Orbán government, which was not yet in such a stable position, it was very important that Berlin not oppose the opening to the East. And, it seems, Mangold was an excellent adviser on how to satisfy both Germans and Russians, because Telex.hu the dish.

His hand in Paks II

As mentioned earlier, Mangold played a key role in arranging the meeting between Rosatom chief Sergei Kriyenko and Viktor Orbán in Budapest in 2013. But Mangold’s services did not stop there. The German businessman used his political connections to defuse criticism of the Paks II project in Brussels. For example, he put Günther Oettinger, the German commissioner of the European Commission, who was actively lobbying for Paks II at the time, on the side of Hungary.

The German businessman has disappeared from Hungarian news since 2017, although it has sometimes appeared that he is still in contact with the government. In 2017, he had a contract with the Prime Minister’s office headed by János Lázár (worth about 201 million HUF [EUR 496,335] at the time), and after 2018 with the Ministry of Innovation and Technology led by László Palkovics (ITM) for a total of 380 million HUF (€939,800).

Most expensive deal yet

And not so long ago, in December 2021, ITM signed a consultancy deal worth just over HUF 8.2 billion with Mangold’s company for just over six months. ITM has engaged Mangold Consulting to advise on the reacquisition of Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport at the end of 2021, ITM’s successor said in response to a question from Telex.hu. However, since the purchase did not take place due to the change in the financial environment, the full amount of the contract will not be used. Besides, what advice could cost so much? We have yet to find out.

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Source: Telex.hu, hvg.hu

Laura T. Thrasher