The European Union is being urged to intervene in a case that some say is reminiscent of the ‘black forces’ of Communism.

Marek Kmetko (pictured), a Polish-born, self-made businessman, says he has effectively become stateless as a result of a long-running “campaign” against him by the Polish authorities.

His case has now started to set alarm bells ringing at the heart of the EU with the European Parliament currently considering a petition about his case.

Denis MacShane, a former Europe minister in the UK, has thrown his weight behind efforts to clear Kmetko’s name and get full compensation for the way legal systems have allegedly been used to “destroy” his business to “benefit competitors loyal to ruling political elites.”

MacShane said: “Mr Kmetko 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. Now they are trying to destroy him with slander and innuendo.”

The complex case dates back to the 1990s when Kmetko set up a haulage business only to see his 300 top-of-the-range lorries taken from him a short time later by police without a warrant.

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, Kmetko employed 7,000 Polish workers and provided workers for more than 140 Polish firms.

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.

But history repeated itself when armed police, disguised and unidentifiable, once again raided his business premises and effectively shut down operations early in November 2013.Elderly people were allegedly dragged from their beds to be interrogated about their sons and daughters.

The European Court has in the past criticised Poland´s practice of pre-trial detention.

The Polish authorities originally accused Kmetko of money-laundering but a lengthy investigation by the Berlin police and relevant authorities cleared him.

He remains involved in a long-running legal dispute with the Polish state which he believes took advantage of “chaotic and corrupt” relations between former communist officials, criminal elements and politicians anxious to get money to run party political campaigns after 1990.

With his business and reputation facing possible ruin, he has now appealed to the EU to intervene and has launched a €10 billion lawsuit against the Polish authorities.

His lawyers allege that Polish prosecutors failed to supply any legal warrants for the seizure of property owned by his firm, for the freezing of company bank accounts or seizure of company offices in Wroclaw following the November raids by the Prosecutor’s office.

His legal team have set a deadline for the authorities to provide full documentation justifying the actions by 16 April and to return to the company all corporate property and assets held by his office by that date.

Meanwhile, after more than five months, six employees of his company are still held on pre-trial bail without any formal charges having yet been filed.

One Polish centre-right MEP said: “After the Polish Foreign Minister assisted his French and German colleagues to topple the Ukrainian dictator it is time to solve an internal problem: the KGB-ish Polish tax police.

“The problem is that the country’s tax officials can detain without charge any business executive they do not like. Nor are they obliged to present to courts within a reasonable delay clear evidence or proof to justify their arrests.”

He added: “What is worse are the reports that tax police are allowed to keep some proceeds from any interventions they make, which gives them an incentive to suspend businesses from operating until moneys are paid over.”

The deputy further said he had raised his concerns “at the highest levels” of the EU, adding: “It is always difficult to criticize police raids. Polish politicians can easily face accusations, justified or false, of dubious relationships with the business world; for this reason they are reluctant to criticize or investigate the tax police.

“Any politicians who dare to raise the issue can find themselves smeared in the different media outlets in Poland as the Polish police operation still retains many of the arts of the pre-1989 era of black propaganda, disinformation, blackmailing and the threat of media exposure.”

 

http://www.eureporter.co/magazine/2014/04/10/eu-urged-to-intervene-to-protect-self-made-polish-businessman/

 

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"Brussels" has expressed growing concern at the "unaccountable" operations of the tax police in Poland.

Business journalists and business lawyers in Warsaw are aware of the behaviour of the Polish tax police which dates back to communist era operations. But the high state authorities admit privately that they are powerless to reform the way some prosecuting officials work.

After the Polish Foreign Minister assisted his French and German colleagues to topple the Ukrainian dictator it is may be time to solve an internal problem: the KGBish Polish tax police. It is said the country´s tax officials can detain without charge any business executive they do not like. Nor are they obliged to present to courts within a reasonable delay clear evidence or proof to justify their arrests.

