Security minister, ex-spy directors arrested in Hungary

Gyorgy Szilvasy

Gyorgy Szilvasy

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. Read more of this post

Did fugitive spy Metsos lead to Russian spy arrests?

Christopher Metsos

C.R. Metsos

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Soon after the June 27 arrests of 10 Russian non-official-cover (NOC) spies in several US cities, one name came to the attention of intelligence observers: Sergei Tretyakov. Tretyakov was a senior Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) officer who defected to the US in 2000, while second-in-command at the SVR station in Russia’s United Nations mission in New York –the same outfit that run the deep-cover operatives arrested in June by the FBI. The Bureau’s own admission that it began monitoring the operatives around 2001, has caused many to believe that Tretyakov, who died suddenly on June 13, at age 53, may have tipped off the FBI about the NOCs. But Russian investigative journalist Yulia Latynina has raised a second possibility, no less intriguing than the first. Namely that it was not Tretyakov who betrayed the deep-cover operatives to the FBI, but rather the mysterious so-called 11th spy, Christopher R. Metsos, a seasoned SVR operative who is said to have acted as a go-between and financier for all 10 Russian spies. Read more of this post

Fate of 11th Russian spy suspect remains a mystery

Christopher Metsos

C.R. Metsos

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
As the world’s media attention is focused firmly on last week’s 14-member spy swap between Russia and the United States, the fate of the 11th member of the Russian deep-cover intelligence network remains unknown. The operative, known as Christopher R. Metsos, was listed as “defendant No. 1” in the FBI criminal complaint against the now infamous Russian illegals network. Like his co-defendants, he was not charged with espionage, but with “acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government”. He was also charged with money laundering, and was described as the main financier of his ten co-defendants. However, Metsos escaped arrest in the US, because during the FBI raids he was in Cyprus, where he had arrived on June 17. He was arrested on June 29 at the island’s Larnaca International Airport, while trying to board a flight for Budapest, Hungary. A much younger woman traveling with him was allowed to leave on the flight, according to Cypriot media. Read more of this post

Wanted Russian spy ring member skips bail in Cyprus

Achilleos Hotel

Achilleos Hotel

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Police in the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus have issued an arrest warrant for a member of an alleged Russian spy ring in the United States, who had been released on bail following his capture on Tuesday. The FBI says that Christopher R. Metsos, who holds Canadian citizenship, was the financial go-between in the 11-member Russian spy ring, which was busted in a series of coordinated raids across several US states on Saturday. On June 25, Interpol issued an international arrest warrant for Metsos, who escaped arrest in the US because he was in Cyprus, where he had arrived on June 17. He was arrested at the island’s Larnaca International Airport on Tuesday, while trying to board a flight for Budapest, Hungary. Remarkably, however, Metsos was soon released on bail, awaiting an extradition request from Washington. Predictably, on Wednesday, he failed to report to Larnaca police, as stipulated in his bail release court order. Read more of this post

Latest from Hungary and Turkey on Budapest assassination

Trache murder

Trache murder

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
Despite the overwhelming silence in Western media about last week’s suspicious murder in broad daylight of a Syrian man in Hungary, the story continues to make headlines in Israel, the Arab world, Turkey and Hungary. IntelNews reported on Friday that a Bassam Trache, a Syrian man who had lived in Hungary for 20 years, was shot dead in Budapest on Wednesday morning, as he was driving his car. Witnesses reported that the assailant stole a small black briefcase from the 52-year-old victim’s vehicle, before fleeing the scene of the crime on foot. It also emerged that, in the week prior to the mysterious shooting, Hungarian air controllers located two Israeli Gulfstream spy planes hovering over the Hungarian capital, close to the airport, where Wednesday’s shooting occurred. Read more of this post

More information on alleged Mossad hit in Budapest

Crime scene

Crime scene

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
IntelNews reported on Friday that a Syrian man was shot dead in Budapest on Wednesday morning, as he was driving his car. Witnesses reported that the assailant stole a small black briefcase from the 52-year-old victim’s vehicle, before fleeing the scene of the crime on foot. It also emerged that, in the week prior to the mysterious shooting, Hungarian air controllers located two Israeli Gulfstream spy planes hovering over the Hungarian capital, close to the airport, where Wednesday’s shooting occurred. Is this Dubai reloaded? Late on Friday, Reuters news agency reported the dead Syrian-born man’s name as Bassam Trache, 52. Meanwhile, Hungarian officials continue to deny any link between Trache’s murder and the alleged Israeli spy planes. Hungarian government spokesman, Domokos Szollar, said the overflight was “routine” training that was cleared in advance with Hungary’s National Transport Authority by the Israelis. However, Hungarian “defense ministry officials appear not to have been informed” of the alleged training exercise. Read more of this post

Another Mossad assassination, this time in Hungary?

Crime scene

Crime scene

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
IntelNews got word last night that an unidentified Syrian man was shot dead in Budapest early on Wednesday morning, as he was driving his car. Witnesses reported that the assailant stole a small black briefcase from the 52-year-old victim’s vehicle, before fleeing the scene of the crime on foot. A few hours later, it emerged that, in the week prior to the mysterious shooting, Hungarian air controllers located two Israeli Gulfstream spy planes hovering over the Hungarian capital, close to the airport, where Wednesday’s shooting actually occurred. The Hungarian government is so far refusing to release precise information as to the identity of the Syrian victim in Wednesday’s shooting. The country’s Ministry of Defense has also refused comment on the Israeli spy planes, except to say that they were “on a diplomatic mission”. Read more of this post