prosecutor’s office

A medieval macabre show: Hungarian Jobbik member symbolically hangs Israeli leaders

Hungarians always complain that foreigners know little or nothing about their country. Well, lately they really can’t complain. Almost a week and a half after Viktor Orbán’s controversial speech the international press is still full of comments on it. Just today I encountered an opinion piece in The Moscow Times which concluded that something is indeed coming from the East “but it’s not the wind. It’s a virus. And with Orbán’s help, this virus has begun to infect the EU.” David Brooks in The York Times described Orbán’s speech as “morbidly fascinating.”

And now here is this effigy story. AP described what happened in Érpatak, a village of about 1,500 inhabitants. Mihály Zoltán Orosz, who has been mayor of the village since 2005, described Israel as “the Jewish terror state” that is trying to “obliterate the Palestinians.” Moreover, he is opposed “to the efforts of Freemason Jews to rule the world.” On the video below you can see a shorter version of the “public execution” where an executioner with a black hood over his face kicks chairs out from under the puppets of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former President Shimon Peres, each tied to a gallows.

The whole scene reminded the journalists of HVG of a medieval macabre show. Who is this man? He is a Jobbik member, but in 2010 when he ran again for the position of mayor of Érpatak he called himself an independent. He is known for his bizarre outfits which are supposed to be traditional Hungarian fare, but they are all terribly exaggerated and therefore ludicrous. He also likes military uniforms. The last time he made quite a splash was at the Budapest gay pride parade where he appeared in a female peasant costume. I am sharing a few of his most “spectacular” outfits.

Of course, a lot of people think that Orosz doesn’t have all his marbles, which is a distinct possibility. But he seems to function quite well and rules the village with an iron fist. Law and order dominate in Érpatak. He calls his “system” the “Érpatak Model,” which he claims is a great success and which should be emulated all over the country. He boasts about the low crime rate, though his critics counter that he exaggerates on that score. And there are some people in the village who are not altogether happy with his activities and the circus he creates around town hall and across the country.


His latest performance might have serious consequences. Israeli Ambassador Ilan Mor immediately expressed his outrage and said that in his opinion “the Hungarian government must act in order to stop these dangerous acts.” The Hungarian foreign ministry got the message. On Monday around noon they issued a statement in which they declared that what happened over the weekend “cannot be reconciled with European norms and with the rule of law. The mayor uses the war and its innocent victims as a pretext for spreading the propaganda of hate.”


How much do we know about Orosz? Not enough, I fear. We know from Professor David Baer’s Testimony concerning the Condition of Religious Freedom in Hungary, submitted to the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the Helsinki Commission) on March 18, 2013, that Mihály Orosz “was affiliated with, or the founder of, at least four different groups registered as [bogus] churches.” Indeed, I found the names of three of these bogus churches in a recent article in Gépnarancs: the Order of the Heart of the Sun, Church of the Sophia Perennis, and the Order of the Eye of Heart.


We know that in order to apply for a job in Érpatak’s town hall the applicants have to fill out a form with 165 bizarre questions on politics and everything else under the sun.

Some people believe that it is time to put an end to Orosz’s activities. Among them is Gellért Rajcsányi, a young conservative publicist of Mandiner. He quotes an announcement from Érpatak’s website which calls attention to a demonstration for June 2014 in front of the courthouse in Nyíregyháza. At this demonstration they “symbolically hanged a criminal prosecutor and a criminal judge to show them what will wait for them after their death because of their activities against the world and the nation.” Clearly, Orosz likes to hang those with whom he disagrees. He led a group of people in front of the building that houses TASZ, the Hungarian equivalent of  the American Civil Liberties Union, where they verbally attacked the associates of the organization. The author calls for an end to the career of this wannabe Arturo Ui, a reference to Bertolt Brecht’s play The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui which chronicles the career of a 1930s Chicago mobster and his attempts to control the cauliflower racket by ruthlessly disposing of the opposition.


Well, the moment might have arrived. Ágnes Vadai in the name of DK urged Peter Polt, the chief prosecutor, to order an investigation. That in itself wouldn’t have prompted Polt to lift a finger, but then Israeli Ambassador Ilan Mor pressed charges because of “the anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic horror show” that took place in Érpatak. Suddenly, the case had international implications that the government and the prosecutor’s office couldn’t quite ignore. The prosecutor’s office in Nyíregyháza began an investigation into the National Network of the Érpatak and the Youth Movement of the Sixty-Four Counties. If Orosz and the other organizers are found guilty they may receive up to three years in jail. I very much doubt, however, that he will spend even one night in jail.

The strange story of Gábor Simon and Tamás Welsz

It was in early February that Gábor Simon, one of the vice chairmen of MSZP, was discovered to have a large account in an Austrian bank. Magyar Nemzet reported that the socialist politician had made two deposits, of €575,000 and $163,000, in April 2009. The problem was that Simon, who was a member of parliament, failed to include these deposits in his yearly report on his personal finances. In no time Simon was removed from the party and shortly thereafter he resigned his parliamentary position.

