Committee Report on Hungarian Ambassador’s Child Pornography Case Sealed for 10 Years
Fanni Kaszás 2020.02.17.
The Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee has discussed the case of Gábor Kaleta, the former Hungarian ambassador to Peru who has been charged with child pornography, in a closed session on Monday. Although Secretary of State Tamás Menczer, the Information Office, and the ORFK both shared some details about Kaleta’s case, the report and the minutes of the meeting have been sealed for the next 10 years. It still remains unclear for how long Kaleta may have been committing the crime and where the footage was stored.
Gábor Kaleta’s child pornography case was discussed at a closed meeting of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday. Ágnes Vadai, DK’s politician and member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said after the meeting that the minutes of the meeting and the reports of the committee on the Kaleta case have been classified at the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She added that very important details had not been answered at the committee meeting. For example, the length of time Kaleta had committed the crime, whether someone blackmailed him over it, and whether he stored the images on his official or private computer.
Zsolt Németh, the head of the Committee, delegated by ruling Fidesz, said at a press conference after the meeting that the case was “shocking and regrettable, casting a shadow on the whole of Hungary’s diplomatic corps.”
Németh called Hungary’s handling of the case “exemplary,” saying that the Hungarian authorities had not hesitated to withdraw the ambassador from his post after they were alerted to the allegations against him last March. Following an investigation between March and November of last year, charges were pressed against Kaleta and his case will be heard in court next month, Németh said.
He said that the case had “negligible” political implications, arguing that the former ambassador had been screened several times and his appointment was supported by all political parties. Németh said, however, that the system of national security screening called for modernization, adding that the National Intelligence Office was preparing a proposal to that end.
As we previously reported, last April, 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. The case, which has been unfolded by Hungarian news portal index.hu, had been kept secret for nearly a year, and there are still details that remain unclear.
As ambassadors must undergo a strict national security screening before being appointed, the former Hungarian ambassador to Peru could also have been checked back in 2017. However, the inspection didn’t reveal the suspicion of a criminal offense. In their response, the Ministry of Interior said that the relevant documents are top secret and that the Constitution Protection Office, the body responsible for the investigation, was not planning to change the current regulations, nor order an investigation.
Minister for the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás said that the government had kept the Kaleta case a secret for almost a year on the request of an American crime investigation body, because if it had been made public, it would have made it more difficult for them to conduct the international investigations. However, government.critical index.hu found that Kaleta was charged last November and they only found one investigation which happened in that time frame. The US authorities have been conducting an international investigation into a Korean site since 2015, and after being able to identify the operator of the site in 2018, a search was begun against users as well. According to the news portal, this international investigation had certainly come to an end by October 2019, as the US investigating body had announced it at a press conference at the time. It emerges from this briefing that Hungary was also involved in the case, and they made arrests in the country as well. In case this is the investigation Gulyás was talking about, Kaleta’s case could have been made public earlier, or at least the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee could have been informed of it back in October.