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Slovak Criminal Rohac Confesses to 90s Murder of Businessman Prisztás

MTI-Hungary Today 2019.06.14.

Slovak criminal Jozef Rohac confessed to the 1996 murder of millionaire businessman József Prisztás in a repeat trial of the case on Friday.

In his testimony, which he gave via a live feed from a Szeged prison, Rohac said he had been hired for the murder by the Ukrainian mafia through a criminal group of Dunaszerdahely (Dunajska Streda), in Slovakia. He carried out the killing for 15,000 German marks.

Explaining his decision to confess to the murder, Rohac said he had done “many bad things” over the course of his life, but wanted to do the right thing from now on, and he did not want others to go to prison because of him.

He told the court that he had already confessed to the murder to the authorities but no one had been willing to reopen the case and he had not been allowed to speak to the media. He said he then came up with the idea of confessing to the crime to his younger brother over the phone and sending a recording of the conversation to Hir TV.

Rohac said his confession was supported by his knowledge that a shell casing had been left in the plastic bag he had used to “disguise” his gun silencer.

Rohac said he had been commissioned to carry out the killing by an underworld associate of his named József Hamala.

Prior to the planned date of the murder, Hamala invited Rohac to Budapest and drove him to the scene of the eventual crime. He said he made his move on Prisztás when he was about to get in his Cherokee Jeep. Rohac said he shot Prisztás in the head at a distance of half a metre and rode away from the scene on a bicycle. As he was leaving, he could hear the man who was with Prisztás — one of those currently serving jail time for his role in the murder — shouting expletives at him. Rohac then jumped into Hamala’s car which had been parked nearby and they drove away.

“Those were times when people were hunting each other when criminals were at war with one another,” Rohac said.

In 2016, the Budapest Court of Appeals sentenced in a binding ruling Tamás Portik, the one-time head of an oil company involved in illicit deals in the nineties, to fifteen years behind bars for instigating Prisztás’s murder.

At Friday’s hearing, Portik and two others sentenced for the murder thanked Rohac for confessing to the crime. Ferenc Fazekas, who was at the scene at the time of the murder, confirmed to the court that it was he who had shouted at Rohac and begged the court to suspend his 10-year sentence in light of the new circumstances.

Rohac is currently serving a life sentence for his role in the Budapest Aranykéz street bombing that claimed four lives in 1998 and media mogul János Fenyő’s murder on Feb. 11 of the same year.

Secret Recording Found in a Cemetery Can Help Solve a 90s Murder

The trial is set to continue on Sept. 16 at the Budapest Municipal Court.

Featured photo by Tamás Kovács/MTI