Hungarian mayor jailed for illegally importing German waste

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The mayor allegedly pocketed 80 euros per tonne, or 320,000 euros in all, from the deal with waste-disposal firms in Germany.

Budapest -- A Hungarian court sentenced the mayor of a tiny village to 18 months in jail Thursday for illegally importing and dumping 4,000 tonnes of German waste in 2006.

Istvan Halasz, the mayor of Kunbaja, 230 kilometres (143 miles) south of Budapest, was also convicted of forging official documents connected with the waste, court spokesman Szabolcs Sarkozy told AFP.

Halasz was fined 500,000 forint (1,725 euros, 2,325 dollars) and banned from holding public office for two years.

According to the daily newspaper Nepszabadsag, the mayor pocketed 80 euros per tonne, or 320,000 euros in all, from the deal with waste-disposal firms in Germany.

The communal waste from the southern German towns of Augsburg, Aitrach, Tussenhausen and Rehau was distributed to around 20 different sites across Hungary between July and December 2006.

The waste included hazardous products, such as pesticide containers, medical waste and batteries, the transport of which requires special permission, but Halasz did not have the necessary authorisation to transport, store and manage the waste.

The newspaper said that 1,000 tonnes of the waste was still in Hungary, while the rest had been taken to Berlin for incineration.

Another 16 people were involved in the deal, including the mayor's wife who headed the company importing the waste.

She was fined 300,000 forint and given a suspended 10-month sentence, while the others were fined and ordered to do public work.

Halasz is to appeal his sentence, the court spokesman said.

AFP/Expatica

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