Government officials charged with selling Hungarian passports

November 2, 2017

Government officials charged with granting Hungarian citizenships for money
Photo: pecsma.hu

The Budapest Chief Prosecution Office charged 16 people with abuse of their official positions, bribery and other corruption crimes linked to Hungarian naturalization procedures, reports index.hu.

Two of the charged are government officials who worked for the Immigration and Asylum Office in Budapest. One of them allegedly approved of the Hungarian language knowledge of applicants who didn’t speak the language. Hungarian skills are a condition of citizenship in the case of naturalization procedures. According to index.hu, the mediators asked for money on two occasions, and the first government official was detained while exchanging money. The other was accused after she allegedly started to destroy documents to get rid of evidence following her colleague’s arrest.

The government officials are accused of working as a team with three mediators who found applicants that didn’t speak Hungarian but were willing to pay to obtain citizenship. Among the 10 accused applicants are Serbian, Ukrainian and Russian nationals who obtained Hungarian citizenship between January 2014 and March 2015. Once Hungarian citizens, they could access possibilities not available to their nationality, such as freedom of movement within the Schengen zone and workforce mobility in the EU.