Donald Tusk, the head of Poland’s largest opposition party, called on the country’s ruling party on Tuesday to fully clarify the facts surrounding an eight-year affair involving illegal registrations of prominent politicians and coal imports from Russia. .
Tusk said it has long been clear that Russia is involved in the affair, but that a parliamentary investigative commission is needed to determine the extent of Russian interference and to what extent Poles cooperate with Russian intelligence services.
The wiretapping and posting of private conversations from leaders in politics and business created a scandal in 2014 that damaged the position of Tusk’s pro-European party, Civic Platform, and helped the ruling populist party Law and Justice to seize power the following year.
Tusk said at a press conference in Warsaw that the affair cast a shadow over the current right-wing government due to the impression that it came to power with the help of Russian interference.
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Addressing the ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Tusk said: “Mr. Kaczynski, it is in the interest of Poland, of public opinion, but also in the interest of you and your party, that this disturbing ambiguity, this disturbing shadow looms. its governments must not remain “.
“I call for the establishment of a parliamentary investigative commission so that no one in Poland can speculate that the power of law and justice has actually been installed by the Russian intelligence,” Tusk said. “Today these assumptions are valid.”
A Polish businessman, Marek Falenta, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for organizing illegal registration in Warsaw restaurants, while two waiters were also sentenced.
At the time of the registrations, Falenta owed millions of dollars for coal to a Russian coal company linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. His business interests have been harmed by the plans of the government led by the Civic Platform to block Russian coal imports.
The matter returned to public debate this week after Polish Newsweek released a report citing testimony given by a witness to Gdansk prosecutors in 2021. The witness, a former Falenta business partner identified only as Marcin W., claimed in the testimony cited by Newsweek that the illegal recordings had been sold to Russian intelligence agents before being published in Polish magazines starting in 2014.
After Law and Justice took power, Poland increased its imports of Russian coal, though it blocked them this year in reaction to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The investigative reporter who wrote the article, Grzegorz Rzeczkowski, said prosecutors in Poland were investigating the financial and commercial aspects of the case, but were “completely ignoring the spying thread.”
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Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro on Monday denied that claim.
He also said that if Russian intelligence services played a role in the recordings, it was ultimately a compromise for Tusk, who ruled Poland as prime minister from 2007 to 2014, because it shows that the Polish security services “were like that. weak that the Russians could act freely here. “
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki accused Tusk of creating “completely false scenarios” to improve his reputation.
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Tusk said at the Warsaw press conference that Poland had become too dependent on Russian coal imports in the early years of the rule of law and justice, a matter of consequence now that Poland faces a coal shortage in the midst of an energy crisis. wider.