The municipal appeals court on Wednesday overruled first-instance verdicts handed to 18 defendants last year on charges of laundering cash from trafficking Colombian drugs to the tune of billions of forints.
The defendants in the case were charged with having brought large amounts of euros and dollars from the Netherlands and Spain to Hungary by car, which they then deposited in bank accounts in Hungary and Slovakia. The money was later transferred to Chinese companies.
Last April, the Budapest Municipal Court handed prison terms ranging between two and nine years to 16 defendants. Several people were given lesser sentences and five defendants were acquitted.
The Municipal Court of Appeals told MTI in a statement on Wednesday that it saw no room to acquit the defendants who had been sentenced to prison or to pronounce guilty those who had been acquitted. The court said it upheld the first-instance guilty verdicts but amended some of the charges.
Having reviewed the appeals against the first-instance ruling, the court said it reduced the sentences of two defendants and increased those of four others in its binding ruling. The sentences of the other defendants were upheld, it added.