Hungary asks European Parliament to lift Jobbik MEP's immunity

The Chief Prosecutor's office said in a statement it had made the request but declined to specify the reasons because it said they were classified.

Hungary asks European Parliament to lift Jobbik MEP's immunity

World Bulletin / News Desk

Hungary said on Thursday it had asked the European Parliament to lift the immunity of MEP Bela Kovacs, a member of the far-right Jobbik party, after investigating him in relation to an unspecified crime.

Kovacs denied any wrongdoing and rebuted a Magyar Nemzet newspaper report that he was suspected of spying for Russia. He also said he was willing to waive his immunity to clear his name.

"I have never been a member of any secret service, Hungarian or foreign," Kovacs told a news conference. "I never cooperated with them, neither have there been attempts to recruit me on their part."

The Chief Prosecutor's office said in a statement it had made the request but declined to specify the reasons because it said they were classified.

Espionage carries a two-to-eight year sentence under Hungarian law.

In a statement to Reuters, prosecution spokesman Geza Fazekas said: "A classified document contains the detailed justification of the (immunity suspension) proposal. As the case is classified we cannot give further information on the matter."

Kovacs said he had had no idea of the investigation until he read about it on Thursday. He called on the Hungarian Parliament's National Security Committee to hear him out in a public meeting.

Kovacs, 54, was educated at the Moscow Institute of International Relations in the Soviet Union in the 1980s and spent much of his adult life in Moscow as the owner of an international trading business, according to his public resume.

He returned to Hungary in 2004, the year when the country joined the European Union. The following year, he joined the far-right Jobbik party, which was then only a small group of young enthusiasts.

In the European Parliament, Kovacs helped found the Alliance of European National Movements, a far-right alliance that until recently had among its members France's Front National. He is now chairman of the group.

Magyar Nemzet cited unnamed sources to say there were suspicions in Brussels that the AENM had clandestine links with Russia, which Kovacs denied.

"I must reject the allegation that the Alliance of European National Movements would be under Russian influence of the recipient of Russian financing," he said.

The MEP is currently third on Jobbik's European Parliament elction list. Opinion polls suggest this would be high enough to get elected again in this months European Parliament election.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Mayıs 2014, 17:12
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