February 5, 2008 / 5:34 PM / 13 years ago

Man returns from the dead, suspected of fraud

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - A Hungarian man who was reported dead by his wife in 2001 has been detained in the Czech Republic and is suspected of fraud, Hungarian police said.

In a case reminiscent of the British canoeist who “returned from the dead” five years after he went missing, the man’s wife said he had drowned while windsurfing on holiday in Greece.

His body was never found and a Hungarian court declared him legally dead in 2003.

The man had taken out several life insurance policies in 2000, worth more than 200 million forints ($1.15 million), and he also bought travel insurance before going to Greece, Hungarian police said in a statement.

Last year, the man was detained by Czech police who handed him over to Hungary. He told Hungarian police that after the “accident” he had swum to shore where a friend gave him clothes and forged documents.

He fled to Crete, Italy and finally to the Czech Republic.

His wife is being questioned by police as an accomplice. She is also suspected of polyandry after she remarried in 2005 even though she knew her husband was still alive, police said.

She had been unable to cash in the insurance policies, they added.

Reporting by Krisztina Than; editing by Robert Woodward

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