Hungarian president denies plagiarism


HUNGARIAN PRESIDENT Pal Schmitt has been accused of copying almost all his doctoral thesis, adding to the woes of the ruling Fidesz party and the head of state’s close ally, prime minister Viktor Orban.

Leading Hungarian news magazine HVGreported on its website that Mr Schmitt, who twice won gold for fencing in the Olympics, had copied more than 80 per cent of a thesis written in 1987 by Nikolai Georgiev, a Bulgarian sport researcher and diplomat.

Mr Schmitt’s thesis appeared in 1992, and HVGsays 180 of its 215 pages show signs of plagiarism from the work of Mr Georgiev, who died in 2005. Both texts look at the history of the modern Olympics. Mr Schmitt’s office said the men had known each other and used the same research sources but it “firmly rejects the accusation of plagiarism”.

The controversy comes as the government strongly supported by Mr Schmitt comes under intense scrutiny from the EU and IMF, which have refused to provide Hungary with emergency funding until fears over recently introduced laws are cleared up.

Mr Schmitt rose to prominence through sports diplomacy and administration to become vice-chairman of Fidesz, before becoming the country’s president in 2010.