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A new Iron Curtain placed by Wroclaw prosecuters seperate a mother and daughter.

 

Video:

Why does Poland detain so many people without trial?

One of Poland’s leading entrepeneurs, the Berlin and Swiss based Pole, Marek Kmetko, will launch his new pro-business foundation in Brussels on July 9th with a dramatic appeal from lawyers and other experts to Polish government officials to help rather than hinder the life of businessmen in Poland.

Poland’s perfomance in the EU is outstanding, and many experts, including recently the ‘Economist’ are trying to explore the source of its economic successes. However, the output could be even more impressive should the Polish authorities better support business and entrepreneurs instead of destroying companies because of reckless and irresponsible use of preventive detention of businessmen in a fashion that owes more to communist era or immediate post-communist era political-judicial-media wheeling-dealing than the norms of business law and regulation in modern EU
member states.

Zdzislav (Marek) Kmetko, a businessman from Wroclaw has had bitter memories in respect of dealing with the local prosecutor’s office and tax authorities in the past and is still involved in a legal fight after his business was arbitrarily shut down over accusations which local power-holders in Wroclaw refuse to explain to both his Polish and his German lawyers.

The Wroclaw authorities have tried to get the German police to take action against Mr Kmetko but the German authorities after a thorough investigation found no criminal activities in his operations. Mr Kmetko has offered to cooperate fully with any Polish authorities and make any payments required of him by Polish law. However he has not yet received any response to his offers after more than half year.

Mr Kmetko has now decided to set up a foundation based in Brussels to support and build business links between young Polish entrepeneurs living in other EU member states and businesses in Poland, as well as to improve conditions for businesses in his home country.

‘I am a Polish patriot. I have offered to pay any moneies the Polish authorities believe they can claim from me, but the use of preventive detention to destroy my business is unacceptable. I want to encourage more business activity in Poland and to get Poland fully into line with the norms of the European Union, the European Court of Human Rights and Transparency International,’ he said in a message to be given at the launch in Brussels.

Mr.Andreas Zumschlinge, a lawyer from Berlin and the Warsaw lawyer Mr.Marcin Kondracki will explain at the Kmetko Foundation launch event at the Brussels Press Club (1600h Wednesday 9 July) how the Wroclaw prosecutor Piotr Kalecinskíand other Polish officials are in violation of European norms and why Poland needs to modernise its approach to business administration laws.

14 year old Sandra Natkaniec will appeal for help from newly-elected Polish MEPs to be reunited with her mother, Dagmara. Mrs. Natkaniec was among those detained and imprisoned in November 2013 when the Wroclaw authorities launched a raid on Mr Kmetko’s employment agency operations. The mother is an
employee of Mr Kmetko based in Berlin. She was simply visiting family in Wroclaw when she was arrested because of her connection to Mr Kmetko. She was
held in prison for several months and is now out of jail but cannot return to Berlin to be with her daughter while respecting the guarantees the Wroclaw prosecutor demands.

Dagmara Natkaniec, according to lawyers, was employed outside Poland and has nothing to do with the charges against the local firms, however she is kept back with the only purpose of putting pressure on her boss Mr. Kmetko. 14 year old Sandra was questioned by the prosecutors in the absence of a lawyer. This shows the ugly side of the vendetta against just one businessman but there are many reports and even a feature film in Poland on the extreme behaviour of Poland prosecutor-judicial apparatus against businesses. Sandra will ask for support from Polish and other MEPs to be reunited with her mother as stipulated in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Other speakers at the event include the former UK minister for Europe, Denis MacShane, who wrote the first book in English on the Polish union Solidarity. ‘Poland exports millions of its workers to work elsewhere in Europe. This causes real political and social tensions. Poland should stop using outdated law to attack Polish businesses and discourage genuine free market entrepeneurship which can create jobs for Poles inside Poland.’

