- 8 Nov 2016 8:00 AM
Zsolt Molnár said the Hungarian authorities were not doing everything they could to clear up questions surrounding Saudi businessman Ghaith Pharaon.
Pharaon has been wanted by the FBI for supporting terrorism and assisting illegal immigration, and had freely entered Hungary in 2015.
Molnár said the government’s reasoning that Pharaon had met visa requirements and did not break any national laws at the time “is unacceptable”.
Pharaon has been on the FBI and Interpol’s wanted lists since 1991 and he has never been arrested, so “there is some mystery to his case”, he said.
On the subject of a police detective who was shot dead by a suspect with links to the far right in the village of Bőny in October, Molnár said it was his personal opinion that professional mistakes had been made in connection with the operation.
The National Investigating Office is conducting a probe into the case, Molnár said, adding: “There should be consequences”.
Although police had not been preparing to arrest the suspect when they went to question him at his home, they should have known that he could be armed, Molnár said, adding that questions must be raised about what information the authorities had in their possession regarding the case.
He noted he had already reported that terrorism-related information is very fragmented and divided among the various institutions of Hungary’s secret services.
The Counter-Terrorism Information and Crime Monitoring Centers could play an important role in harmonising information, Molnár said. He added that it was also known that the Magyar Nemzeti Arcvonal (Hungarian National Front), which the suspect led, had connections with Russian secret services.
As the third subject of the meeting Molnár addressed the question of whether the Soros Foundation had been under surveillance in Hungary. He rejected the claim that the foundation had been targeted by Hungarian secret services, adding that the Hungarian authorities were not mandated to spy on civil organisations.
Ruling Fidesz group leader Lajos Kósa said he had urged the interior ministry to prepare a report on paramilitary organisations.
At a press conference, Kósa, who is also the head of parliament’s defence and law-enforcement committee, said he would also request information from the ministry concerning the relationship between those groups and political parties.
He called it worrying that some of those groups, such as the Hungarian National Front or the Sixty-Four Counties Movement, are associated with radical nationalist Jobbik.
Answering a question about Pharaon, Kósa said that the government “never ever” had any links to “a person with such name”.
He said that Pharaon was not staying in the country, adding that the businessman did not own any properties or have business interests in Hungary. Concerning Pharaon’s being wanted by the US authorities, Kósa said it might be linked to “internal conflicts” in the US.
Republished with permission of Hungary Matters, MTI’s daily newsletter.
MTI photo: Kovács Attila