Tamas Gyarfas, the former president of the Hungarian Swimming Association, has paid a 200 million Forint ($700 thousand USD) bond while awaiting trial in Hungary. Prior to the bond, Gyarfas was limited only to the confines of Budapest, but was under a more general travel ban. He has been charged with ordering the murder of a media rival in 1998.
Gyarfas says that he has no concerns with paying such a large bond, because he knows that he will not flee and so the bond will be returned.
Gyarfas maintains his innocence after being detained in April in connection with the murder of Janos Fenyo, a media tycoon who was killed in the late 1990s.
Fenyo owned a number of newspapers, magazine and a TV network when he was killed by a flurry of submachine gun bullets while in his car at a traffic light in Budapest on Feb. 11, 1998, per Reuters and The Washington Post. Gyarfas was also involved in media ownership at the time.
Hungarian courts have found that Gyarfas can “reasonably be a suspect” in instigating the murder, prompting the court to order the bond payment.
Gyarfas was the head of Hungary’s swimming federation from 1993 until 2016, when he resigned after criticism from some of the nation’s top swimmers. In 2017, though, he was appointed by FINA President Julio Maglione to serve on the 8-person FINA Executive, a committee made up of the international swimming federation’s president, five vice presidents, honorary treasurer and one member to be nominated by the president.
Gyarfas is still listed as a member of the FINA Bureau and as the treasurer of LEN, the European governing body, on their websites. At the time of his arrest, LEN released a statement saying that “In the wake of the media reports on the developing case related to LEN Treasurer Tamas Gyarfas, LEN keeps monitoring the situation and waits for any development in the investigation.”
He attended the LEN Congress earlier this year, in spite of charges against him, which he was only allowed to do because it was held in his home country of Hungary.
Correction: a prior version of this article said that Gyarfas paid the bond to be out of jail; instead, he paid the bond to be able to travel more widely than the city limits of Budapest.