Another speaker is Mr John Borrell, author of ‘The White Lake’ a book based on his own experience of fighting with corrupt officials in north east Poland. Borrell, from New Zealand and a former senior foreign correspondent for ‘Time’ set up a business with his Polish wife near Gdansk 20 years ago. He opened a modern resort hotel, started a wine importing business and even created his own brand of vodka. In his hilarious yet disturbing book John Borrell recounts his struggle with local officials, prosecutors, judges, politicians and editors who conspired to try and stop him running a business and creating jobs. Mr Borrell will report on his experiences and why Polish MEPs and MPs have to stop the disastrous damage done to the Polish economy by the anti-business abuse of law by Polish officialdom.

http://eutoday.net/news/kmetko-foundation-launched-in-brussels-to-improve-business-climate-in-poland

www.eutoday.net

 

 

 

 

 

The Kmetko Foundation invites you to the launch of their campaign to build a more competitive business environment in Europe

 

The launch meeting will be held

9 July 2014 

16.00 hours to 17.30 hours

 

Press Club Brussels Europe

95 rue Froissart, B-1040 Brussels,

 

and will be followed by a networking reception.

 

Our first priority for reform is to bring the application of European law in all member states into line with the standards demanded by the

European Charter of Fundamental Rights.

For Poland, this means administrative reform in respect of the judiciary,

the courts and the state prosecutors' offices, so that commercial cases are heard within a reasonable period of time, and that any pre-trial detentions

are not only kept to a minimum, but also applied fairly in order to respect

EU citizens' rights.

 

Speaking at the meeting will be :

  • Denis Macshane, former UK Minister for Europe
  • John Borrell, author of "The White Lake"
  • Sandra Natkaniec
  • Andreas Zumschlinge, Attorney at Law, Berlin
  • Marcin KondrackiAttorney at Law, Warsaw

The discussion will be moderated by James Wilson, the Founding Director of the International Foundation for Better Governance

 

The meeting will be followed by a networking reception, and

Mr Borrell will sign copies of his book "The White Lake”.

 

Space is limited and prior registrationon: http://www.planetreg.com/kmetko is essential

 

http://www.kmetkofoundation.org/event/content.html

by Martin Banks
The newly elected European Parliament will be asked to examine alleged abuse ofpreventive detention measures by
“politically motivated” Polish tax police andjudicial authorities.
A former UK Europe minister says the practice does “serious damage” to Polish businesses and the country‘s international
image.
The move follows the backlash against European Union immigrant workers which has seen the rise of populist nationalist
political parties in Europe.
Parties such as the Front National in France and UKIP in the UK topped the polls as they campaigned against influxes of
immigrants.
These include Polish workers who,it is claimed, are unable to find work in Poland because of the “anti-business hostility" of
local bureaucracies said to have with links to tax police, judicial prosecutors, local media and politicians. This secretive
network is known as Uklad in Polish.
The use of preventive detentions to arrest and imprison people without charge has already been condemned by
Transparency international and the Council of Europe.
Now MEPs, including new Polish deputies, will be asked to examine the problem and make recommendations to the
European Commission for advice and if necessary action against Warsaw so that Polish businesses can operate normally
“without fear of politically motivated raids and arrests that stifle entrepreneurship in Poland.”
The issue will be the subject of a conference at the Brussels Press Club on 9 July.
Letters will also be sent to Polish, German and UK MEPs and the media in Poland.
The allegations have come to the fore following the case of Marek Kmetko (pictured), a Polish-born businessman.
The Polish tax police opened an investigation into Kmetko, accusing his wife of money laundering, a move he says was “just a
political attack against me”.
In September 2010, the Wroclaw Prosecutor's Office asked the German police to investigate the Kmetkos and their schoolgirl
daughter for alleged money laundering.
The German police did as requested and ordered searches of all the Kmetko accounts and paper held at his head office in
Berlin. But they found nothing and wrote saying the case had been discontinued. The Wroclaw State Prosecutor also
dropped the case.
But the prosecution authorities in Wroclaw kept going.
Kmetko’s businesses were raised and one of the women they arrested late in 2013 was Dagmara Natkaniec. She lives in
Berlin with her 14-year-old daughter, Sandra, who attends a local German school. She works for Kmetko but has no executive
responsibility or knowledge of his operations in Poland.
Kmetko said: “Nonetheless she was detained and her daughter has been without a mother for several months. She is willing
to post bail and report to the relevant police authorities and return to her duties as a mother but the Wroclaw Prosecutor
refuses this humanitarian gesture.”
Polish justice ministry figures show that between 2001 and 2007 about 90 per cent of the public prosecutor's applications for
pretrial detention were allowed by the courts.
According to law firm Clifford Chance prosecutors and courts impose pretrial detention automatically "without providing
adequate justification".
Organizations such as the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe and Transparency International have said in the past that the
Polish tax police system acts “beyond the rules” of normal European Union law and order.
The European Court of Human Rights has also criticised Poland for imposing excessive lengths of pretrial detention and