 

One Polish centre-right MEP said, "What is worse are the reports that tax police are allowed to keep some proceeds from any interventions they make, which gives them an incentive to suspend businesses from operating until moneys are paid over." His comments come after it emerged that in 2011, Poland secured $18.9 billion of foreign direct investment according to the OECD. 

 

This was a remarkable achievement during the period when most EU economies were still reeling as a result of the 2008 world banking crisis and the slow down in credit and investment. The 2011 figure was an increase of $5 billion on the previous year and showed that the Polish Government with its Anglo-Polish Finance Minister Jacek Rostowski, represented one of the countries foreign businessmen were confident to invest and do business in.

 

But the latest FDI figures published by the OECD and the UN Trade Organisation show a dramatic slump to just $3.4 billion.

 

The respected Heritage Foundation 2014 report, which scores countries' performance across a range of economic measurements, also shows that Poland has a poor score for business corruption.

 

Mr Marek Kmetko, a Polish-born businessman who now lives in Switzerland, said, "Compared to a similar sized country, Spain, which also left a background of political authoritarianism, Poland just cannot shake off a bad reputation for a poorly functioning relationship between foreign companies, local Polish business executives and the Polish state authorities."

 

The main complaint of business concerns the approach of the tax police in Poland who said to operate in a way unknown in other Member States. 

 

If for personal or political reasons, the director of the local tax police wants to shut down a company which they allege is guilty of some breach of Poland's complex business and social security tax laws, they can do so without any obligation to explain their actions.

 

Business journalists and business lawyers in Warsaw are aware of the behaviour of the Polish tax police which dates back to communist era operations. But the high state authorities admit privately that they are powerless to reform the way some prosecuting officials work.

 

When key managers or executives are removed from day-to-day operations a business stops functioning and all employees down the employment chain have to find other work if they can. 

 

Polish unemployment rose to 14% in January 2014 - well above the EU average - as a result of this loss of business confidence in the country.

 

Moreover, it is argued that Poland exports its unemployment westwards to other EU Member States who have to offer work to Poles who cannot find jobs in their own country because of the lack of confidence from investors and business executives who fear that they will face arbitrary harassment or even arrest by local prosecutors working with the tax police in a manner unknown anywhere else in the EU.

 

The Polish MEP who spoke to EBR declined to be named for personal reasons but said he had raised his concerns "at the highest levels" of the EU. He said, "It is always difficult to criticize police raids. Polish politicians can easily face accusations, justified or false, of dubious relationships with the business world; for this reason they are reluctant to criticize or investigate the tax police.

 

"Any politicians who dare to raise the issue can find themselves smeared in the different media outlets in Poland as the Polish police operation still retains many of the arts of the pre-1989 era of black propaganda, disinformation, blackmailing and the threat of media exposure."

 

Mr Kmetko agrees, saying, "In the end the behaviour of the tax police does serious damage to Poland by discouraging foreign investors and Polish citizens living elsewhere in Europe or North America who would like to help their country of origin but are not confident that they will receive fair and proper treatment.

 

"Once the European Parliament elections have been held, a new generation of Polish MEPs should address this problem and send out a clear signal that the era of arbitrary and politically or "cash" motivated arrests, detentions and the destruction of businesses by the tax police and their friends in Prosecutors' offices will come to an end once and for all."

 

http://www.europeanbusinessreview.eu/page.asp?pid=1182

 

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Allegations have emerged that a "shadowy" organisation known as the “Grupa Spiskowa” in Poland may have been responsible for orchestrating the Smolensk air crash in 2010, which claimed the lives of the late Polish President Lech Kaczynski and 95 other Polish officials.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in December that the investigation had been extended until April 2014 and the wreckage of the plane would be handed over to Poland upon its completion.

The “Grupa Spiskowa” is an informal organisation that has existed in Poland since the late 1980s, and which has been accused of assassinating targeted politicians and businessmen.

