Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Murder in Budapest: Was it another Mossad hit?


This piece of mine appears in the First Post.

Back in the early 1990s, ITV filmed its detective series Maigret not in Paris, where George Simenon's famous novels are set, but in Budapest, regarded as a dead ringer for 1950s Paris and a place where production costs were much lower. It's a shame the pipe-smoking inspector is no longer walking the streets of the Hungarian capital, as his skills might have been of great help in solving a baffling murder case that has led to speculation from the US to the Middle East.

On Wednesday March 17, just after seven in the morning, Dr Bassam Trache, a 52-year-old veterinary surgeon with dual Syrian and Hungarian citizenship, was shot dead in his black Mercedes at a junction in Budapest's 16th district. The killer grabbed a black briefcase from the car and made off on foot.

Dr Trache, it was revealed, operated a money-changing business. A few years ago he was acquitted in court of attempting to bribe - with jewellery and Arab cakes - the head of the Budapest police's money-changing investigation division.

At first, his murder was regarded as yet another killing connected with the shady world of money-changing; in the past ten years, there have been no fewer than 123 murders connected with the business in Budapest.

But then a more fantastic theory to explain Dr Trache's murder emerged.

It transpired that on the very day that Trache was killed, two Israeli Gulfstream V-type jets were spotted flying low over the Hungarian capital, leading to speculation that, just two months after the assassination in Dubai of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the Syrian might have been the victim of a Mossad hit.


You can read the rest of the article here.

4 comments:

Douglas said...

I really don't have an opinion as to whether it was a Mossad hit or not. But when I read your reference to "another Mossad hit," I notice that the killing in Dubai dropped off the media radar in the US quite some time ago.

BTW, I watch the ITV Jules Maigret mysteries on MHZ Worldview television. If loving Maigret is wrong, I don't want to be right!

Nick said...

Hmm, until now I didn't have you pegged as a dyed-in-the-wool conspiracy theorist - well, not completely anyway.

jack said...

Actually if he was planning to finance terrorist attacks against Israel then that I guess you could say it is just a part of modern warfare after all the US and it's allies in the "war on terror" kill people all the time.

But seeing how Hungry is a pro-US=pro-Israeli country if he was involved in anything like that they would have arrested him.

Probably more to the story than meets the eye as Israel is reported to have strong influence in Hungry, and Israeli-Russian organised crime boss Simon Moglevich has a big presence in Hungry.

Plus we know western intelligence dealing with organised crime and Islamic terrorism over the border in the Balkans.

Neil Clark said...

Douglas- I'm pleased to hear that you're a fellow Maigret fan. The sad fact is that the poor man would now himself be arrested if he lit his pipe in a bar in Paris.
Nick- I'm not saying that I definitely believe it was Mossad, only reporting on the speculation that Mossad might have been involved -and making the point that Israel is probably quite pleased that there is such speculation.
jack- interesting background info.