failing to provide adequate reasons why this is deemed necessary.
This echoes concerns raised by the CoE in a 2007 resolution encouraging Poland to take steps to deal with “systematic
problem concerning the excessive length of detention on remand”.
A Tl source said: “Businessmen can be held in preventive detention for months at a time without any charges laid so that their
businesses are utterly destroyed while the executives are rotting in prison. The object is very clear to force money out of
businesses whether legally or not and to ensure that the tax police get their own private cut.”
The tax authorities in Poland have also been accused of taking a cut of 8 to 10% of any money it obtains from those found
guilty of not paying their taxes.
The two cases involving Sandra Natkaniec and Kmetko has been taken up by Denis MacShane, a former Europe minister in
the UK, who said: "This is an unfinished story and the newly elected European Parliament will be asked to look into the
Kmetko case."
“One thing is certain, that having survived the pressure of communist bureaucracy and then some of the more corrupt and
disreputable political-bureaucratic practices that were on display in Poland in the first period after the end of communism in
the 1990s Kmetko is determined not to give in.”
MacShane added: “There is a wider interest at stake. The whole of the rest of Europe needs to see Poland’s economy flourish
and grow. Millions of Poles had to seek work in western European countries and their arrival en masse because the business
atmosphere in their own country is so hostile to dynamic entrepreneurs has provoked great tension and resentment in other
EU member states whose citizens object to so many foreigners arriving and flooding the labour market with cheaper workers.
“This has given rise to what the German finance minister calls “fascism" in France and to a new xenophobic and
anti-European political movement in Britain that may yet succeed in organizing a referendum which will take the UK out of the
EU.
“The Polish authorities need to ensure that Poland stops being seen as the enemy of its entrepreneurs."

 

http //www euiepoitei co/world/2014/06/13/new-euiopean-parliame

Newly-elected MEPs urged to investigate plight of Polish tax police ‘victims ‘
Polish justice ministry figures show that between 2001 and 2007 about 90 per cent of the public
prosecutors applications for pre trial detention were allowed by the courts.
 Monday, June 16, 2014


The Polish authorities need to ensure that Poland stops being seen as the enemy of its entrepreneurs
MORE ON EUROPE Regions and business vouch for an effective economic subsidiarity Moldova "not yet ready" for European Union integration
Top expert says Ukraine crisis leaves EU neighborhood policy in "tatters" Europe still "suffering from the aftershocks" of the
break-up of the Soviet Union Senior MEP says EU-China relations are at a "critical" stage by Martin Banks


The newly elected European Parliament will be asked to examine alleged abuse of preventive detention measures by "politically motivated"
Polish tax police and judicial authorities. A former UK Europe Minister says the practice does "serious damage" to Polish businesses and the country‘s international image.
The move follows the backlash against European Union immigrant workers which has seen the rise of populist nationalist political parties in Europe.
Parties like the Front National in France and the United Kingdom Independence Party in the UK topped the polls as they campaigned against influxes of immigrants.
These include Polish workers who,it is claimed, are unable to find work in Poland because of the "anti-business hostility" of local bureaucracies said to have with links to tax
police, judicial prosecutors, local media and politicians. This "secretive" network is known as Uklad in Polish.
The use of preventive detentions to arrest and imprison people without charge has already been condemned by Transparency International and the
Council of Europe.


