Hungarian MEP resigns after Brussels lockdown party

International

FILE – In this file photo dated Saturday, May 2, 1998, Jozsef Szajer, vice-president of the Fidesz Hungarian Civic Party, talks to the media. Hungarian member of the European Parliament Jozsef Szajer on Tuesday Dec. 1, 2020, admitted to being among those present at an illegal party broken up by Belgian police in central Brussels last week, amid press reports he took part in a COVID-19 lockdown sex orgy. (AP photo/Tibor Rozsahegyi, FILE)

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — A Hungarian European Parliament lawmaker on Tuesday admitted he was present at an illegal party broken up by Belgian police in central Brussels last week, following reports he took part in a COVID-19 lockdown sex orgy.

Jozsef Szajer, an MEP with Hungary’s ruling ultra-conservative Fidesz party who resigned his seat on Sunday, acknowledged in a statement that he attended the party — but did not comment on Belgian media reports on its nature. He said police on the scene issued him a verbal warning and took him home.

Belgian newspaper HLN and other media reported on Tuesday that police had disrupted a sex party attended by 25 people above a café, and that one attendee, a Fidesz MEP, had attempted to flee the scene but was apprehended. HLN said several diplomats were also present.

The newspaper did not name the lawmaker but said he had resigned on Sunday — when Szajer stepped down.

The Brussels prosecutor’s office confirmed to The Associated Press that police ended a lockdown party in a downtown Brussels flat on Friday evening after they were called because of a night-time disturbance. The office did not confirm that it was a group sex party and a Brussels police spokeswoman declined to comment.

In a statement, the prosecutor’s office later said police found about 20 people in the apartment. After police checked their identities, two partygoers invoked diplomatic immunity,

The prosecutor’s office added that a third man was arrested after a passer-by told police he tried to escape. Only identified as S.J., the man was unable to show I.D. and was escorted to his residence, where he produced a diplomatic passport.

“The man’s hands were bloody. It is possible that he may have been injured while fleeing,” the prosecutor’s office said, adding that police found drugs in his backpack.

All those who attended the party have been reported for violating anti-COVID measures banning social gatherings. In addition, a police report has been registered against S.J. for violation of the narcotics legislation.

Szajer denied using drugs at the party, and said he offered to have an on-the-spot drug test taken, which police declined.

“Police said an ecstasy pill was found. It’s not mine, I don’t know who placed it or how,” Szajer said in his statement.

It was the latest in a series of scandals involving members of Fidesz, which has vocally heralded Hungary’s role in defending Christian family values. Hungary’s prime minister and head of Fidesz, Viktor Orban, is a prominent critic of the liberal political culture of Western Europe, and has laid his political power on a foundation of what he calls “illiberal” Christian democracy.

Szajer, a Fidesz founding member, was one of the lead architects of Hungary’s new constitution in 2011, which was criticized by opponents for emblazoning conservative Christian ideology.

In July, a Budapest court sentenced Fidesz member and former Hungarian ambassador to Peru Gabor Kaleta to a one-year suspended prison sentence and fined him for possessing more than 19,000 sexually explicit images of minors.

In 2019, video was leaked of Fidesz politician Zsolt Borkai participating in an orgy on a yacht in the Adriatic Sea. Borkai, the mayor of a medium-sized city 70 miles from the capital of Budapest, was re-elected that month despite the scandal, and Fidesz said it considered the issue “a private matter.”

In his statement Tuesday, Szajer apologized for breaking Belgian rules limiting social gatherings.

“It was irresponsible on my part and I will suffer the penalties,” he wrote.

___

Petrequin reported from Brussels. Raf Casert contributed from Brussels.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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