Page last updated at 14:34 GMT, Saturday, 27 February 2010

Briton freed from Hungary jail vows to clear name

Michael Turner (left) and Jason McGoldrick
Michael Turner (left) and Jason McGoldrick were accused of fraud

A freed British man who was accused of fraud after his Budapest-based marketing business failed has said he intends to clear his name.

Michael Turner and his business partner Jason McGoldrick were held without charge by the Hungarian authorities.

The authorities claimed Mr Turner, 27, from Dorset, and Mr McGoldrick, 37, from Devon, owed creditors £18,000 when their company collapsed in 2005.

Mr Turner told BBC News he wanted to "move forward and work on the case".

It is understood the pair were released from prison on Friday.

Mr Turner flew to Hungary on 2 November last year after being extradited.

Hopefully, we can move on forward now and work on the case

Michael Turner

The men's problems began when their limited marketing firm, which produced profiled candidates for time-share companies, collapsed with debts of £18,000 in 2005.

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

During an interview with BBC Radio Solent, Mr Turner said: "It has been a very hard time, I am very, very angry about [being imprisoned].

"Hopefully, we can move on forward now and work on the case, which has been difficult, being locked up in a room 23 hours ."

The pair, from Corfe and Plymouth, are meeting lawyers to ensure that all matters are cleared before they leave the country.

Mr Turner's father Mark said the men were "ecstatic but confused" to be freed and said that they had not been treated well during their time in prison.

Demonstrations held

"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're pale and malnourished. Michael has lost about three stone (19kg) in weight, things you would expect to see in someone not looked after well.

"But he is strong mentally, I think he has been very focused because he is innocent and determined that he will be able to clear his name."

Jail in Hungary where the men were kept
The men were held in jail in Hungary without charge for almost five months

Mr Turner's family ran a campaign to highlight their case, set up a website called Free Mike and Jason, and accused the British government of "letting the men down".

South Dorset MP Jim Knight told BBC News the men "went willingly to Hungary on the basis of agreed promises about how they would be treated that have not been kept".

Mr Turner, he said, had been kept locked up for 23 hours a day and had to endure "appalling conditions".

Family and supporters held demonstrations outside the House of Commons and the Hungarian embassy in protest at the handling of the case.

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