Now MEPs, including new Polish deputies, will be asked to examine the problem and make recommendations to the European Commission for advice and if necessary action against Warsaw so
that Polish businesses can operate normally "without fear of politically motivated raids and arrests that stifle entrepreneurship in Poland."
The issue will be the subject of a conference at Brussels Press Club on 9 July. Letters will also be sent to Polish, German and UK MEPs and the media in Poland.
The allegations have come to the fore following the case of Marek Kmetko, a Polish-born businessman.
The Polish tax police opened an investigation into Mr Kmetko, accusing his wife of money laundering, a move he says was "just a political attack against me.
ln September 2010, the Wroclaw Prosecutor's Office asked the German police to investigate the Kmetko's and their schoolgirl daughter for alleged money laundering.
The German police did as requested and ordered searches of all the Kmetko accounts and paper held at his head office in Berlin. But they found nothing and

The Wroclaw State Prosecutor also dropped the case. But the prosecution authorities in Wroclaw kept going. wrote saying the case had been discontinued.
Mr Kmetko‘s businesses were raised and one of the women they arrested late in 2013 was Dagmara Natkaniec. She lives in Berlin with her 14-year-old daughter,

Sandra, who attends a local German school. She works for Mr Kmetko but has no executive responsibility or knowledge of l"u's operations in Poland.
Mr Kmetko said, "Nonetheless she was detained and her daughter has been without a mother for several months.

She is willing to post bail and report to the relevant police authorities and return to her
duties as a mother but the Wroclaw Prosecutor refuses this humanitarian gesture."
Polishjustice ministry figures show that between 2001 and 2007 about 90 per cent of the public
prosecutor's applications for pretrial detention were allowed by the courts.
According to law firm Clifford Chance prosecutors and courts impose pretrial detention automatically,
"without providing adequate justification."
Organisations such as the Strasbourg-based Council of Europe and Transparency International have
said in the past that the Polish tax police system acts "beyond the rules" of normal European Union law
and order.
The European Court of Human Rights has also criticised Poland for imposing excessive lengths of pre
trial detention and failing to provide adequate reasons why this is deemed necessary.
This echoes concerns raised by the CoE in a 2007 resolution encouraging Poland to take steps to deal
with "systematic problem concerning the excessive length of detention on remand."
A Tl source said, "Businessmen can be held in preventive detention for months at a time without any
charges laid so that their businesses are utterly destroyed while the executives are rotting in prison.
The object is veiy clear to force money out of businesses whether legally or not and to ensure that the
tax police get their own private cut."
The tax authorities in Poland have also been accused of taking a cut of 8 to 10% of any money it
obtains from those found guilty of not paying their taxes.
The two cases involving Sandra Natkaniec and Mr Kmetko has been taken up by Denis MacShane, a
former Europe Minister in the UK, who said, "This is an unfinished story and the newly elected
European Parliament will be asked to look into the Kmetko case."
"One thing is certain, that having survived the pressure of communist bureaucracy and then some of
the more corrupt and disreputable political-bureaucratic practices that were on display in Poland in the
first period after the end of communism in the 19905 Mr Kmetko is determined not to give in."
Mr MacShane added, "There is a wider interest at stake. The whole of the rest of Europe needs to
see Poland's economy flourish and grow. Millions of Poles had to seek work in western European
countries and their arrival en masse because the business atmosphere in their own country is so
hostile to dynamic entrepreneurs has provoked great tension and resentment in other EU member
states whose citizens object to so many foreigners arriving and flooding the labour market with
cheaper workers.
"This has given rise to what the German Finance Minister calls “fascism” in France and to a new
xenophobic and anti-European political movement in Britain that may yet succeed in organising a
referendum which will take the UK out of the EU.
"The Polish authorities need to ensure that Poland stops being seen as the enemy of its
entrepreneurs."

 

 

Thursday, 08 May 2014 11:00

Video from 1993

1) Please let me be with my  mummy again . . .


 

KERAM takes delivery of new fleet of trucks from MAN in Munich

Zdzislaw Kmetko was celebrated in March 1993 as a successful businessman who purchased and brought to Poland a new transport fleet for his road haulage business, KERAM. This film was shot by the private TV company Zwoltex.

