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29th January, 2018

Criminals may have been granted citizenship

Some 5,000-6,000 criminals may have received Hungarian citizenship with forged Ukrainian documents, HírTV’s “Célpont” programme reported on Sunday.

Although vetting of the applicants for Hungarian citizenship is compulsory, official bodies do not comply in many cases, according to the report.

After the Fidesz cabinet launched the simplified and accelerated naturalisation procedure in 2011, a centre developed in Nyírtelek, near Ukraine, where Hungarian citizenship was not only granted to ethnic Hungarians but to anybody who paid for it, HírTV adds.

These allegedly include criminals who made a living by setting off bombs, committing murders, extorting money, selling drugs and, running prostitutes.

The criminals were able to buy birth certificate extracts for €15,000 in Ukraine, and then provided a name suggesting some kind of Hungarian ancestor when they applied to Ukrainian authorities for new documents with which to apply for Hungarian citizenship.

As Hungarian authorities did not approach Ukrainian authorities during the national security vetting of the applicants, it did not emerge that the identity of the applicants requiring citizenship could be false.

More than 623,000 people applied for simplified naturalisation during 2011-14 but the authorities in charge of vetting did not have sufficient human resources to substantively process the applications of the arrivals.

Deputy prime minister Zsolt Semjén told “Célpont” that the number of abuses was always insignificant during the simplified naturalisation.

In a statement issued on Sunday, the Interior Ministry denied as “a blatant lie” the suggestion that the government is granting citizenship to Russian and Ukrainian criminals.

Sources regularly consulted, with abbreviations used in text: Népszabadság (N); Magyar Hírlap (MH); Világgazdaság (VG); Napi Gazdaság (NG); Magyar Nemzet (MN); Népszava (Nsz); Kossuth Rádió news (KR); nightly TV news (TV).

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