Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Malev Locked Out In Spite of Letter

Employees of Malev Hungarian Airlines were denied access to their office at 5/6 Kamergersky Proyezd for a third day Friday, despite having a letter from the Tverskaya inter-district Prosecutor's Office that established their legal right of entry.

Malev's general manager for the CIS, Gy?rgy V‡rhalyi, waited outside the office, which has been stripped of its Malev sign and had its windows painted over, for three fruitless hours Friday before asking the prosecutor's office to send an officer to enforce the legal document.

The prosecutor's office did not send any additional support, but an officer from the 108th police precinct handling the case failed both to eject a handful of unidentified Russians from the office and to allow Malev's employees in.

The Hungarian Embassy in Moscow, which has intervened in the dispute with appeals to the Russian Foreign Ministry, received a series of telephone threats Thursday evening, targeting Moscow's 1,800 Hungarian nationals for violent attacks, Hungarian newspaper reporter Gabor Khorvat said Friday.

Khorvat, Moscow correspondent for the Hungarian daily Nepszabadsag, said in an interview Friday that the embassy had played down the threats, and had issued no general warning to its citizens.

Malev has rented the office from Aeroflot for 27 years, and had planned to buy the facility. V‡rhalyi dismissed reports that Malev had sought a new location for its Moscow office, and that it had not renewed its lease in time -- two reasons put forward in the Moscow press for the lockout.

V‡rhalyi said that Malev's last rental agreement with Aeroflot, signed May 1, 1992, "clearly stated that the agreement is for three years, and is automatically extended until such time as one of the parties breaks off the agreement in written form." An Aeroflot lawyer, also present outside the office Friday, said their relationship with Malev was healthy.

Itar-Tass reported Thursday that the unidentified intruders who entered the Malev offices before dawn Wednesday and for 24 hours prevented Malev employees from entering, had been hired by the Russian firm Veles, an investor in the reconstruction of the building, which extends for nearly a block on Kamergersky Proyezd.

The Aeroflot lawyer, Annetta Vishnevskaya, who works in its division that deals with foreign airlines, confirmed the report, saying the Moscow government had approved the reconstruction in February, 1994.

"Then in December of last year, Veles threw Finnair out of the building, but we managed to find Finnair a new office," Vishnevskaya said. "And now they have decided to do the same thing with Malev. But they have absolutely no right to this property." Executives at Veles could not be reached for comment Friday.