 

Their alleged “hit list” over recent years has included the former vice-speaker of the Polish Sejm Andrzej Lepper; the former Sejm deputy, Henryk Michalak; police general Marek Popala; Professor Janusz Wara-Wasowski, and the independent lawyer, Roza Jarska.

 

The Russian-made Tu-154 jet carrying Kaczynski, his wife and a host of other top officials crashed in heavy fog as it attempted to land at an airfield near Smolensk on April 10, 2010.

 

The delegation was flying to Smolensk to mark the 70th anniversary of the 1940 Katyn massacre of thousands of Polish officers by Soviet secret police. All 96 people aboard the plane died.

 

In the autumn of 2012, the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita claimed that traces of explosives had been discovered in the plane’s debris. Military prosecutors denied the claims, saying the final results of chemical tests would be made public in six months.

 

Russian and Polish investigators carried out a joint investigation from February to March last year in response to speculation that the late Polish president could have been the victim of a conspiracy to blow up his plane with a bomb.

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in  December that the investigation had been extended until April 2014 and the wreckage of the plane would be handed over to Poland upon its completion.

 

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who leads Poland's opposition Law and Justice party,said recently that he believed his brother was assassinated, and an unofficial investigation by his party concluded that there were two explosions before the plane crashed in heavy fog near the runway.

 

While many in Poland find the assertions ridiculous, there is widespread disapproval of the Russians absolving themselves of any blame for the crash.

 

Both the official Russian and Polish investigations have said that pilot error was the main cause of the crash.

 

But the Polish investigation also said that the actions of the Russian air traffic controllers contributed to the disaster.

 

However, speaking exclusively to EBR, a former Polish secret service agent, now living in exile from his native Poland, alleges that the “Grupa Spiskowa”, which is made up of former communists, may have been behind the atrocity.

 

He said, "It acts with the compliance of certain top officials in the Polish administration, who issue orders through the administrative system for the purpose of destroying democracy, securing power and personal enrichment using classic fascist techniques.

 

"The organisation executes politicians who oppose it, raid and destroy profitable companies, and corruptly siphon off EU funds to finance the organisation."

 

The official, who declined to be named, added, "Actions by the criminal group have led to the destruction of several prosperous Polish businesses with consequential damage to the Polish national economy."

 

The source says he has access to notarised documents that give details of assassinations and business raids that have been allegedly  been carried out by the “Grupa Spiskowa”.

By Martin Banks

 

http://www.europeanbusinessreview.eu/page.asp?pid=1155

 

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A senior Polish MEP says the authorities in Poland may have breached EU judicial law in the case of an entrepreneur who says he is the victim of a long-running campaign to discredit him.

Poland has already been castigated by the European Court of Human Rights for its long-running practice of detaining suspects without charge.

The Strasbourg-based court criticised Poland for imposing excessive lengths of pre-trial detention, failing to provide adequate reasons why pre-trial detention is necessary and failing to consider alternatives to pre-trial detention. 

The criticism came in a report produced for Fair Trials International by the international law firm Clifford Chance. 

Polish law dictates that pre-trial detention can be imposed for a period of three months, but defendants cannot be held in prison where other preventive measures suffice.

 

It has been alleged that Piotr Kalecinski, the state prosecutor in Wroclaw, Poland may be in breach of the EU´s Charter of Fundamental Rights. 

This concerns recent raids by the Polish authorities on companies operated by businessman Marek Kmetko, a Polish national currently living in Zurich, which resulted in a number of arrests.

After more than 10 weeks in prison, six people who were detained on Mr Kalecinski´s orders still do not know what, if any, charges may be brought against them.

The detainees, who have been denied access to legal aid, have yet to receive notice of any charges.

A draft letter of complaint about their treatment has now been sent to the charity Amnesty International together with a list of possible breaches of the Charter of EU Fundamental Rights allegedly committed by Mr Kalecinski.

The raids by officers from the Wroclaw Prosecutor’s office were the latest twist in an investigation for alleged fraud-related irregularities.

