Leaked Recording Sparks Protests in Hungary Amid Corruption Scandal Rocking Government

Protests have erupted in Hungary following the release of a leaked audio recording implicating top officials in a corruption scandal, intensifying pressure on Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s populist government. The tape, unveiled by former government insider turned critic Peter Magyar, alleges that it provides evidence of systemic corruption among high-ranking officials.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Budapest, demanding the resignation of Chief Prosecutor and Prime Minister Orban, after Magyar exposed a conversation with his ex-wife, former Justice Minister Judit Varga, detailing attempts to interfere in a corruption case.

The scandal revolves around a graft case involving former justice ministry state secretary Pal Volner, accused of accepting bribes from the former head of the Court Bailiffs, Gyorgy Schadl. Both have pleaded not guilty.

In the leaked recording, Varga allegedly describes how aides linked to cabinet chief Antal Rogan attempted to influence prosecutors regarding evidence in the Volner/Schadl case. Varga, while not disputing the authenticity of the tape, accused Magyar of domestic violence and claimed she made statements under duress.

Magyar, who aims to establish a new pro-EU political party, asserts that the evidence tampering warrants the resignation of Orban’s government. He called for independent investigation, sparking widespread protests in Budapest.

The Hungarian opposition, historically fragmented, hopes Magyar’s revelations will challenge Orban’s longstanding grip on power. The government, however, dismisses Magyar as an opportunist and denies any wrongdoing.

The scandal comes amidst heightened political sensitivity ahead of European parliamentary elections and follows a series of controversies including a sex abuse scandal that led to the resignation of high-ranking officials.

Prosecutors have announced plans to analyze the tape, with further evidence collection underway. The unfolding events mark one of the strongest challenges to Orban’s leadership since he assumed power in 2010, amid accusations of eroding democracy and turning Hungary away from the West.

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