An investigation into the Russian connections of radical right-wing MEP Béla Kovács by index.hu has outted his wife as a KGB agent and presents compelling circumstancial evidence that Kovács himself is a Russian spy. Even though Hungarian prosecutors initiated a procedure with the European Parliament to lift his immunity from prosecution in May, the Hungarian government has not released any information since then.
András Dezső’s investigative piece published on Tuesday, however, seems to confirm Kovács’s involvment with Russian secret service lasting for more than three decades. The article alleges that Kovács’ Russian wife, Svetlana Istoshina is a KGB running agent who simultaneously married a number of Western men, including a Japanese nuclear physicist, and a professional Austrian burglar, Mario Schön, known to do business with the Soviet secret services during the 1980’s. Istoshina managed to obtain Austrian citizenship in 1986 while living with Kovács.
According to the article, Kovács was born in 1960. The illegetimate son of a Soviet soldier stationed in Hungary, he was adopted by Béla Kovács Sr. and his wife. His adopted father worked as a building maintenance technician for the Hungarian diplomatic body for most of his life. In the late 1970s he was stationed at the Hungarian embassy in Tokyo, bringing his son over in 1979. Béla Kovács Jr. met Svetlana Ishenko while a student at Tokyo’s Sophia university. What he did not know at the time was that the Russian girl was already married to Masanori Omiya, a Japanese nuclear physicist for four years.
During the month spent investigating the story, Dezső managed to speak with adopted steptfather, as well as ex-KGB servicemen, like Konstantin Preobrazhenskiy. The latter, now living in the US, confirmed that Svetlana Istoshina’s practice of securing foreign documents and later using them to travel makes it probable that the woman was working for the KGB as a “running agent”, responsible for securing confidential information and later passing it on to KGB’s Moscow headquarters. Preobrazhenskiy also said that Japan was one of the most important bases used by the Soviets for such activities.
When confronted by a Japanese article about his wife marriage to Masanori Omiya in his Strasbourg office, Kovács seemed surprised, claiming that he was not aware of his wife’s secret life. “Now, I think I have as many questions for her as you do” he reacted, maintaining that he was not ever recruited by any secret service during his lifetime.
Kovács and his Russian wife were living in Vienna until 2003 when the couple moved back to Budapest. There Béla Kovács joined upstart radical right-wing party, the Jobbik-Movement for a Better Hungary in 2005. Having no previous connections with Hungarian nationalists, the rate by which Kovács rose through party ranks is surprising. Already in 2009 following Jobbik’s first major international success in the European Parliamentary elections, he was heavily funding the party, and also organized trips to Moscow for party leader Gábor Vona during which they met with figures like Konstantin Malofeev of Aleksandr Dugin. In 2010 Kovács replaced Zoltán Balczó at the European Parliament in Brussels after Balczó resigned to enter the Hungarian parliament. In the last years he was also working on an international political organizations for far-right nationalist political parties within the EU. Despite Kovács’ categorical denial of any secret service connections, it probable that with Kovács’ entry to Jobbik, the Russian secret service entered as well, accoring to Dezső.
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