The inquiry has been running for some three years and has involved two separate police raids on the Polish offices of K.u.K. International and SACMET in November 2012 and November 2013.

A Polish MEP, who did not wish to be named, said the case "gives cause for real concern."

He added, "I think there is a case to be made here that the authorities may be in breach of EU law. Given the continued detention without charge of these people this is something that needs looking into with some urgency."

His concerns are echoed by an international human rights expert who said the current detentions "risk contravening"  article 47 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights.

This states that: “Everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable period of time by an independent and impartial tribunal previously established by law.”

“Everyone in the EU has the right to have their affairs handled fairly and impartially under Article 41 the Charter,” he went on to say, “and the administrative actions being taken at state level in Wroclaw risk taking Poland into the opposite direction from the commitments that have been made to respect the Charter of Fundamental Rights as a signatory of the EU Treaties.”

A spokesman for K.u.K International said, “It is unacceptable that innocent people should be imprisoned without charge, and without access to legal aid. 

“We have already brought these matters to the attention of the Prosecutor General in Poland, the European Parliament's Petitions Committee, and we are now filing a formal complaint with Amnesty International drawing attention to the actions of Piotr Kalecinski and the breaches of human rights in Wroclaw.”

“This is a European election year, and it is time for all Polish politicians to distance modern Poland ever further from its Soviet past, and to make renewed efforts for Poland to continue to move closer to respect for the EU values enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.”

 

For more information visit www.kmetkostory.org 

http://www.europeanbusinessreview.eu/page.asp?pid=1149

 

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A former senior UK government minister has thrown his weight behind a campaign to clear the name of entrepreneur Marek Kmetko who is locked in a bitter legal battle with the authorities in his native Poland

Thousands of Mr Kmetko’s 7,000-strong workforce face a bleak Christmas without jobs after recent raids by the Polish authoritiesled to the closure of his businesses. Some of the workers have been imprisoned and remain behind bars without being charged.

Mr Kmetko insists that the raids were ‘totally unjustified’ and part of a long-running campaign to discredit him and his business activities.

He has launched a high-profile drive to clear his name and reopen the businesses which were forced to temporarily close after the recent raids.

The case has attracted media publicity in Poland and may be taken up by the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee and the European Court of Human Rights.

His efforts have now received the backing of Denis MacShane, a former Europe Minister in the UK, who is also an internationall renowned expert on Eastern and Central European issues.

MacShane, who served in Tony Blair’s former administration, said Kmetko has been targeted for “confronting the full forces of the early post-communist and pre-democratic Poland.”

He said, “The message is clear. You can do business on our terms and if you pay off the right people.”

MacShane says he is “delighted” help the Pole clear his name and to get full compensation for the way legal systems have alleged been used to destroy his business to benefit competitors loyal to ruling political elites.

He praised Kmetko for creating jobs for Polish workers and helping Polish firms to grow.

He said,”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.”

He adds, “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.”

MacShane went on, “This is 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 have 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 it is worth stressing that a lengthy investigation by the Berlin police and relevant authorities cleared Marek.

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

“The recent raids, arrests and shut-down of his business happened just as Marek was launching a major law-suit in Polish courts against the state as he tries to get back the money he lost when he fell victim to political machinations in the earlier period of post-communist rule.

“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. He is someone who somewhere 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.”

Meanwhile, Mr Kmetko's German-based business K.u.K International has expressed concern at the failure of the Polish authorities to reply to the firm's offer to begin payments of the claims by the Polish social insurance organisation, ZUS, that they are owed 62 million zlotys by the company’s Polish subsidiary.

K.u.K International is one of Europe's most dynamic employment and out-sourcing firms which employs people in Wroclaw and other Polish cities and helps more than 150 Polish firms with their human resources management.

A spokesman for K.u.K. International in Berlin, where the firm has its headquarters, said "We wrote to the Polish government on 21 November and made clear that K.u.K International is in full compliance with German tax law, and seeks to meet any obligations that its Polish subsidiary companies may have inadvertently incurred, and repay any monies legally owed to the Polish State.

