Report: Israeli company Black Cube influenced Hungarian elections

The Israeli private intelligence company Black Cube allegedly targeted NGOs before the April elections in Hungary.

July 7, 2018 17:34
2 minute read.
Hungarian President Viktor Orban (left) and Jewish Philanthropist George Soros

Hungarian President Viktor Orban (left) and Jewish Philanthropist George Soros. (photo credit: LEONHARD FOEGER + RALPH ORLOWSKI/REUTERS)

Israeli private intelligence company Black Cube allegedly attempted to influence the Hungarian elections in April by recording NGO employees in Hungary and individuals related to Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros, Politico reported on Saturday.

The Jerusalem Post reported in March that Balázs Dénes, head of the Soros-funded NGO the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, openly spoke about attempting to get the German Foreign Ministry to pressure Hungary to change an existing law when he was unknowingly recorded in a January meeting in Amsterdam.

Now it appears that Black Cube workers used fake identities and dummy companies to introduce themselves to targets such as Dénes. They used Arab and European names, yet at least two spoke with a distinct Israeli accent, sources from the targeted NGOs claimed.

Following their meetings with the people targeted in Budapest, Vienna, Amsterdam, London and New York City, the websites of the dummy companies were removed from the Internet alongside the LinkedIn profiles of the Black Cube workers.

The relevant phone numbers given were also disconnected.

A woman calling herself Anna Bauer held two such meetings. In one case a woman claiming to work for Tauro Capital was involved; the names of both the woman and the company were used in the past by Black Cube for other operations.

Dénes was handed business cards with the address of 46 Warwick Street in London, an address used in the past by Black Cube to set up dummy companies, Politico reported.

This is not uncommon, claimed an unnamed source who spoke with Politico, as Black Cube is in the habit of “reusing infrastructure.”

It is unknown who hired Black Cube and whether the government of Hungary was involved in the operation. The Hungarian government spokesperson refused to comment on the report.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán used the publication in the Post as well as in the Hungarian newspaper Magyar Idok to attack independent civil society organizations shortly before the April elections, which he won in a landslide.
Hungary's anti-immigrant leader Orban wins a third term, April 9, 2018 (Reuters)

Black Cube stated that it has a policy of never discussing operations with a third party and never confirming or denying any speculation about the work it is doing. Adding: "Referencing Black Cube has become an international sport in 2018, and apparently it is considered to be more exciting even than the football World Cup to some media outlets."

A source who is familiar with Black Cube and the scope of their operations told Politico that “this is just the tip of the iceberg; the company has plenty of other materials from many other countries.”

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