Hungary issues warrant for suspected former Nazi

Hungarian authorities issued an international arrest warrant for a man in Australia suspected of being a former Nazi, a report said Thursday.

Charles Zentai, 86, has been the subject of an investigation by Hungary's Foreign Ministry since December on suspicion that he killed at least one Jew in Budapest in 1944. The Hungarian-born Zentai now lives in Perth, Australia.

The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, which tracks down suspected war criminals accused of taking part in the Holocaust, said it had extensive evidence documenting Zentai's alleged crimes.

Zentai has publicly denied allegations, telling Australia's Nine Network television that he never knew the murdered man.

"All I have to say and want to say at this stage is that this is all wrong and I'm prepared to go back to Hungary to defend myself," he said.

Extradition procedures must be initiated by Hungary's Justice Ministry, the daily newspaper Magyar Nemzet said, adding that Australia might refuse the request, despite a 1997 bilateral extradition treaty signed by both countries.

Officials at the Wiesenthal Center have called for the trial to be held in Hungary, the paper said.

Zentai was located as part of the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Operation Last Chance - a campaign aimed at locating and prosecuting World War II war criminals.

Targeting people in the Baltic states, Croatia, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Romania, the campaign has so far identified about 300 suspects. It offers up to $10,000 for information leading to the prosecution of war crimes suspects.