|The opposition has put the heat on Mr Tusk over the Amber Gold affair|
Courtesy of KPRM
In an address to Poland’s parliament last week, Prime Minister Donald Tusk criticized prosecutors who had ignored warnings from the Polish Financial Supervision Authority about Amber Gold, a now infamous “parabank,” that had attracted clients with promises of high returns on investments in gold-indexed instruments.
Amber Gold went bankrupt in August, and its president faces seven different charges, including fraud. Poland’s financial authority had issued warnings as early as 2009 on the firm, now thought to have been a Ponzi scheme.
“We need to look into all those [legal] institutions, into all their commissions, and we need to take definitive steps to reprimand all those people who failed at carrying out their job correctly,” Prime Minister Tusk said.
Mr Tusk added that the Prosecutor General’s position needs to be strengthened. “We will equip the Prosecutor General or another institution, maybe a court, with instruments that will be able to effectively discipline prosecutors and force them to behave properly.”
His comments came after Prosecutor General Andrzej Seremet criticized prosecutors in the city of Gdańsk, where Amber Gold was headquartered, who failed to react despite numerous complaints about the company and its business activities.
The affair also took on additional political overtones when it emerged that the prime minister’s son, Michał Tusk, had held a position at OLT Express, a low-cost airline that declared itself insolvent in July and which was backed by Amber Gold.
Amber Gold’s owner, Marcin P. (Polish law forbids the release of the full names of those against whom charges have been brought), was arrested on August 30 and will remain in detention for three months. The arrest followed a request made by the Gdańsk district prosecutor’s office. Marcin P. was charged with defrauding nearly 3,000 customers of at least zł.180 million last week, in addition to the previous list of six charges of financial wrongdoing (including illegally providing banking services) brought against him earlier in August.
According to prosecutors, instead of investing customer’s savings in gold, as Amber Gold claimed it was doing, the company used funds from new clients to pay off previous clients.
You’re just fudging
Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of Poland’s largest opposition party Law and Justice, wasn’t satisfied with Mr Tusk’s take on the matter. He said the prime minister didn’t answer the most important questions regarding Amber Gold and tried to “fudge” the affair, insisting that a special parliamentary commission be established to investigate the matter.
“It is obvious that there should be a parliamentary commission and those who are against will have simply admitted guilt,” said Mr Kaczyński. “Why did the prosecutors, the financial institutions, not do their jobs? Was it an amazing coincidence or maybe something else is behind it?” said Mr Kaczyński.
The ruling coalition, headed by Mr Tusk, has already voted down a proposal for a parliamentary commission investigation.
Meanwhile, Prosecutor General Seremet has admitted that the prosecution made mistakes regarding Amber Gold.
“We are all aware that this should have never happened, we all know today that many people won’t be able to get back what they put into Amber Gold. It is only natural to ask what state authorities can do to prevent this from happening again in the future.”
From Warsaw Business Journal by Remi Adekoya
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