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sábado, 27 de fevereiro de 2010

British businessmen freed from Hungarian jail

Two British businessmen who were held in a Hungarian jail without being charged after being accused of fraud when their company collapsed have been freed.

By David Harrison
Published: 11:30AM GMT 27 Feb 2010
1 of 2 Images
Michael Turner, one of the two Brits released in Hungary.

Michael Turner, 27, and Jason McGoldrick, 37, had been held without charge since November 2 over claims they owed creditors £18,000.

Mr Turner, from Corfe Castle, Dorset, and Mr McGoldrick, from Plymouth, Devon, were released from prison in Budapest on Friday without any explanation.

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"I feel chuffed but confused," Mr Turner told The Sunday Telegraph. "My lawyer is still trying to find out exactly what are the terms of the release.

"We had been pushing for bail but we have been given no explanation."

The men, who set up and ran a timeshare marketing company which collapsed in 2005, were told to report to an address in Budapest where their passports are being held, but the building was closed on Saturday and they will have to return on Monday.

They have also been told to report to a police station on April 8th.

Mr Turner said: "It’s great to be out of jail and it means that we can concentrate on trying to clear our names."

His family in Corfe Castle, have campaigned for both men’s release and set up a website called Free Mike and Jason.

Mr Turner’s father, Mark Turner, who flew back from Budapest just before his son was freed, said the release was a surprise.

He said: "There was no sign of imminent release then, but by the time I was back in the UK my phone was red hot.

"I spoke to Michael and he said someone just came in to his prison cell and he obviously assumed he was being moved somewhere.

"They opened the door and threw them out and said there you go, out in the rain on a Budapest street."

Hungarian prosecutors used European arrest warrants to detain the men alleging the company’s creditors were the victims of fraud.

But Mr Turner and his family have always protested his innocence.

His father, a pub landlord, said: "These guys have never been charged with any crime, and been in prison. They’re guys of great integrity who have never done anything wrong in their lives.

"They’ve not rushed on a plane and said let’s get out of here; they want the opportunity to clear their names and deal with the Hungarian authorities."

He said the prison conditions were grim.

"I saw Michael on Thursday when I visited at prison, you can see both of them have their clothes hanging off them, like they’ve been in a concentration camp," he said. "They looked pale and malnourished."

Mr Turner snr said friends and fellow villagers had celebrated on Friday night but he did not want to "get carried away just yet".

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