 

 

One year later, the business was raided by the Polish police, and the assets of KERAM were seized by the Polish State.

What a difference one year makes in business

It is April 1994.
Keram is raided by the Polish police who arrive at the haulage depot without any search warrant or any documents and proceed to seize the vehicles owned by the company.
The owners Zdzislaw and Halina Kmetko are seen calling for the police to show their warrants and justifying their actions. The workers try to stop the heavily armed police, who are surprised to find the private TV film company Echo TV of Wroclaw filming the entire incident.


After this police raid, KERAM was closed down, and the 400 drivers working for the company lost their jobs. One worker was shot by the police. The Wroclaw TV Studio involved in filming was also forced into closure by the authorities with a loss of 300 jobs, and the owner survived an assault by unknown attackers.

Within weeks after the closure of his company KERAM, Zdzislaw Kmetko was imprisoned by the state, without any charges brought against him. Another Director of KERAM, Polish Member of the Seym, Henrik Michailak was found murdered by unknown assailants.

 

Thursday, 08 May 2014 10:31

The Story

Once upon a time there was a young Pole. Let’s call him Marek. He was born under Communism. A good Catholic and keen on sports. He came of age during one of the most curious decades  - the 1980s – in Poland’s history.

The decade began with Poland a loyal member of the Soviet empire. Apart from a few brave individuals like Lech Walesa and Adam Michnik, most Poles had to find jobs with communist controlled institutions from local municipalities, the education system, or the police. He learnt Russian at school and angry with the corrupt political system he saw close up, he tried to start some business activity – within the limits permitted by the communist bureaucracy.

By the decade’s end Poland has organized the first democratic elections ever in the communist world. The Chinese are still waiting. A good man, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, became Prime Minister. Before Hungary opened its borders to allow East German tourists to cross into the West and before the Berlin Wall fell, Poland had escaped from communist dictatorship to the brave new world of democracy and a market economy.

But for our hero, the new world was not so welcoming to his desire to be an entrepreneur and a Polish businessmen bringing investment into Poland and creating jobs for Polish workers.

Prime Minister Mazowiecki was driven out of politics by a small clique of people linked to the charismatic Lech Walesa who became president of Poland in 1990 and unleashed a politico-economic-social dynamic which had many dark sides as well as helping to consolidate Poland’s future as a European Union democracy.

Marek was in his 30s and decided to take at face value the claims from President Walesa that Poland would join the rest of the rule-of-law democracies where politics and business were kept in separate categories.

He decided to go into the trucking business – the most important thing a market economy needs is transport systems to get goods to market – and imported 300 top-of-the-range lorries from Germany to operate them in Poland through his German company.

Polish TV News showed a proud Marek in Munich as he waited with Polish drivers to take the new MAN trucks back to Poland and help the Polish economy grow.

But he reckoned without the old style networks of communist control that still ran large sections of Polish bureaucracy, tax police and city councils.

They were corrupt under communism and were no less corrupt under capitalism. They wanted their cut and when they didn’t get under-the-table zlotys they had the tools – a compliant police force, legal officials who could find pretexts in the old communist penal code to take action, and a media that swapped communist conformity for sensationalist personalized attacks on anyone the new power-holders did not like.

Marek found his lorries taken from him by police without a warrant. A member of the Sejm (Poland’s Parliament) who championed his cause was found murdered shortly after he protested on Marek’s behalf.

A television journalist shot dramatic footage of the brutal raid on Marek’s business, including scenes of his brave wife trying to get an explanation from the police officer who looked with contempt on her and other workers with the same disdain on his face as he showed a few years earlier when beating up Polish Solidarity activists. A few months after shooting the film, the Italian owner of the independent TV channel was forced to leave Poland.

So Marek was now confronting the full forces of the early post-communist but pre-democratic Poland.  The message was clear. You can do business on our terms and if you pay off the right people.

For a new businessman, alone without a structure of  laws and business support in mature market economies, it was a frightening time.

