Hungary authorities plan to interview diplomats and IMF in international spy investigation
Hungarian investigators are seeking to interview former head of the International Monetary Fund’s mission to Hungary, as well as a US army officer, in relation to an ongoing espionage investigation. The case began with an investigation into the affairs of a businessman who has strong ties to the political right. This in turn has unveiled a larger conspiracy involving an elite group called the Empire, a group which had senior members of the Hungarian political spectrum among its members, and is now linked with spying for the USA.
As Atlatszo.hu reported earlier two Hungarian individuals, Norbert Maxin and his business associate Bela B., are currently being investigated by the authorities on charges of espionage. The case claims that the two men handed over confidential information to the US diplomatic service and the International Monetary Fund.
As our discussion with Maxin’s lawyer Gusztav Kertesz revealed, the authorities are now trying to arrange interviews with the former head of the IMF’s mission to Hungary, Iryna Ivaschenko, as well as the military officer stationed at the time at the US embassy, both of whom otherwise enjoy diplomatic immunity.
Maxin’s past reveals that during his business career, he established close ties to the political right-wing, currently in power. Maxin himself claims to have been involved with the Fidesz party for many years and that he frequently participated in high-level negotiations at the side of Mihaly Varga, the current Minister for the Economy. Investigations confirm that he has indeed been associated with several politicians from the Fidesz camp over the years. His co-defendant, the chief executive of his company, Bela B., was similarly close to the elite, having actually served as an advisor to Varga in 2006-2007, and later working in a ministry job in 2010.
Maxin last appeared in the press in 2012 through his company Polygon, which was a vendor to the local division of IBM. Reports emerged that billions of forints went missing from the company, and shortly after Maxin disappeared. Rumors circulated that he may have been killed as a result of his questionable business activities.
However, Bela B. and another individual Istvan F. were themselves the subject of a different investigation, in which they stood accused of libeling Vilmos Valyi-Nagy, former state secretary, through blog posts. Investigators found that although B. was in contact with Maxin, they believe that B. and F. made the incriminating posts on Maxin’s behalf. This led the police to conclude that Maxin is, in fact, alive.
It was also this investigation that led to house searches at B.’s residence, uncovering materials which prompted the national investigation bureau, NNI, to start looking into suspicions of espionage. The basis of these suspicions were that Maxin and B. established their close ties with the political and business elite over the years specifically in order to gather intelligence, which they then passed on to the USA and the IMF.
They did so through an organization called the Empire. Although the investigative materials would have the readers believe they are looking into the Illuminati, the testimonies report that the organization was little more than a friendly society of like-minded people, who took field trips and went on vacations together. Nonetheless, the charges state that Maxin and B. used their company to lobby the government on the behalf of foreign interests and, in the process, mishandled confidential information. In his testimony, Maxin stated that Varga was also a member of the Empire.
Maxin gave testimony to the investigators, but his lawyer said that the process was questionable. As he explained, his client wanted to give a detailed, continuous recap of the events and the timeline ranging from his earlier business dealings to his meetings with officials, as well as his ties to the youth group of the Fidesz party. Kertesz said the investigators interrupted Maxin’s testimony, telling him that all they wanted was for him to answer specific questions, as Kertesz suspects, with the intention of maintaining the credibility of the conspiracy angle.