Former secret service chief of failed Hungarian PM behind bars
The former director general of Hungary's National Security Office, Lajos Galambos, entered prison on Wednesday morning, according to the Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet. The prosecution accused the Gyurcsany government's former chief of intelligence services, among other things, of accepting a bribe of one hundred million forints from Robert Jakubinyi, a well-known underworld figure. For the crimes, Galambos was sentenced to four years in prison in September. The verdict is final.
Lajos Galambos, director general of Hungary’s National Security Office (NBH) during the left-wing Gyurcsany government, began his time in a penitentiary institution on Wednesday morning after having been sentenced to four years in prison in September, according to information obtained by Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet.
Mr Galambos is not expected to spend a long time behind bars, since he can be released on parole after serving two-thirds of his sentence. Even before that, he can presumably use the option of reintegration custody. In this case it means that he can spend the last 10 months of his punishment in his home under remote surveillance.
It is known that in 2013, the prosecution charged three people with official bribery committed continuously, aimed at the abuse of official position and other criminal offences. The first and second defendants were Robert Jakubinyi, a key figure of a foundation called Egymasert, Egy-Masert and Lajos Galambos, the former director general of NBH, who had previously been indicted for espionage but acquitted. The third defendant was the former head of NHB’s operations department, the daily recalls.
The facts of the classified case point to the Egymasert, Egy-Masert Foundation, established during the Gyurcsany government on the initiative of Lajos Nagy, the first director of NBH, who deceased in 2006. According to the indictment,
in 2005 and 2006, a private company imported dutiable goods and several tons of food from Asia for the foundation, in the value of billions of Hungarian forints. The goods were claimed to be donations, but later they appeared on the shelves of large supermarket chains, causing the state a loss of almost one and a half billion forints (1.2 milion euros) in unpaid taxes. Subsequent interviews revealed that the former public benefit organisation had for years been a place where the highest-ranking secret service officers of the Gyurcsany government received bribe money. In exchange, the leaders of the authorities made sure that Jakubinyi’s criminal cases were swept under the rug. The defendants could have received hundreds of millions of forints for their services.
In 2017, the military chamber of the Court of First Instance of the town of Kaposvar found all three defendants guilty in a secret trial. Robert Jakubinyi, a well-known figure in the underworld, was sentenced to four years in prison and banned from public affairs for five years, for two counts of bribery committed on a continuous basis.
The second defendant, Lajos Galambos, received five years in prison for continuous bribery and breach of state secrets, and was banned from public affairs for eight years. The former head of the operations department of the NBH, the third defendant, was sentenced to three years in prison and forbidden to participate in public affairs for five years. The court also ordered Galambos to forfeit 150 million forints, and the former head of department to forfeit 100 million forints,
the Hungarian daily recalls, adding that although the prosecutor’s office proposed a more severe sentence, the Budapest Court of Appeal overturned the first instance verdict for procedural reasons. The court appointed the other military chamber of the Kaposvar Court to conduct the retrial, which started hearing the criminal case in February 2019.
In the retrial of the first instance conducted in September last year, the court sentenced Mr Jakubinyi to three years in prison and barred him from exercising public affairs for four years for two counts of bribery committed on a continuous basis. Galambos, the second defendant, was handed down a sentence of four years in prison and was prohibited from public affairs for six years, for bribery and breach of state secrets. The third defendant was sentenced to two years and six months, also for bribery, and was also forbidden to participate in public affairs for four years.
As the defendants appealed, the case was sent to the court of appeal, which essentially upheld the first instance verdict on 13 September, Magyar Nemzet recalls.