But Marek was determined to create jobs for Polish workers and help grow Polish firms.

Two decades later, by now operating from Germany where he felt the legal system in place was a better guarantee of business security than the more volatile Poland where despite the efforts of successive Finance Ministers, the tax police operated as  a state within a state, as the tax police executives always took a substantial share of any reclaimed moneys, Marek was employing 7,000 Polish workers and providing employees for more than 140 Polish firms.

It was win-win economics. His employment agency helped Polish start-up businesses with a tailored supply of labour and 7,000 Poles who otherwise might have been without work were in paid employment.

A word of caution at this stage in our narrative.  Marek is a self-made businessman who keeps tight personal control over all aspects of his activity.

He has suffered at the hands of politicians and other ‘black forces’ in Poland including threats of imprisonment and actual imprisonment.

He re-located to Berlin and now to Switzerland out of fear for his personal security and that of his wife and daughter.

This was not idle paranoia. He has seen those he worked with disappear and has been confronted with break-ins and interference with this communications even in Germany.

The Polish authorities accused him of money-laundering and it is often the case that a firm whose head office is in one country does have to move cash across currency borders.

But a lengthy investigation by the Berlin police and relevant authorities cleared Marek.

He has also been involved in a long-running legal dispute with the Polish state which he believes – with evidence and a sense of injustice on his side – took advantage of the chaotic and corrupt relations between former communist officials, criminal elements and politicians just anxious to get money to run party political campaigns after 1990.

Edward Lucas, is a distinguished British author journalist, currently the International Editor of The Economist. He says the worst mistake journalists like him who covered the end of communism made was not to investigate and expose the continuing role of communist era money and officials after 1990.

“The worst mistake was that we journalists were so busy celebrating the fall of communism in 1989 we did not ask hard questions about what was happening to the money and the people from the old regime. Where did the billions of dollars in the Communist Party money and secret-police slush funds disappear to in all the confusion. Who kept control of them? And to what purpose were they put?

“It was a hard story to write. Some of the people who knew the answers committed suicide in rather implausible ways… I wish  had followed the remarkable business careers of underworld figures with links to the city administration.” (European Voice  21 November 2013)

It was in that in this world of linkages between communist money, communist-turned-capitalist officials, hidden violence and a lack of transparent rule-of-law judiciary systems with a clear separation between politicians and private business that Marek tried to make his way.

What is surprising is that the system has failed so far to destroy him.

They have taken advantage of the fact that Marek has provisionally held on to some social security money that is owed to the Polish authorities for the 7,000 men and women he employs as a signal that he wants the Warsaw government to examine seriously the complaints he has against Polish officialdom in past years.

A state even with dubious elements operating within it cannot be dictated to by a single individual. But instead of opening a dialogue with Marek, the Polish authorities used the kind of brute force that General Jaruzelski deployed to crush Polish Soldarity.

Armed police, disguised and unidentifiable, raided Marek’s business premises and effectively shut down operations early in November 2013. Elderly people were dragged from their beds to be interrogated about their sons and daughters.

A  lady who worked for Marek in Switzerland and was visiting her family in Wroclaw was arrested and is still in detention, together with a few other managers, mostly women.

There was a time when the reputation of Poles was to be the most polite Europeans when it came to ladies. Not any longer as women have been targeted by authorities in Poland who are still seeking a state of permanent confrontation with Marek.

But the new Polish nomenklatura know they are on thin ground. They cannot issue an arrest warrant for Marek as their actions would be illegal in most EU states and in other European Economic Area countries like Switzerland.

Instead they prefer to see 7,000 Poles without income and elderly Polish ladies taken and kept in prison as some kind of hostage.

Marek is no saint. He is an aggressive corner-cutting buccaneer of a businessman searching for business opportunities where he can find them. If he can avoid paying money to the state he does so – what business does not?

But he operates within the law. As owner of a legitimate properly registered tax-paying company in Berlin and a resident of Switzerland and owner of companies listed on the official Swiss business register he cannot afford to take any risks with his legal status.