"The letter proposed to begin immediate discussions concerning claims for payment of 62 million zlotys. Under Polish law, the government is required to reply to any letter from a Polish citizen within 30 days and this deadline expired on 21 December.

"We are puzzled at the apparent indifference of the Polish government to an offer to be paid 62 million zlotys and we hope that before Christmas someone somewhere in the Polish state apparatus contacts us so we can begin making arrangements for paying any outstanding monies," the K.u.K spokesperson added.

However, rather than accepting the offer of the German company, the spokesman said the Wroclaw authorities "appear to prefer to detain in prison without charge innocent employees" - managers of the Polish subsidiaries, including women with dependent children - and to "disrupt the salary payments of 7 000 workers and their families at the year end when they should normally be preparing to celebrate the New Year."

An international humans rights expert has suggested that the Wroclaw authorities’ actions may be in breach of Poland’s obligations under the European Treaties to protect the fundamental rights of citizens

 

http://www.europeanbusinessreview.eu/page.asp?pid=1146

 

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Thousands of Polish families face a bleak Christmas as a direct result of ´terrifying´ police raids against companies owned by a leading Polish entrepreneur in seven cities in Poland.

Mr Kmetko compared the actions of the Polish police with a similar investigation of his companies by the Berlin State Prosecutor.

 

The raids on businesses run by Zdiszlaw Kmetko involved 100 SWAT officers, 50 policemen, 60 plain clothes detectives and about 70 vehicles.

It means that up to 7,000 people employed by Mr Kmetko cannot be paid because the District Prosecutor in Wroclaw has frozen the company’s bank account.

The Polish-born entrepreneur says they now risk losing their jobs unless the company is permitted to restart operations within days.

The companies raided by the Polish authorities operate an employment agency and outsourcing business that serves 147 small businesses in Poland.

The police raids were described as particularly brutal.

A SWAT team smashed through the bedroom window of an 84-year-old grandmother in her private apartment to carry out a "routine" enquiry. Plain clothes police officers in unmarked cars swooped on a 64-year-old grandmother in her private home and handcuffed her.

A pregnant mother was said to have been "terrified" by the ordeal.

Speaking from Poland, she asked, “Who ordered this? I have nothing to do with this company and did not understand what the police wanted. Why did they smash into my private home?"

Servers from the companies’ offices were removed and computers, mobile phones, televisions and file records were among other items seized by police and taken for investigation. Computer games of teenage children were taken from private homes.

Mr Kmetko compared the actions of the Polish police with a similar investigation of his companies by the Berlin State Prosecutor.

The German investigation gave all his companies a clean bill of health last month and exonerated him from any charges.

By comparison, he said, "The Polish authorities have deliberately forced closure of the same companies in the process of looking for new evidence. They have ripped the heart out of my businesses and terrorised my workers who now fear for their future."

Ten workers face criminal charges and six are in prison pending investigation of the charges against them.

“The important thing now is to consider the future of the employees and our clients,” a spokesman for Mr Kmetko said.

“It is urgent to pay our workers their salaries. We have the funds to do so, and wish to meet these obligations as quickly as possible. We urge the authorities to unblock the bank account so that we can pay them, and set up a structure that will allow interim administration of the companies so that we can keep the business going and respect our responsibilities and commitments to our employees and our clients.”

“We wish to co-operate in full with the Polish authorities, as we have already done in Germany, and willingly supply all of the information and documentation required by the investigators to assist their work.

"It makes no economic sense to deprive 7,000 workers of their employment and their wages. We are shocked and saddened by the tactics that have been used to seize data and forcibly shut down our company operations,” he added.

Mr Kmetko has written to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to request his intervention in the case.

“I operate an ordinary outsourcing business and employment agency,” he said, “It is nonsense to describe it as an organised criminal operation, and everybody in my companies knows this to be true.”

