Budapest, January 30 (MTI) – Budapest’s court of appeals has upheld an earlier court ruling and acquitted Socialist MP Dezső Hiszékeny of charges of bribery.
Hiszékeny was suspected of having demanded a bribe of 5 million forints (EUR 16,000) back in 2013 — when he was deputy mayor of Budapest’s 13th district — from a businessman in return for granting lease of municipally owned shop space.
The Socialist politician denied the charges all along and maintained that the suit had been politically motivated.
The municipal court of Budapest acquitted Hiszékeny last April, saying that the alleged bribery could not be verified. The prosecutor, however, appealed.
The opposition Socialist Party called on public prosecutor Péter Polt to resign in the wake of the verdict. In a statement, the party said the politically motivated campaign of the prosecutor’s office against one of its politicians had failed. The Socialists accused “professionally unfit and politically biased” Polt of serving the interests of the ruling Fidesz party.
The Socialist statement insisted that Fidesz had engaged in a sting operation, having hired an investigator who used a concealed microphone to record a semblance of bribery. In the course of the court hearings, it transpired that the investigator had brought up the possibility of bribery while Hiszékeny had in every case rejected the money, the statement added.
Ruling Fidesz slammed the court’s decision as “outrageous” and said Hiszekeny “must not be allowed to get away” with what the party insisted had been a solicitation of a bribe. In a statement, Fidesz said the Socialist Party was riddled with corruption cases, accusing the party of having stolen “one-third of the funds invested into the metro 4 construction project” and accepting “hundreds of millions of forints in bribe money” in the procurement of metro trains.