Suspect in Colossal Hungarian Embezzlement Case Arrested in Belize, Returned to Budapest
Tom Szigeti 2016.12.14.
According to Hungarian news agency MTI and news site 24.hu, Mária Dobrai, the head of defunct travel agency Kun-Mediátor, which also operated illegally as an investment bank, has been arrested in Belize, on charges of large-scale embezzlement. Hungarian police returned “Maricska” to Budapest aboard a Lufthansa plane.
Dobrai fled Hungary following an investigation into Kun-Mediátor’s dealings that had begun in April of 2015. At that time, authorities were alerted to irregularities following an incident in which angry clients cued up in front of the supposed travel agency’s office in the eastern Hungarian town of Karcag, demanding the return of their deposits, on which the firm had promised huge returns. At the time, István Dobrossy, lawyer of the furious Kund-Mediátor clients, claimed that the losses caused by the travel agency were between 5 and 20 billion (roughly €15million to €63million). For more information on the pyramid scheme, read our article here.
Officers of the Hungarian National Office of Investigation escort Mária Dobrai, suspect in the Kun-Mediátor ebezzlement case, off an airplane at Budapest’s Liszt Ferenc International Airport following her capture in Belize (Photo:Zoltán Mihádák- MTI).
Close to one thousand investors had been promised returns far exceeding market rates when the 62-year old Dobrai fled after the Hungarian National Bank began investing her travel agency for acting as an unauthorized financial institution.
According to Hungary Matters, “Kun-Mediátor is believed to have lured some 1,000 clients into its pyramid scheme and collected over 10 billion forints (€32m) in deposits.”
Dobrai was apprehended last Thursday on an island belonging to the South American nation of Belize. As Belize has no standing extradition treaty with Hungary, a separate agreement was reached between the foreign ministries of the two countries.
According to Hungarian Public Prosecutor Péter Polt, his office had interviewed nearly 800 clients; Polt added that the investigation would be completed by spring of 2017.