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Prosecutor’s Office: Russian Secret Agents Screened Hungarians under Gyurcsány

Ábrahám Vass 2019.04.04.

The General Prosecutor’s Office has declassified data pertinent to the lawsuit against the secret service leaders convicted of espionage who served under Ex-Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány. Although all involved were later cleared of the charges by the court, the released documents contain several “curiosities.”

According to the newly released data (originally ordered to be classified until 2040) György Szilvásy, Minister without Portfolio in charge of national security; Lajos Galambos, head of the National Security Office; Sándor Laborc, his successor and László Püski, leader of a security firm, helped Russian secret agents obtain sensitive data and information about Hungarian secret service agents.

During talks with the deputy head of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Szilvásy and Galambos revealed they suspected someone from the civilian counter-intelligence of leaking information. The FSB deputy head then offered to administer a polygraph test. Why the two green-lighted the test remains unknown. Two agents disguised as Bulgarian psychologists arrived, entered NBH headquarters without any documentation referring to the visit and tested 16 officers from the National Security Office (NBH).

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During the test, the NBH psychologist repeatedly indicated to Galambos that aspects of the investigation differed from the one agreed upon in advance as the Russians had been increasingly trying to explore the agents’ binding factors, fears, reliability, compromise, foreign relations, reaction modes and potential pressing factors. Nevertheless, the Director-General instructed them to continue the tests under the Russians’ direction. Laborc, who later took over Galambos’ role, wrote in his investigative report that Galambos’ activities had caused serious damage to “Hungarian-American relations.” Despite stating that Galambos’ relations with the Russians were “a fact” and that the “leakage had been proven,” he failed to report the case to the authorities.

The case made headlines after Fidesz came to power in 2010; conservative weekly Heti Válasz was the first to break the story. It was quickly picked up by Fidesz, and the left-liberal opposition accused the lawsuit of being politically-motivated due to lack of proof a crime had been committed.

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In 2013, the Debrecen Regional Court sentenced Galambos and Szilvásy to prison, Laborc to a suspended term and Püski was cleared of all charges. The Budapest Court of Appeal later quashed the judgment due to procedural errors. In the (new) first instance trial, the Kaposvár Regional Court cleared all involved. The ruling was later confirmed by both the Court of Appeal and the Kúria Supreme Court.

featured image: from right to left: Galambos, Szilvásy, Püski and Laborc in Kúria; via MTI/Tibor Illyés