Soros Sees ‘Mafia State’ Under Hungary’s Leader


LONDON — For the first time since the government of Hungary threatened to shutter the university he founded in Budapest, the American financier and philanthropist George Soros criticized the country’s right-wing prime minister, Viktor Orban, saying he has presided over a “mafia state.”

In a keynote speech Thursday at the annual economic forum of the European Commission, Mr. Soros cited “the deception and corruption of the mafia state the Orban regime has established” and praised those who protested a law passed in April that seemed designed to close the school, the Central European University.

Mr. Soros, a benefactor of civil society groups in his native Hungary and elsewhere, founded the C.E.U. in 1991 and endowed it to operate as an independent American institution in Hungary. The law passed by the Hungarian Parliament in April would effectively force the closing of the university because it does not operate a campus in the United States, where it is registered.

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