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George Soros says Hungary’s Orban is building ‘mafia state’

BRUSSELS (AP) — The Hungarian-American investor George Soros has accused Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban of creating a “mafia state” with a series of steps that undermine freedoms, including academic freedoms.

In a speech Thursday in Brussels, Soros took aim at new Hungarian legislation that threatens the survival of the Central European University, a graduate school he founded in 1991 to help strengthen democracy in Central and Eastern Europe.

Orban has said he is protecting Hungary from foreign influences. But Orban’s critics see the moves against the school as only the latest attack on democracy by a leader who openly says he is building an “illiberal state.”

Soros said the fate of the school and other organizations he supports are “in the balance” but expressed hope that academic freedom would prevail.

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