Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén intervened to help siblings of Jordanian honorary consul acquire citizenship

January 16, 2018

Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén interceded to naturalize siblings of Jordanian honorary consul
Photo: MTI/Tamás Kovács

Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén “eminently” supported the naturalization of relatives of government-tied Jordanian businessman Zaid Naffa, according to documents acquired by Politics Can Be Different (LMP) MP Márta Demeter.

Demeter told Magyar Nemzet that, according to the documents she had inspected, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade contacted Semjén (pictured) in 2014 to win his support for the naturalization of Tarik and Huda Naffa, siblings of Zaid Naffa, the honorary consul of Jordan to Hungary.

“Mr. and Ms. Naffa, members of the Naffa family that plays a key role in Hungarian-Jordanian relations, are already contributing to the development of the exceptional Hungarian-Jordanian relations to a great degree, their access to Hungarian citizenship would give them a further momentum,” wrote the ministry in order to convince Semjén to recommend to President János Áder to review the Naffas’ naturalization application. The letter was signed by then-undersecretary with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade László Szabó, who is currently the Hungarian Ambassador to the United States.

Shortly thereafter, Semjén’s cabinet sent a letter to the director of the Immigration and Asylum Office. In the letter, Semjén’s staff indicated that Szabó “strongly supports” giving Hungarian citizenship to the Naffas “out of equity, taking national interests into account” and that Semjén also “eminently supports” the Naffas’ naturalization.

According to Demeter’s investigation, it was Tarik Naffa who – as the director of the Hungarian Trading House in the Jordanian capital, Amman – requested help from the Hungarian Embassy in Jordan to grant Hungarian citizenship to the since-deceased Saudi businessman Gaith Pharaon who was wanted by the FBI. Tarik Naffa eventually received Hungarian citizenship and was later appointed honorary consul of Hungary in Jordan.

Huda Naffa, who has been “contributing to the development of the exceptional Hungarian-Jordanian relations to a great degree” was also granted Hungarian citizenship, even though she has been residing in Macedonia since 2012 as the honorary consul of Jordan in Macedonia.

As the Budapest Beacon earlier reported, although Zaid Naffa also requested Hungarian citizenship, his application was rejected after Hungary’s Counter-Terrorism Centre (TEK) determined that he poses a national security risk.

“With a single flick of the wrist . . . the Hungarian state institutional system opens the country’s doors wide to any person with a dark past,” Demeter told Magyar Nemzet.