Polish Justice Minister Jarosław Gowin has requested an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the recently released recorded telephone conversation between Ryszard Milewski, the head judge of the District Court in Gdańsk, and a journalist posing as an official of the Prime Minister's Chancellery.
In the recorded conversation, the journalist tells the judge that the PM's office is interested in the Amber Gold case, which is being heard by the Gdańsk District Court, and that the head of the Prime Minister's Chancellery, Tomasz Arabski, would like to meet him so that they can “arrange when the next court hearing regarding Amber Gold should be held.”
The Amber Gold case in question concerns a parabank of that name which attracted clients with promises of high returns on investments in gold-indexed instruments, but which has now gone bust. It has been described as “a typical pyramid scheme” by Polish officials. Its owner, Marcin P. has now been arrested and charged with cheating thousands of people out of over zł.180 million. At one point, the prime minister's son, Michał Tusk, worked for a firm controlled by Amber Gold.
In the recorded conversation, the journalist also told the judge that the PM would want to meet Mr Milewski but wouldn't want the meeting to coincide with the next hearing of the Amber Gold case and therefore be perceived as “amounting to pressure.”
In response, the judge offered several dates when he could order the hearing. “That's no problem,” he replied after asking whether the PM's office wanted him to “speed up the case or not.”
The journalist then asked him whether the judges he had assigned to the case are “trusted” by the judge. “The case is important, you understand,” the undercover journalist said, to which the judge replied, “don't you worry about that.”
“There are a lot of things I would like to present to the prime minister,” continued the judge.
The justice minister said the judge's words were “scandalous.”
“In independent courts, we shouldn't have people who are ready to accept political dispensations,” said Mr Gowin.
“This is mind-boggling. A man who is in a high position in the justice system is at the beck and call of somebody who says he is the assistant of Minister Arabksi. Is that the conversation of somebody who feels like a servant,” asked Andrzej Duda, opposition party Law and Justice (PiS) MP.
PiS now says there needs to be a parliamentary commission set up to investigate the Amber Gold affair, since it suspects the ruling party has something to hide.
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