Document leak rattles politicians, prosecutors

Document leak rattles politicians, prosecutors

Politicians and analysts have voiced their opinions on the release by political agitator and businessman Zbigniew Stonoga of confidential documents related to the financial tape affair.

Speaker of the Sejm lower parliamentary house, Radosław Sikorski has said that he is against the prosecutor’s investigation into the tapes.
Sikorski, a former foreign minister, was one of the people involved in the affair after he was recording having off-the-record conversations with other officials discussing foreign policy and other Polish politicians.

“The Prosecutor’s Office is hard at work, I hope. The Attorney General will convince us that it can act effectively,” Sikorski said.
“I do not see sufficient data for a parliamentary inquiry. Anyway, I think that such committees should be assembled where there is a suspicion of breaking the law, and not to serve someone’s political interest,” he added.

Prosecutor under fire

On Wednesday, General Prosecutor Andrzej Seremet made a presentation to the Sejm defending the work of the prosecution.
“I strongly oppose this criticism that [the prosecution] is often politically motivated. The prosecutor’s office acts on the basis of the law,” Seremet told a packed house around noon.

He explained that the Prosecutor, in accordance with the law, must provide records to all parties, both the defendant and the accused. The prosecution must also agree to their copying, Seremet added.

Releasing these documents to the legal parties involved, however, “is not tantamount to permitting publication of the content,” Seremet stressed. He had already said on Tuesday that the documents released by Zbigniew Stonoga were authentic.
Stonoga’s Facebook page where the documents were uploaded was pulled down on Wednesday.

Zbigniew Stonoga was taken into custody on Tuesday night when police raided his apartment, but released a few hours later. The prosecutor’s office has ordered 24-hour police surveillance and barred him from leaving the country.
Earlier on Wednesday Prosecutor Seremet unequivocally said that he will not step down following the leak.

Former Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) heavyweight Ryszard Kalisz also criticised the work of the prosecutor’s office.
Kalisz, a former justice minister, said that the most “outrageous” part surrounding this leak was the “political exploitation of the publication of the files.”

“People, come to your senses,” he told Polish Radio, appealing to parliamentarians to keep a cool head.

Reeling off the tape scandal

The leaked documents are related to the investigation into the so-called ‘tape scandal’ which rocked the financial and political spheres in 2014.

The recordings, made by at least two waiters at high-end restaurants in Warsaw, included confidential conversations between top members of government and public servants, including Sikorski and central banker Marek Belka.

Dr Wojciech Jabłoński, a political scientist from the University of Warsaw has said that the affair could strike a fatal blow to the ruling Civic Platform (PO) party, which is already seeing low support in opinion polls.

Jabłoński told the Wprost weekly that the only solution for the party would be for Donald Tusk to resign from his position as President of the European Council and go back to leading the PO party in Poland.

“Civic Platform can do only one thing. Donald Tusk must resign from his superficial function in Brussels for 100 thousand per month and come back. No other action would change anything in the current situation. (rg/jb)

Picture: Polish General Prosecutor Andrzej Seremet. Photo: EPA/Orlando BarrÌa

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