Although police investigation and prosecution – thanks to public pressure -followed in most of these crimes, the judicial system as a whole failed to grow up to the task: either the investigation was not well founded for indictment, or evidence was found to be too weak for a verdict. As a consequence in several cases the CEOs and the politicians who were to blame for billions of lost or stolen public and private money were acquitted or were sentenced to minor punishments and left the courthouse smiling in the cameras. Public disillusionment in the justice system, generally in democratic institutions and democracy as a whole is growing.
The authors submerged for months in the daily life of the Hungarian justice system, interviewed on the record or background dozens of police investigators, experts, prosecutors, judges, lawyers, and also studied police and court documents, expert reports, verdicts. Their goal was to find out why a complex system like the judiciary was unable to fulfill the expectations of a democratic public, to spot crime where and if there is crime, to find and punish those with criminal intentions and also to acquit those innocent.
Is it incompetence and pure judgement due to the sudden changes during the early 90s when capitalism was established on the ruins of a state-run economy and the judicial system was totally unprepared to understand the complex mechanisms of market economy? Is it the general malfunction of a system built on traditions which do not change fast? Or is it something more? Does corruption, money and politics also played a role since CEOs and politicians involved in these crime cases were among the most powerful personalities of the country?