Hungary’s Vaccine Opportunists

Quick rich merchants have profiteered from the vaccine market as never before during the pandemic. Take the case of Hungarian company Danubia Pharma. This is owned (according to Direct36 which broke the story) by a private limited company called Syntonite Med which is owned by a small time consultant with no medical experience and a former hockey player who once owned a cafe.

Hungary paid Danubia Pharma €150m for 5 million doses of Sinopharm vaccine from China in mid-June 2020. Each vaccine dose cost 30 euros (plus 5 percent VAT). the deal transformed overnight the tiny Danubia Pharma, its opportunist owners and a Hungarian lawyer and fixer.

Danubia Pharma is a pharmaceutical wholesale company but Syntonite was only established last November, three days before its acquisition of Danubia Pharma. People behind the company have no known attachment to this industry or any other serious business.

Syntonite CEO Máté Tuza – who has also been CEO of Danubia Pharma since January – only had small consulting firms before. According to company registry, he owned three companies before, all making not more than a few million forints a year.

Another sharp ingénue to the medical industry who spotted the opportunity is hockey player and cafe owner Csaba Gergely, who only previous enterprise was Café Edgar, a doomed business which went bust. Then came Syntonite When the company was founded last November, Gergely acted as a founding shareholder owning 50 percent of the shares. He is referred to as a “shareholder trustee”, meaning he is not an actual shareholder but accredited to act on behalf of real shareholders.

Gergely is linked to a business circle that has already appeared around major government deals in connection with the handling of the coronavirus epidemic. On April 20, 2020, the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade entered into a contract for the purchase of Chinese-made ventilators with a company called Fourcardinal Ltd.
The very same day, a freshly founded company called SRF Silk Road Fund Holding Zrt. became partial owner of Fourcardinal.

One of SRF Silk Road Fund Holding Plc.’s founding shareholders was lawyer Zsolt Vámosi-Nagy. He was the same person paying the registration fee for Syntonite Plc. last November. Vámosi-Nagy is understood to be an acquaintance of Syntonite founder Csaba Gergely. Vámosi-Nagy was the lawyer who registered Café Edgár, Gergely’s former company.

The details of the Chinese vaccine purchase are unknown initially. The contract was signed on 29 January, but details were was only published on the Facebook page of Minister Gergely Gulyás on 11 March 2020 after the government had rejected the public information requests of several media outlets.

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