Business & Technology

Transylvanian millionaire tones down government criticism

2 weeks ago

Elusive Transylvanian millionaire Zoltán Teszári is reportedly toning down the critical edge of his TV station Digi24 so as not to hurt his business interests in the telecoms sector, Romanian news portal G4Media reports.

Teszári (48) is the only ethnic Hungarian businessman to play in the Romanian big leagues. His fortune is estimated at EUR 620 million ($701 mln). Elusive and media-shy, his last public appearance was at a 2002 business gala where he received the “Promise of the year” award for young entrepreneurs. A former martial artist, part of the national judo team. He began his career by manufacturing wafer and ice cream powder but his big breakthrough was founding Romanian telecoms firm RCS & RDS which last year posted a net profit of EUR 21.14 million($23.9 mln).

According to G4Media, his Digi24 news channel – a fairly balanced one, providing counterbalance to state-financed public service media – has sent on compulsory holiday many of its key journalists, closed its regional studios and cancelled its fact-finding programs. Teszári’s RCS &RDS is Romania’s largest cable and satellite television provider and one of the major players in the Central European region. Besides Romania, it also provides services in Hungary, Italy and Spain.

But his Romanian operation – including its mobile services arm – is dependent on the renewal of optics cable licenses and the upcoming Romanian sale of 5G mobile band slots. G4Media says that like other private media owners in Romania, Teszári was also willing to spend a few million euros per year on his media operation, as long as it didn’t hurt his major business interests. According to G4Media, government decree 114 passed last December was “a guided missile aimed by Darius Vâlcov at RCS & RDS. The decree – known as the “greed tax” levied extra taxes on banks, telecom and energy companies. It is said to have been devised by Vâlcov, economic advisor to the ruling PSD-ALDE (Social Democrat-Liberal) coalition.

Vâlcov (41), a lawyer and economist by training, was budget minister and later finance minister in the third government of Victor Ponta, but resigned in March 2015, following the corruption investigation of the National Anticorruption Directorate. He was convicted to an 8 year prison sentence in 2018, pending appeal.

 

Title image: Teszári looking into a paparazzo’s camera (Photo: CanCan)