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Hungarian University to Probe Presidential Plagiarism Allegation

Jan. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Hungary’s Semmelweis University will set up a committee to investigate allegations that Pal Schmitt, the nation’s President, plagiarized his doctoral dissertation in 1992.

The fact-finding committee will review the “circumstances under which Pal Schmitt’s doctoral dissertation came into being,” the university said in a statement on its website.

Local news website Hvg said Jan. 11 that Schmitt may have copied word for word about 180 pages from the work of Bulgarian sports researcher Nikolay Gueorguiev in his thesis. Schmitt’s dissertation doesn’t contain footnotes, making it impossible to judge whether the author cited from Gueorguiev’s book, whose title Schmitt mentioned in the bibliography in its Hungarian translation, the news website said, adding that the book hasn’t been translated to Hungarian.

The President denied the accusation in a radio interview today, saying he used a total of 21 sources in his work. “I wrote that thesis using the best of my knowledge,” Schmitt told public radio MR1-Kossuth.

Schmitt, who has been a known sports administration official since communist times and who served on the International Olympic Committee, was elected president last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Edith Balazs in Budapest at ebalazs1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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