Billionaire George Soros Moves Foundation From Budapest to Berlin

Open Society Foundations moved 80 employees from the Hungarian capital because of 'an increasingly repressive political and legal environment in Hungary'

Activists of Egyutt (Together) opposition party remove a government billboard displaying George Soros in Budapest, Hungary, October 5, 2017.
Bernadett Szabo/Reuters

The foundation of American-Hungarian billionaire George Soros has completed its move from Budapest to Berlin and has already started work.

Eighty employees and their families made the move from the Hungarian capital to take up work in Berlin, the director of offices of the Open Society Foundations, Goran Buldioski told dpa. The foundation will eventually employ 150 people, Buldioski said in emailed comments to dpa on Thursday.

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Soros - who was born in Hungary in 1930 and later survived the Nazi Holocaust before emigrating to the United States - and his foundation have been the target of harsh criticism from Hungary's strongman Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his right-wing nationalist government.

Without providing any proof, Orban accuses Soros of being behind the wave of refugees to Europe, which his government has refused to accommodate, even going so far as to erect a fence fortified with barbed wire on its borders with Serbia and fellow EU member Croatia.

After Orban and his Fidesz party won a landslide in parliamentary elections on April 8, the attacks on Soros and Open Society increased.

In the summer Budapest passed a law punitively taxing foreign organizations that help refugees, many of which are supported by Open Society.

The group decided to leave Budapest for Berlin because of "an increasingly repressive political and legal environment in Hungary."

On its website, the foundation says its mission is "to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people."