MSZP desperately wanted to put an end to this embarrassing revelation; its leaders kept emphasizing that Simon’s financial affairs had nothing to do with the party. Their political opponents, however, refused to let go of the story. Magyar Nemzet published numerous articles in which they tried to connect Simon’s millions to MSZP. Surely, the argument went, Simon was hiding the party’s money in his own foreign bank accounts.

Eventually Magyar Nemzet stopped pursuing that alleged chain of guilt, although for a while they tried to tie the money to an MSZP politician in Budapest’s District XIII. But then came the news on March 6 that Simon’s money most likely had something to do with Tamás Welsz, a businessman with a checkered career whose activities ranged over three continents: Europe, Africa, and South America. Welsz in the past had had some run-ins with the authorities and was (until yesterday) wanted by Interpol. Yet the Hungarian police and prosecutors didn’t arrest him. In fact, last November, after being interrogated, he and his girlfriend Andrea Horthy were released.

Index reported on March 6 that Simon had another bank account in Hungary which he had opened under a false name. Magyar Nemzet, which  has excellent connections with Hungarian prosecutors, seemed to know that the relationship between Simon and Welsz came to light as the result of a search of Velsz’s house in Érd. There in a safe they found a forged Guinea-Bissau passport in the name of Gabriel Derdák. Simon’s mother’s maiden name is Erzsébet Derdák. The authorities allege that Welsz, who had good relations with the totally corrupt government of Guinea-Bissau, got about 500 blank passports which he sold to people who for one reason or another needed an alias or just another passport. Simon/Derdák with his African passport opened an account in a MagNet Bank on Andrássy Street. The deposit was again large: €250,000.

Gábor Simon and Tamás Welsz Source: Index

Gábor Simon and Tamás Welsz
Source: Index

Shortly after the revelations about the safe and the false passports Magyar Nemzet went into high gear. Welsz was described as a man with “excellent” connections to MSZP politicians. They claimed that several  MSZP politicians wanted to buy Guinea-Bissau passports, not just Simon. They singled out János Veres, former minister of finance who seems to be a favorite target of Magyar Nemzet and HírTV, both owned by the same concern. Veres announced that he doesn’t know Welsz and that he has no Guinea-Bissau passport; he sued both Magyar Nemzet and HírTV. Magyar Nemzet retreated somewhat, saying that Veres only “contemplated” acquiring a false passport but in the end changed his mind.

Why did the investigators decide to search Welsz’s house? My hunch is that Welsz offered to give up Simon if the Hungarian authorities would release him. I suspect that the investigators knew about Simon’s bank accounts as early as last November when Welsz and his girlfriend were arrested. And not just the bank accounts in Austria but possibly about the €250,000 under the name of Gabriel Derdák as well. The authorities may have postponed acting on this information so it would have the maximum electoral punch. At any event, four days after the police searched Tamás Welsz’s house, on March 10, Simon was taken into custody.

Once the authorities went public with the information about Simon’s wrongdoings, they dragged the story out for a month, thereby providing political fodder for the pro-government press.  Day after day the public read about the sordid financial activities of this high-ranking MSZP official, activities (so the accusations went) that implicated the party as a whole. Four years ago similar stories helped propel Fidesz to its overwhelming victory. Why shouldn’t the strategy work again?

All seemed to be going according to plan, but then came yesterday’s shocking news. According to the Budapest police, Welsz was sitting in the back seat of a police car heading to the Budapest Central Investigative Prosecutor’s Office in Budapest when he suddenly became ill. He was to taken the nearest hospital, but the doctors couldn’t revive him. Welsz was 41 years old and looked like the picture of health. So far the police have not provided any official information about his death–I assume they are waiting for the results of the autopsy–and as a result all sorts of rumors are circulating.

Leaked police information is contradictory. Some reporters claim that Welsz was already feeling ill before he traveled from his home in Érd to Budapest. Others say that he told the police he had taken poison and would die soon. (But then why didn’t the police immediately call an ambulance?) Some people talk about his excellent health and his upbeat mood; others report his anxiety. One report insists that he was hand-cuffed; others deny it. HVG told its readers that the people Welsz was fingering are not at all those everybody suspects, i.e., MSZP politicians. His revelations, they wrote, will surprise everybody. From this one would surmise that he had information on some Fidesz people. Whatever happened, Welsz is dead under very strange circumstances which means–as Veres pointed out yesterday on ATV–that anyone can use the blank passports to frame opposition politicians. Dead men don’t talk.

Many people think that Welsz may have been a Hungarian national security agent. József Gulyás, formerly an SZDSZ member of parliament and now a supporter of Együtt 2014, is demanding that the parliamentary committee on national security convene to question representatives from the Office of the Defense of the Constitution and other organizations dealing with national security.