He remains proudly Polish, a patriot who speaks no other language than that of Mickiewicz, Milosz and Pope John Paul II.  But someone, somewhere in the deep Polish state has decided he is an enemy of the ruling political elites. They tried to eliminate him using police raids and judicial measures in the 1990s. Now they are trying to destroy him with slander and innuendo carefully fed to the media.

Marek does not care about lies printed in the press. He cares only for the 7,000 people he employs. He could retire tomorrow and live abroad on saving and investment income.

But Poland is his country and he wants both justice and the chance to keep creating prosperity for Poles in Poland and to support the millions of Poles who now live and work outside of Poland, especially in other European countries.Once upon a time there was a young Pole. Let’s call him Marek. He was born under Communism. A good Catholic and keen on sports. He came of age during one of the most curious decades  - the 1980s – in Poland’s history.

The decade began with Poland a loyal member of the Soviet empire. Apart from a few brave individuals like Lech Walesa and Adam Michnik, most Poles had to find jobs with communist controlled institutions from local municipalities, the education system, or the police. He learnt Russian at school and angry with the corrupt political system he saw close up, he tried to start some business activity – within the limits permitted by the communist bureaucracy.

By the decade’s end Poland has organized the first democratic elections ever in the communist world. The Chinese are still waiting. A good man, Tadeusz Mazowiecki, became Prime Minister. Before Hungary opened its borders to allow East German tourists to cross into the West and before the Berlin Wall fell, Poland had escaped from communist dictatorship to the brave new world of democracy and a market economy.

But for our hero, the new world was not so welcoming to his desire to be an entrepreneur and a Polish businessmen bringing investment into Poland and creating jobs for Polish workers.

Prime Minister Mazowiecki was driven out of politics by a small clique of people linked to the charismatic Lech Walesa who became president of Poland in 1990 and unleashed a politico-economic-social dynamic which had many dark sides as well as helping to consolidate Poland’s future as a European Union democracy.

Marek was in his 30s and decided to take at face value the claims from President Walesa that Poland would join the rest of the rule-of-law democracies where politics and business were kept in separate categories.

He decided to go into the trucking business – the most important thing a market economy needs is transport systems to get goods to market – and imported 300 top-of-the-range lorries from Germany to operate them in Poland through his German company.

Polish TV News showed a proud Marek in Munich as he waited with Polish drivers to take the new MAN trucks back to Poland and help the Polish economy grow.

But he reckoned without the old style networks of communist control that still ran large sections of Polish bureaucracy, tax police and city councils.

They were corrupt under communism and were no less corrupt under capitalism. They wanted their cut and when they didn’t get under-the-table zlotys they had the tools – a compliant police force, legal officials who could find pretexts in the old communist penal code to take action, and a media that swapped communist conformity for sensationalist personalized attacks on anyone the new power-holders did not like.

Marek found his lorries taken from him by police without a warrant. A member of the Sejm (Poland’s Parliament) who championed his cause was found murdered shortly after he protested on Marek’s behalf.

A television journalist shot dramatic footage of the brutal raid on Marek’s business, including scenes of his brave wife trying to get an explanation from the police officer who looked with contempt on her and other workers with the same disdain on his face as he showed a few years earlier when beating up Polish Solidarity activists. A few months after shooting the film, the Italian owner of the independent TV channel was forced to leave Poland.

So Marek was now confronting the full forces of the early post-communist but pre-democratic Poland.  The message was clear. You can do business on our terms and if you pay off the right people.

For a new businessman, alone without a structure of  laws and business support in mature market economies, it was a frightening time.

But Marek was determined to create jobs for Polish workers and help grow Polish firms.

Two decades later, by now operating from Germany where he felt the legal system in place was a better guarantee of business security than the more volatile Poland where despite the efforts of successive Finance Ministers, the tax police operated as  a state within a state, as the tax police executives always took a substantial share of any reclaimed moneys, Marek was employing 7,000 Polish workers and providing employees for more than 140 Polish firms.

It was win-win economics. His employment agency helped Polish start-up businesses with a tailored supply of labour and 7,000 Poles who otherwise might have been without work were in paid employment.

