Wealthiest Romanian praises Hungarian PM Orbán

Romanian tennis player turned businessman Ion Țiriac praised Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in an interview with news portal Capital.ro.

Romania does not have a single politician who would stand up for the nation's interests as does Orbán for Hungary, Țiriac said in the interview.

"The question is, is Orbán really the Hitlerist of Europe? For the time being, he defends Hungarian interests from A to Z and, with all respect, when he goes to Brussels he stand up," he said, adding that he does not understand the criticisms leveled against the Hungarian Prime Minister.

"Why would one criticize Orbán? This baffles me. They say he is imperfect because he strikes a three billion (euros) deal with Russia. But how many billions (in deals) do you think Germany has with Russia every year? Very many billions," Țiriac said.

Last summer, Țiriac - joint holder of the franchise - sold the rights for an ATP tennis tournament to Hungary and is said to have good relations with the Hungarian Prime Minister.

Țiriac, a former top 10 tennis player won one a Grand Slam title, the men's doubles at the 1970 French Open with Ilie Năstase but rose to fame later as the manager of several tennis players such as Henri Leconte, Boris Becker and Goran Ivanišević. He was also a member of the Romanian ice hockey team at the 1964 Winter Olympics.

Born in Transylvania, he was a businessman in Germany and returned to his native Romania in 1990 to establish a bank and several other businesses. Forbes ranks him as the wealthiest Romanian with a net worth of US$1.2 billion as of 2018.