“I accept my responsibilities to pay all of the taxes and social security payments due to the Polish State for my business operations. I appeal for a return of common sense and order in the interests of my employees and business clients, that we be allowed to restart our operations in a proper and civilised way, and that my employees who are currently in detention should be released pending conclusion of the investigations by the authorities."

He added, "We owe this in the best interests of the workers and also the Polish economy.”

By Martin Banks

 

http://www.europeanbusinessreview.eu/page.asp?pid=1133

 

 

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European authorities are being asked to investigate an attack on a German company which operates in Poland.

Termination of the Kmetko case in Germany confirms a similar decision of Prosecutor’s office in Wroclaw which was notified to the company in a letter dated 31 May 2012, which also closed the investigation.

Lawyers representing the company have written to the European Commission saying that a raid by armed security forces on the K.u.K employment agency in the south west Polish city of Wroclaw was aimed at stopping fair competition by forcing the closure of the Berlin-based company.

Polish authorities have made accusations against the firm saying it was involved in money-laundering.

But a lengthy investigation by the Berlin State Prosecutor has stated the charges are unfounded.

Following a letter dated 28 October from the Berlin State Prosecutor exonerating K.u.K. from any charges, it appears that the reaction of Wroclaw police has been to attack the firm.

“Over 7,000 jobs in Poland are now in peril,” said a spokesman for K.u.K.

On Tuesday, one Polish MEP, who said he did not wish to be named, also condemned the action, telling this website, “This like something out of the Communist era or behaviour you would expect in Putin’s Russia but not Tusk’s Poland.”

Claiming that they were investigating alleged money-laundering operations by the Berlin registered company K.u.K. International, Polish authorities conducted a series of raids against the company on 5 November.

Armed special units smashed their way into property owned by K.u.K., seized company assets,including two German registered cars.

They also searched K.u.K offices in Warsaw, Szczecin, Olsztyn and Dębic. The police raid extended to searching private apartments and seizing private property. German citizens were amongst the persons arrested by the police.

The armed police arrested Polish citizens employed by the company and blocked the non-resident bank account of K.u.K. International - thereby threatening the payment of wages due to the company’s 7 000 employees.

Responding, management of K.u.K. International branded them as "without any justification in law."

“The state sponsored actions are wholly disproportionate and unjustified. They threaten legitimate business operations and the rights of innocent individuals. No European business can operate on a cross-border basis if the police act without respect for basic European values and laws,” said a K.u.K. International spokesman.

The raids come within seven days of the Berlin State Prosecutor concluding a thorough and comprehensive two and a half year investigation into the affairs of the company.

This was conducted at the request of the Polish government within the framework of the agreement on legal assistance between the two countries.

Polish businessman Zdzislaw Kmetko and his wife Halina as well as their German company K.u.K. -E.F.I. International Logistic + Händel GmbH did not commit money laundering or any concealment of assets, the Berlin State Prosecutor concluded following the two year long investigation.

In a letter addressed to Halina Kmetko as the owner of the K.u.K. and dated 28 October, 2013 the office of Berlin prosecutor notified the company that the investigation had been terminated due to lack of evidence of any violation.

Termination of the Kmetko case in Germany confirms a similar decision of Prosecutor’s office in Wroclaw which was notified to the company in a letter dated 31 May 2012, which also closed the investigation.

"The raids are without justification and directly contradict the written confirmation of the Public Prosecutor of Wroclaw from 31 May 2012 stating that no money laundering operations were undertaken by K.u.K. International," a company spokesman said.

“This policy of state harassment of the family business of Wroclaw entrepreneur Zdzislaw Kmetko follows a consistent trend going back to the communist era of the early 1990s, and suggests a deliberate strategy of targeted, selective and vindictive actions designed to destroy the legitimate family business of K.u.K. International and to break the spirit of its owners and its employees,” the K.u.K International spokesman went on to say.

