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18th May, 2018

EC expects explanation for alleged passport fraud

The European Commission expects an explanation from Hungarian authorities regarding alleged Hungarian passport fraud cases.

The website Direkt36 and the Washington Post reported last week that criminals and Russian diplomats expelled from America had entered the US with fraudulently obtained Hungarian passports.

Some 700 non-Hungarians fraudulently acquired authentic Hungarian passports and assumed the identities of the original passport holders, according to the US Department of Homeland Security. Of those, 65 entered the US under that country’s visa waiver programme.

US officials believe that criminals obtained the passports by exploiting the Hungarian government’s simplified citizenship programme for ethnic Hungarians living outside the country, the report said.

Direkt36 wrote: “It has been widely reported in the Hungarian press that the system has often been abused. According to the reports, applicants used fake documents to claim that they had Hungarian ancestors and managed to pass the language test either by learning a few sentences or with the help of corrupt officials.”

The article suggested that the US government had envisaged waiving the Hungarian visa exemption.

A European Commission spokesman told Népszava that serious security shortcomings in the Hungarian passport system do not look good.

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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