Hungary’s chief prosecutor has been asked why former state secretary Pál Völner, accused of bribery, has not been arrested, even though the other key figure involved in the corruption scandal has been. According to Péter Polt, the actions of the prosecution were completely lawful.
At the end of January, Democratic Coalition MP Ágnes Vadai, submitted a written question to Péter Polt, the chief prosecutor of Hungary, in connection with the Völner-Schadl case.
The lengthy list of questions put to the chief prosecutor included why former state secretary Pál Völner, who is suspected of corruption, has not yet been arrested even though another key figure of the scandal, György Schadl, the president of the branch of bailiffs, has been.
According to news site hvg.hu, in his reply, the chief prosecutor claims it is completely lawful that only György Schadl was arrested, and that Pál Völner was not.
“In the case of coercive measures, the principle of proportionality does not apply in relation to the accused; it always depends on the facts and circumstances established in relation to the person concerned what constitutes a proportionate coercive measure.”
Péter Polt says that the Central Chief Prosecution Office of Investigation and the Metropolitan Prosecution Office of Investigation acted lawfully, reasonably, and professionally in the cases in question.
FactSince his appointment in 2010, Péter Polt has received a lot of criticism and is accused of severe political bias, as the prosecutor’s office he leads usually finds nothing to investigate in several suspected corruption cases linked to ruling Fidesz and its circles. Meanwhile, the stance of the prosecutor’s office is said to be different when it comes to opposition politicians.
The Völner-Schadl scandal broke out in early December when the chief prosecutor’s office had requested the rescinding of MP Pál Völner’s immunity, who was the deputy minister and state secretary of the Ministry of Justice. According to the prosecution, Völner – who was also the ministerial commissioner responsible for the Hungarian Court Bailiffs Chamber since August 2019 – is accused of having illegally received regular bribes of 2 to 5 million forints from György Schadl, the president of the branch of bailiffs, over a sustained period of time. In total, the former deputy minister is suspected to have been paid HUF 83 million, among other perks, in order to appoint certain persons as bailiffs, all supported by Schadl. The case has twelve suspects, including eight bailiffs. Völner resigned from his position with immediate effect, his immunity revoked a week later, and he later voluntarily appeared before the Central Chief Prosecution Office of Investigation. In a statement, he wrote that the prosecution’s motion was “rather obscure, superficial, contradictory, and incoherent in several places,” and in some parts, it is not even clear with what crime he is being charged. According to the Fidesz politician, the prosecution’s motion also contains numerous false allegations.
Featured photo by Lajos Soós/MTI