Man wanted in Hungary over fraud may escape extradition

Judge refuses to extend period beyond Monday as reasons for delay offered by Budapest ‘vague’

The Hungarian authorities have until midnight on Monday to come and collect one of their Dublin-based nationals whose extradition was ordered by the High Court last month. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

The Hungarian authorities have until midnight on Monday to come and collect one of their Dublin-based nationals whose extradition was ordered by the High Court last month. File photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times.

 

The Hungarian authorities have until midnight on Monday to come and collect one of their Dublin-based nationals whose extradition was ordered by the High Court last month.

Laszlo Krisztian Kutas is wanted in his native country where it is claimed he was convicted of committing fraud.

However, the order for his extradition will lapse if his surrender is not completed by midnight on Monday after a High Court judge refused to grant an extension to the time in which his surrender must take place.

The extradition of Mr Kutas was ordered on March 29th with the order stating the process should be completed no later than 25 days afterwards.

Mr Kutas (38), with an address at Marrsfield Avenue, Dublin 13, had been working in Dublin but had quit his employment after the extradition decision.

Defraud

The High Court previously heard that he is wanted for his role, along with another man, in a company that was set up to defraud Hungarian NGOs of money. It is claimed that the fraudulent firm collected registration fees from NGOs who were invited to tender for grant aid. It is claimed that more than 560 Hungarian applicants paid registration fees to a bank account linked to the company Mr Kutas was involved in.

After paying the fees the alleged victims, who lost thousands of euro between them, would not receive any feedback regarding their applications, were not able to contact the company or its representatives, which could not be found at its registered address.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys was told on Thursday that the Hungarian authorities had initially informed gardaí that they would send three police officers to collect Mr Kutas and return him to Budapest on April 16th.

However, the Hungarians later contacted gardaí to say they could not collect him on that date, and due to factors including the Easter holidays and an inability to get suitable flights, asked for an extension to early May.

The application for the extension was opposed by Mr Kutas, represented in court by solicitor Colleen Gildernew.

Not satisfied

In his ruling, Mr Justice Humphreys said he was not satisfied to grant the extension sought by lawyers representing the Irish Minister for Justice.

This means that if Mr Kutas is not surrendered to the Hungarian authorities by midnight on Monday, the extradition order will be discharged.

Mr Justice Humphreys said while evidence had been given by the Garda and the Minister which was candid and diplomatic, he was not satisfied that matters had occurred beyond the control of the Hungarian authorities that would merit granting an extension.

He said the reasons as to why the extradition could not take place within the alotted 25 days were scant and vague. However, he was not prepared to hear additional details from the Hungarians as to why a delay was needed.