“These illegal actions will be contested vigorously in the courts, and we shall apply for remedies to protect the legitimate business interests of K.u.K. International and to defend the rights of the individuals who have been subject to this wholly unwarranted, groundless and unjustified harassment,” the spokesman added.

"This attempt to shut down and destroy a legitimate Polish business providing jobs for 7000 people in Poland is a bad signal to send out at a time when the Polish economy is slowing down.

"We believe it is against the EU rules on the single market and against EU fundamental rights and we will be asking the relevant commissioners in Brussels to examine this police attack on a private company that pays its taxes in Germany, Switzerland, Poland where it operates and fully complies with the law in all three countries.

"Clearly it suits the company’s competitors to see the police raid and the attempt to shut down his business, but Poland must respect rule of law as an EU member state,” the company spokesman concluded.

A source at the European commission in Brussels said they would look into the matter as soon as they received the complaint.

http://www.europeanbusinessreview.eu/page.asp?pid=1122

 

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A leading East European entrepreneur is set to launch potentially highly embarrassing legal proceedings against the Polish state, claiming 40 billion dollars compensation for alleged ´systematic harassment.´

 

The case of Kmetko v the Republic of Poland has been dubbed "Warsawgate" by some in the Polish media and Mr Kmetko says there were up to 100 Polish businessmen and women who have been subjected to similar ´political harassment´ by the authorities in their homeland.

 

 

The case being brought by 61-year-old Mr Marek Kmetko is due to start in Warsaw District Court on 8 October.

Mr Kmetko was the subject of a two-year-long investigation by the authorities in Poland for alleged tax offences and labour law infringements.

However, he was informed in May of last year that the public prosecutor´s office in Warsaw that there was insufficient evidence against him and that the investigation would be discontinued.

Mr Kmetko is now seeking legal redress in order to clear his name and compensation for damages both to his reputation and to his business that he says he has suffered as a result of the long-running investigation.

He also plans to submit a petition to the petitions committee of the European Parliament in Brussels.

The case of Kmetko v the Republic of Poland has been dubbed "Warsawgate" by some in the Polish media and Mr Kmetko says there were up to 100 Polish businessmen and women who have been subjected to similar ´political harassment´ by the authorities in their homeland.

He believes much of the motivation for such action was resentment by "communist-era apparatchiks," who, to this day, remain "hostile" towards successful and dynamic entrepreneurs like himself.

The case has been dubbed "Warsaw-gate" and Mr Kmetko said, "Someone must be punished for what has happened to me."

His story dates back to the early 1990s when he established what became the biggest haulage company in Poland, employing 7,000 people.

He says that in 1993, the Polish state wrongfully seized his business assets, including 300 trucks, and that his bank accounts were illegally blocked.

He was subsequently arrested and detained in custody, although no criminal charges were ever laid against him.

He believes the more recent investigation by the Polish authorities are a fresh attempt to discredit him and "destroy" his newly rebuilt business.

Mr Kmetko says he can prove that the "unlawful" actions of Polish authorities in the early 1990s led to the violent deaths of his commercial partners and to his own unjustified imprisonment.

It is claimed that this led to the calculated ruination of his former transport business, resulting in "massive" job cuts and "huge" losses for the national economy.

"More than two decades have passed but certain civil servants still do not hesitate to break the law in order to paralyse the Polish operations of my new business which was recently launched from scratch in Germany," he said.

Mr Kmetko says the case has wider implications as it highlights the practice of "selective justice" in Eastern and Central European states.

Ukraine is one such example where selective justice is said to have been used against the country´s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is serving a jail sentence for alleged abuse in a case branded by the West as politically motivated.

A spokesman for the Brussels-based Foundation for Democracy and Governance said, "At a time when Europe and the EU is concerned about the politically motivated imprisonment of the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, Europe is not paying sufficient attention to similar examples of selective justice in its own back yard.

"Mr Kmetko´s experience, or ´Warsawgate´ as it is being called in Poland, is one such case where selective justice and deliberate orchestrated political harassment is being targeted against him by the Polish state."

