Andrzej J. (last name withheld in accordance with Polish privacy laws), the former president of a number of mining machinery producers, was arrested in his home in Vienna last week. During an interrogation, Mr J., who has dual Austrian and Polish citizenship, revealed that when he was working for Voest-Alpine Technika Górnicza i Tunelowa he spent up to zł.10 million on bribes for executives of mining companies, so that they would have their firms purchase equipment from his company. Voest-Alpine Technika Górnicza i Tunelowa is owned by Swedish engineering group Sandvik.
Andrzej J. struck a deal with Polish prosecutors, whereby in exchange for detailed information on who he bribed and how much, he was granted immunity. As a result of the information he revealed, four executives have been taken into custody so far, daily Gazeta Wyborcza reported. But that might be just the tip of the iceberg, as the newspaper reported that Mr J. revealed the names of 40 people to whom he paid bribes.
The investigation is ongoing. Prosecutors say there are several lines of investigation being followed and that Mr J.’s statements have allowed them to re-open older cases. One of these reportedly includes a deal between Polish miner Kompania Węglowa and Voest-Alpine Technika Górnicza i Tunelowa for servicing mining machinery. The contract, worth zł.10 million, was signed without any tender. The deal was scrutinized four years ago, but the investigation was closed for lack of evidence.
The companies involved in the process refuse to comment on the ongoing investigation.
The case is just the most recent bribery scandal to hit the Polish mining sector. In January, an indictment was brought against several former executives of Kompania Węglowa and another Polish mining firm, Katowicki Holding Węglowy. They are charged with accepting zł.3 million in bribes from Polish firm Emes Mining Service.
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