Hungarian swimming executive accused of murdering business rival

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By Cristina Abellan Matamoros  with Reuters
Hungarian swimming executive accused of murdering business rival
Copyright  REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

Hungarian authorities have arrested Tamas Gyarfas for the murder of media tycoon Janos Fenyo over a decade ago.

Police suspect Gyarfas, an executive at the world swimming’s governing body FINA, hired a hit man to kill Fenyo.

In the 1990’s he and Fenyo fought for control of a Hungarian television production company, according to public records.

But on Wednesday, Gyarfas’ lawyer said he was innocent:

“Tamas Gyarfas has announced a complaint against the accusation and denies the act attributed to him in the strongest terms,” said the executive's lawyer Janos Banati in a statement to police.

Fenyo’s brutal murder by machine gun in Budapest on February 1998 left the country in shock.

Police said Gyarfas is suspected of ordering the killing of the media tycoon along with another man named only as 50-year-old Tamas P. He was later identified as Tamas Portik by Hungarian newspapers. Portik, another businessman, was already sentenced to 13 years in jail for another crime May last year.

Police believe Portik is the hitman Gyarfas hired to get rid of Fenyo, said Banati. 

Last year, a Slovak called Jozef Rohac was sentenced by a Hungarian court to life in jail for killing Fenyo. However, it never emerged who ordered the murder.

“FINA is aware of the media reports regarding FINA Executive Member, Tamas Gyarfas. We will continue to monitor the situation closely as we wait further developments of the ongoing investigation,” FINA said in a statement on Wednesday.

Gyarfas was head of the Hungarian Swimming Association until November 2016 when he was forced to resign over his leadership methods.