Hungarian Ambassador to Peru Removed, Faces Trial Following Child Pornography Charges
Ábrahám Vass 2020.02.11.
Back in April last year, the Hungarian ambassador to Peru, Gábor Kaleta, had been removed from service, brought home, and would soon face trial, as more than 19,000 under-18 pornography photos had been found on his devices, uncovered in the framework of an international operation.
While Kaleta had reportedly been in pre-trial detention as well and was officially charged back in November, the prosecutor’s office, despite its practice to do so, failed to inform the public. The cause of his removal was not communicated last spring by the foreign ministry either. Referring to unnamed diplomatic sources, Index was the first to break the story over the weekend.
Since then, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (KÜM) confirmed his departure from the post and its exact date, while the Spokesperson of the Budapest-Capital Regional Court revealed to RTL Klub, that around 19,000 child pornography photos were found on his office device, while he might have been part of an international network that spread footage on WhatsApp, leading to a total of 22 arrests worldwide.
Gábor Kaleta joined the Foreign Ministry in 2001, worked for its American Department, then served in Los Angeles. After his return, he also worked as the press secretary of the Foreign Ministry and Justice Ministry. After rejoining the former's Department of Latin America and the Caribbean, in 2017, he was named the leader of Hungary's reopened embassy in the Peruvian capital.
According to Index, in reference to unnamed, unconfirmed governmental sources, an American anti-cyber authority, whose investigation was connected to a European operation led by the Spanish authorities and assisted by Europol, had long been following Kaleta’s online activity and explored the entirety of the case before informing the Information Office (IH), a Hungarian secret service unit. IH might have been the one to take part in his repatriation as well.
Index also reports that the American authorities asked to keep the case secret, as not to interfere with the investigation against the child porn network. In the government-critical portal’s view, it still doesn’t explain the prosecutor office’s silence.
The former ambassador is currently on release, due to appear at his preparatory hearing on March 5th.
Opposition parties initiate parliamentary committee meeting
Both Democratic Coalition (DK) and the Socialists (MSZP) have called for parliament’s foreign affairs committee to convene to discuss the issue. MSZP’s Attila Mesterházy told wire service MTI that the committee members had not received any information whatsoever about the affair. Mesterházy added that the case contained national security aspects, too. He called for representatives of the Constitution Protection Office (AH), the IH, the Institute for Cyber Defense, and the Foreign Ministry to brief the committee. Meanwhile, DK’s Ágnes Vadai said that the role of the domestic authorities in the repatriation of the diplomat must be clarified.
The Foreign Ministry in its response to Vadai wrote that Kaleta had been a member of the Ministry during the length of Ferenc Gyurcsány’s government, also adding a reminder that Kaleta’s appointment was unanimous, including opposition votes, supported by the National Assembly’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.