The list of respondents in the hearing due to start shortly includes Polish PM Donald Tusk, the ministries of Justice and Finance and Labour as well as the Social Insurance institution in Wroclaw.

Mr Kmetko says that as he is unable to return to his home in Poland for fear of arrest he has effectively been made stateless by the Polish campaign against him.

It is one reason why he has been described by some as Poland´s answer to Edward Snowden, the American computer specialist and a former CIA and NSA employee, who leaked details of several top-secret United States government mass surveillance programmes to the press.

Like Snowden, Mr Kmetko says that the only way he could get his story into the public domain was through social media and he has now published exhaustive details of the case on the internet. Further details are available by visiting www.kmetkostory.info

The site clearly show that the authorities in Poland repeated the allegations against Mr Kmetko in a series of letters to his business partners AFTER the Warsaw public prosecutor decided to call a halt to the investigation.

The files also include a letter, dated May 2002, from the now deceased Polish MP Andrzej Lepper. In this Mr Lepper accuses the Polish state of "concealing" evidence in the Kmetko case which he describes as the "tip of a scandalous iceberg."

Mr Kmetko says this is "yet further" evidence of a "personal vendetta" against him which continues today.

He said, "About 100 prominent businessmen in Poland have had a similar experience to mine and someone clearly stood to benefit by getting rid of us and taking over our assets.

"Who in particular? That is what I want the District Court in Warsaw to find out."

He adds, "I am fully aware there is little chance of winning this case in a Polish court but in no way will I be stopped. I will go through all the level levels to seek justice."

By Martin Banks

 

http://www.europeanbusinessreview.eu/page.asp?pid=1102

 

Published in Articles

Parliament's petitions committee has been asked to take up the case of a Polish entrepreneur who claims he is the victim of 'unlawful' business practices by the Polish authorities.

Entrepreneur Zdzislav Kmetko is claiming millions of euros in compensation against the Polish government in a case due to start on Thursday 9 May in the Warsaw district court.

The list of respondents cited in the case includes Polish prime minister Donald Tusk as well as the Polish ministries of justice, finance and labour and the social insurance authority in Wroclaw.

Kmetko has spent 10 years in jail and is now seeking to prove that the actions of the Polish authorities in confiscating his property in the early 1990s were "unlawful".

He claims that the Polish government's actions "led to the ruin" of his promising business, his "unfair" imprisonment on "spurious" grounds, and the violent deaths of his commercial partners.

Kmetko claims that 20 years later civil servants in Poland are still trying to use "every possible means to ruin him again" and to "paralyse" the Polish operations of his new business that he recently launched in Germany.

He plans to send a formal petition to parliament under the petitions procedure and will also write a formal petition to the European ombudsman.

Kmetko said he was unable to go into detail about the case for legal reasons.

But he added, "I am fully aware there is little chance of winning this case in a Polish court but in no way will I be stopped. I will go through all the legal levels to prove my justice."

He said he is prepared to appeal to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg and wants the EU ombudsman, based in Strasbourg, to take up the case.

"Somebody must be punished for all that happened to me and also the business partners who trusted me. I am suing the Polish state in the name of all people in Poland where it should be possible to work and earn money honestly and frankly," he said.

He claims that at the height of his success his business assets were wrongfully seized by the Polish state and his bank accounts illegally blocked.

Kmetko, who has won more than 50 legal procedures against the Polish authorities since 1993 and was once the biggest truck carrier in Poland, says he is now the victim of another "hostile" campaign by the Polish state.

He said, "This is a typical east European story of a talented and dynamical entrepreneur, trapped by the hostile and populist mentality of authorities who essentially wanted to get their hands on a profitable business."

His lawyer, Andreas Zumschlinge, told this website, "We think the European parliament should show that it is aware of these legal proceedings in Warsaw and that it will follow the case.

"In doing so, parliament might help make sure that the rights of a German company and those of people living in Germany are respected by law and that people or institutions in Poland may not influence this."

 

 

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