A word of caution at this stage in our narrative.  Marek is a self-made businessman who keeps tight personal control over all aspects of his activity.

He has suffered at the hands of politicians and other ‘black forces’ in Poland including threats of imprisonment and actual imprisonment.

He re-located to Berlin and now to Switzerland out of fear for his personal security and that of his wife and daughter.

This was not idle paranoia. He has seen those he worked with disappear and has been confronted with break-ins and interference with this communications even in Germany.

The Polish authorities accused him of money-laundering and it is often the case that a firm whose head office is in one country does have to move cash across currency borders.

But a lengthy investigation by the Berlin police and relevant authorities cleared Marek.

He has also been involved in a long-running legal dispute with the Polish state which he believes – with evidence and a sense of injustice on his side – took advantage of the chaotic and corrupt relations between former communist officials, criminal elements and politicians just anxious to get money to run party political campaigns after 1990.

Edward Lucas, is a distinguished British author journalist, currently the International Editor of The Economist. He says the worst mistake journalists like him who covered the end of communism made was not to investigate and expose the continuing role of communist era money and officials after 1990.

“The worst mistake was that we journalists were so busy celebrating the fall of communism in 1989 we did not ask hard questions about what was happening to the money and the people from the old regime. Where did the billions of dollars in the Communist Party money and secret-police slush funds disappear to in all the confusion. Who kept control of them? And to what purpose were they put?

“It was a hard story to write. Some of the people who knew the answers committed suicide in rather implausible ways… I wish  had followed the remarkable business careers of underworld figures with links to the city administration.” (European Voice  21 November 2013)

It was in that in this world of linkages between communist money, communist-turned-capitalist officials, hidden violence and a lack of transparent rule-of-law judiciary systems with a clear separation between politicians and private business that Marek tried to make his way.

What is surprising is that the system has failed so far to destroy him.

They have taken advantage of the fact that Marek has provisionally held on to some social security money that is owed to the Polish authorities for the 7,000 men and women he employs as a signal that he wants the Warsaw government to examine seriously the complaints he has against Polish officialdom in past years.

A state even with dubious elements operating within it cannot be dictated to by a single individual. But instead of opening a dialogue with Marek, the Polish authorities used the kind of brute force that General Jaruzelski deployed to crush Polish Soldarity.

Armed police, disguised and unidentifiable, raided Marek’s business premises and effectively shut down operations early in November 2013. Elderly people were dragged from their beds to be interrogated about their sons and daughters.

A  lady who worked for Marek in Switzerland and was visiting her family in Wroclaw was arrested and is still in detention, together with a few other managers, mostly women.

There was a time when the reputation of Poles was to be the most polite Europeans when it came to ladies. Not any longer as women have been targeted by authorities in Poland who are still seeking a state of permanent confrontation with Marek.

But the new Polish nomenklatura know they are on thin ground. They cannot issue an arrest warrant for Marek as their actions would be illegal in most EU states and in other European Economic Area countries like Switzerland.

Instead they prefer to see 7,000 Poles without income and elderly Polish ladies taken and kept in prison as some kind of hostage.

Marek is no saint. He is an aggressive corner-cutting buccaneer of a businessman searching for business opportunities where he can find them. If he can avoid paying money to the state he does so – what business does not?

But he operates within the law. As owner of a legitimate properly registered tax-paying company in Berlin and a resident of Switzerland and owner of companies listed on the official Swiss business register he cannot afford to take any risks with his legal status.

He remains proudly Polish, a patriot who speaks no other language than that of Mickiewicz, Milosz and Pope John Paul II.  But someone, somewhere in the deep Polish state has decided he is an enemy of the ruling political elites. They tried to eliminate him using police raids and judicial measures in the 1990s. Now they are trying to destroy him with slander and innuendo carefully fed to the media.

Marek does not care about lies printed in the press. He cares only for the 7,000 people he employs. He could retire tomorrow and live abroad on saving and investment income.

But Poland is his country and he wants both justice and the chance to keep creating prosperity for Poles in Poland and to support the millions of Poles who now live and work outside of Poland, especially in other European countries.

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