Hungarian arms maker involved in curious smuggling case

A mysterious weapons-smuggling case was found to have Hungarian ties after Spanish authorities apprehended a shipment of 800 guns in August. The company involved is a survivor across all political eras, its owner has ties to the businessman who was shot dead in the street in the ‘90s by still unknown perpetrators.

Spanish authorities made quite a catch early August in the Algeciras harbor, when they opened a shipping container to find it loaded with weapons, grenade launchers, automatic rifles, ammunition and manuals in English. The shipment containing 809 items worth 1.5 million Swiss francs is substantial in number, given that the port authorities held back altogether 2,250 guns in the past five years, as local officials told Atlatszo.hu

The shipment took off from Ghana and was headed to the United States, Algeciras was a technical stop along the way. Why there, and what the purpose of the gun delivery was remains unknown. That is not the only concerning aspect. The weapons’ shipping manifest stated they were disabled, however, the authorities determined that is not the case, the guns were very much functional. Such sensitive deliveries could only have been made with the knowledge of the manufacturer, but as we learned, they claim to have no information.

The story dates back several years, according to press reports. The sellers, San Swiss Arms AG Brügger & Thomet AG sold the package to the Ghanaian national security council. Hungary’s Milipol Zrt, or to be more precise, its legal predecessor, Combat Kft oversaw the delivery as a contractor in the deal.

Even then, it took years until the shipment finally arrived in Ghana. Jozsef Keresztes Milipol chief executive said the cause of the delay was difficulties in assembling the entire order and the contract did not allow for partial delivery. The Ghanaians said they were dissatisfied with the products they received that had to be replaced.

Nonetheless, last January the Swiss determined that the weapons are accounted for and that they arrived in Ghana. After the same weapons were apprehended by the Spanish authorities, Milipol denied that they were once more involved. However, there was speculation to the contrary, given that Milipol also has a registered business in the US and its main owner, Herbert Szekely has an address there as well. Documents obtained by Atlatszo.hu show that Milipol’s Hungarian and American businesses are in active exchange of goods and the company also operates an online gun shop in California.

Milipol also promotes itself as a leading supplier of the armed forces in Hungary. It has won numerous public procurement tenders, mostly supplying small arms and accessories to the likes of the anti-terrorism unit TEK, the security service of the National Bank of Hungary, as well as the national police force. It has remained in good standing over changes in political leadership, it boasts a constancy in contracts over the previous left-wing rule as well as the conservative government currently in office.

It’s founding dates back to the early ‘90s, its rise tied to the tennis club in Budapest where the political and business elite congregated at the time. The current owner, Herbert Szekely is a known former trustee of Miklos Fenyo. The businessman was shot dead in his car in Budapest back in the ‘90s at the height of open organized crime.

Original article in Hungarian

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