This whole story is too bizarre for words. And extremely suspicious. But the more convoluted the story is and the longer it takes to decipher, the more it would seem to serve Fidesz’s political purposes. This will be a front-page story for quite a while, unless Fidesz has something else up its sleeve. They did promise three surprises: the Simon case was first, then came Zuschlag. Who will be the third?

Fidesz, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office, and a Hungarian neo-Nazi site

The infamous neo-Nazi website Kuruc-info is in the news again. It was a year ago that I reported that Kuruc-info placed a blood bounty on everyone who participated in a flash mob demonstration at the time of the revelations about László Csatáry, a former police officer in charge of the Košice/Kassa Jewish ghetto in the summer of 1944. You may also recall that a man who lived in California at the time and who allegedly secured the American server uses himself offered money to anyone who could provide information about the identity of the persons involved in the demonstration. Informers were offered 100,000 forints. Once some of the participants were identified, harassment via telephone and e-mail began. One of these messages read: “If I were you, I would take out life insurance.”

Eszter Garai-Édler, one of the organizers, filed a complaint on September 9, 2012 in connection with the case. After she was called in as a witness on January 18, 2013, the district prosecutor’s office ended its investigation. Garai-Édler filed another complaint, after which the case was reopened only to end on October 15 in a ruling that declared that the investigation was terminated. The reason was the same old story about why cannot be shut down:

According to the information at our disposal, it can be determined that the website operates on servers based in the United States of America. As such, it can be stated that the criminal act and the uploading of the web content in question occurred in the United States as well. Seeing that operates off of a server found in the US, any determinations surrounding the site’s content fall outside the competence of the police. Due to differences between legal interpretations of the two countries, proceedings cannot begin in the US against the operators of the website.

Of course, this is nonsense. Uploading can occur anywhere in the world, and in the case of it is almost 100% certain that the editors are busily working on their computers in Hungary.

A few years back a former editor of identified three men who are allegedly in charge of All three live in Budapest. The prosecutors claim to have investigated the role of a certain Balázs Molnár, one of the editors, but they said they couldn’t make their case. Another editor is apparently Előd Novák, a Jobbik member of parliament. obviously feels emboldened. A Hungarian journalist, András Dezső, discovered a huge billboard advertising at a prominent place on the busy Budaörsi út.

the infamous billboard on Budaörsi út / Index

The infamous billboard on Budaörsi út / Index

Dezső immediately began his own investigation. He eventually tracked down the company that owns the billboard and inquired about the people who rented the advertising space. He was told to put his request in writing, which he did, foolishly adding his cell phone number. A few days later he was informed that the billboard will be taken down. And then came the surprise. Dezső discovered the contents of his e-mail to the company, including his e-mail address and telephone number, on The poor guy’s life became sheer hell. Kuruc-info’s troll kept phoning him constantly and his e-mail box was overflowing. Dezső works for Index where this morning he published the story of his encounter with Kuruc-info.

The billboard company, Hungaroplakát, could certainly help the police and the prosecutors “solve” the mysterious case of Kuruc-info. That is, if they wanted to. Garai-Édler also came to the conclusion that “the Hungarian government has decided that it will protect” for political reasons. Fidesz needs votes from the extreme right and doesn’t want to alienate the hundreds and thousands who are faithful readers of this neo-Nazi rag.

The real problem here is not so much what trolls are doing to the journalist, because that is expected. What is really troublesome is that an employee of a bona fide company that has been in operation since 1998 is capable of giving official company correspondence to the neo-Nazis who publish Kuruc-info. HVG, the paper for which András Dezső used to work, inquired from Hungaroplakát about this latest outrage. They were told that the management of the firm is in the process of consulting with the company’s lawyers.

Enter Tamás Deutsch, the enfant terrible of Fidesz. He loves Facebook and Twitter and frequently uses these platforms to criticize the opposition, often with obscene language. But this time he attacked the Hungarian prosecutors for doing nothing about Kuruc-info which in his opinion operates illegally. He gave the Prosecutor’s Office 72 hours “to put an end to this Nazi website. No more evasion. No more on the one hand and on the other. Stand up on your hind legs and act.”

The spokesman of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office, Géza Fazekas, announced that, although his office doesn’t normally respond to utterances of politicians, Deutsch’s statements are simply untrue. The prosecutors did investigate Moreover, they did it several times but  they couldn’t bring charges against the editors of the site because the “United States during the fall of 2007 refused the seizure of the server referring to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

So we are back exactly where we were six years ago even though the physical location of the server has nothing to do with the case. I fear that even the billboard advertisement will not be enough for the prosecutors, who obviously believe that it is not in the interest of Fidesz, which practically runs the Hungarian prosecutor’s office, to put an end to