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hvg.hu

A former employee of the Office for Hungarians Abroad and her husband spied for Romania, it is alleged.

Tibor Szatmári, once a key figure in the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (RMDSZ) arrived in Budapest in 2002 to work as a liaison between the RMDSZ and the Hungarian government and serve as the party's Budapest office manager. HVG has learned that Szatmári may have attended highly confidential meetings of the Hungarian Standing Committee (which brings together Hungarian leaders from countries of the region).

His contract with the RMDSZ was terminated in January. Csaba Takács, a senior figure in the RMDSZ told MTI that he was dismissed because he had started working for the Communitas Alapítvány, a Transylvanian organisation which distributes subsidies given by the Hungarian government. This contradicts Szatmári's assertion that he has been unemployed since leaving the Office for Hungarians Abroad (HTMH). Szatmári had already been given indefinite leave to remain before leaving the HTMH, which means he must already have been subject to an investigation by the security services.

Ildikó Szatmári is a Hungarian citizen and claims to have been passed the security investigation needed to serve as a civil servant before joining the HTMH - though other sources claim that it was precisely because of this investigation that she came to the attention of the counter-intelligence services. In any case, she also left the HTMH in April.

It is believed that the Szatmár's story is linked to the recent departure of József Bálint-Pataki, the chairman of the HTMH, from his post. But he denied this to HVG, saying that he had resigned for health reasons and that he was astonished to see the HTMH being dragged into the scandal.

But it gets murkier. Ildikó Szatmári - who was formerly an adviser to the Education Ministry and a frequent visitor to the Ministry of Culture - is widely believed to have had intimate relationships with the heads of the HTMH, the ministries concerned and a spokesman for one of the big parties. Index.hu mentioned István Hiller, and Transindex concluded that the claims made in the Magyar Nemzet must have referred to Bálint Magyar and István Hiller.

Some assume that the couple's marriage was set up by the Romanian security services and that they came to Budapest on mission. When unmasked at the beginning of the year it is believed that they did a deal with the Hungarian authorities: they could stay if the did not talk to the Romanian authorities.

People linked with foreign policy, government members and even some leaders of the opposition are believed to have known the secret for more than half a year. Romanian sources suggest that the news came from a radical right wing Hungarian minority group which is unhappy with the rapprochement between Béla Markó and Fidesz.

 

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