Security minister, ex-spy directors arrested in Hungary
July 6, 2011 1 Comment
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
One former government minister and two former directors of Hungary’s domestic intelligence service have been arrested on suspicion on espionage, according to reports. On June 28, Hungarian police arrested Lajos Galambos, who was Director of Hungary’s National Security Office (NBH) from 2004 to 2007. Three days later, on July 1, police forces arrested Sandor Laborc, who succeeded Galambos as NBH director, and Gyorgy Szilvasy (pictured), who was minister in charge of overseeing the civilian security services from 2007 to 2009. All three served in key government positions during the socialist government of former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany. Despite repeated media request, government prosecutors have refused to disclose the precise nature of the charges against the three officials, except to say that they are suspected of having committed “crimes against the state”. One Hungarian daily, Tabloid Blikk, suggested that the arrests are linked to the Egymasert Public Foundation, headed by wanted fugitive Robert Jakubinyi. Egymasert was found last year to have been used to facilitate money laundering and the illegal sale of shares. But other reports interpret the high-level arrests as a form of political payback for the so-called ‘UD Zrt affair’, also known as ‘the Hungarian Watergate’, which rocked Hungarian public opinion in 2008. According to government prosecutors, senior members of Hungary’s conservative Fidesz party hired a private security company called UD Zrt to spy on socialist government officials for purposes of political entrapment. The company, whose staff consists primarily of former intelligence and police officers, proceeded to conduct extensive communications surveillance on senior government figures, and even installed spyware on NBH computers in order to ensure that the intelligence agency was not investigating them. The UD Zrt affair investigation was closed once the Fidesz party won the 2010 elections, and now the socialist opposition claims that the arrests of the three former government officials are part of a “political showdown” and a “purposeful witch-hunt” conducted by the Fidesz government.