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

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By a special correspondent of The European Financial Review

Polish tax police operate in a way unknown in other EU member states.

Below, a Special Correspondent argues that the behavior of the tax police does serious damage to Poland by discouraging foreign investors or Polish citizens living elsewhere in Europe or North America who are not confident they will receive fair and proper treatment.

When will Poland stop crude communist-era attacks on EU businesses (and home grown Polish businesses) trying to make a zloty in the country?

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 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 able Anglo-Polish finance minister, Jacek Rostowksi, was seen as one of the EU countries foreign businessmen were confident to invest and do business in.

But the latest figure from the OECD and the UN Trade organisation show a dramatic slump to just $3.4 billion.

At the same time the New York based Heritage Foundation 2014 report which scores countries’ performances across a range of economic measurements shows that Poland has a poor score for business corruption. Compared to a similar sized country, Spain, which also left a background of political authoritarianism, Poland cannot shake off a bad name for a poorly functioning relationship between foreign companies, local Polish business executives and the Polish state authorities.

The main complaint comes from the approach of the tax police in Poland which operate in a way unknown in other EU member states. If for personal or political reasons, the director of local tax polices want to shut down a company 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.

One prominent Polish businessman and philanthropist, Marek Kmetko, had decided to operate out of Germany and Switzerland after his student daughter was harassed and threatened with arrest by Polish tax police who accused him of illegally taking money out of Poland even though he had been cleared of the charge by the German investigative authorities.

“It’s very worrying when the Polish police-judicial system refuse to accept the rulings from a neighbouring EU member state,” said Kemtko. “I have employed hundreds of people in Poland and want to keep investing and operating in my country. But there is no rule of law such as it is understood elsewhere in Europe,” he said.

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

Now in a remarkable new book by a foreign investor in Poland comes detail after detail of corrupt attacks by local police and municipal authorities in Poland acting on behalf of rival interests who do not want to face competition from modern entrepreneurs.

John Borrell gave up a distinguished career as one of the star foreign correspondents of Time magazine twenty years ago. A native New Zealander, Borrell had met and married a Polish woman on his foreign correspondent travels. He decided to retire from endless jumping on planes to report wars. Instead he set out to build a hotel lodge on a lake in north east Poland. He added to that a successful wine importing business and even his own brand of vodka.

“Now in a remarkable new book by a foreign investor in Poland comes detail after detail of corrupt attacks by local police and municipal authorities in Poland acting on behalf of rival interests who do not want to face competition from modern entrepreneurs.”

No problem one might think and surely a welcome new economic activity after the end of communism. But Borrell reckoned without the local police, mayor, newspaper and every neighbour who did not want to see him succeed.

His account in his book The White Lake (Quartet Books, 2014) is a triumph of New Zealand grit and smart tactics over a Polish local bureaucracy that even today has not shaken off the habits of communism and records money-making as suspicious activity.

Polish law allows for pre-trial detention of up to two years, longer in special circumstances and many public prosecutors use it as a means of extracting “confessions” or simply to punish people they lack evidence to prosecute in court. Bureaucrats, public prosecutors and judges are never held accountable for wrongly depriving people of their liberty. As a result more than ninety-five per cent of requests by public prosecutors for pre-trial detention are approved by judges. In less than half of such hearings is the accused represented by a lawyer.

Borrell cites the case of Lech Jeziorny and Pawel Rey. “The two entrepreneurs from Krakow were detained for nine months without trial in 2003 while prosecutors hunted for evidence they had acted illegally in a complex management buyout of a slaughterhouse. They were bankrupted by this pre-trial detention and faced another seven years of investigation after their release. All the charges against them were then dropped without apology or compensation for the time they had spent in jail.”

Another case is that of businessman Roman Kluska who was bankrupted by a tax investigation that courts later ruled to have been improper. He had to post more than €2 million in bail to avoid lengthy pre-trial incarceration. Kluska received a derisory €1,250 in compensation from the government.

“Mitch Nocula, an American businessman who had to close down his machine tool business when inspectors wrongly accused him of using illegal software, received just €315 in compensation,” write Borrell.

There is growing concern in the European Parliament and in Brussels at the unaccountable operations of the tax police. They can detain without charge any business executive they do not like. They are not obliged to present to courts within a reasonable delay clear evidence or proof to justify their arrests.

Obviously when key managers or executives are removed from day-to-day operations, a business stops functioning and all the employees down the employment chain have to find other work if they can. Polish unemployment rose to 14 per cent in January 2014 well above the EU average as a result of this loss of business confidence in the country.

Moreover 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 by investors and business executives that they will face arbitrary harassment and even arrest by local prosecutors working with the tax police in a manner unknown elsewhere in the EU.

“There is growing concern in the European Parliament and in Brussels at the unaccountable operations of the tax police in Poland. They can detain without charge any business executive they do not like.”

Borrell describes the film, Uklad Zmakniety (Crooked Cabal) “about the behavior of prosecutors, judges and police as they attack businessmen. It shows a scene of the heavily armed police battering down a door and pinning one of the entrepeneurs and his pregnant wife to the floor with guns to their backs while the children look on. It showed a running dialogue between the public prosecutor and the regional tax collector as they stitched up the entrepeneurs. It was frightening to think that public officials could be so corrupt and immune to censor of any kind.”

“It was such a powerful film that even Poland’s President, Bronislaw Komorowski, was moved to declare it essential viewing for officials with power over other people’s lives. It would be even better if Poland took this often misused power away from prosecutors by making pre-trial detention illegal.”

Unfortunately even if Poland’s president says his officialdom should look at the film the message has not been received. Polish businessman Marek Kmetko saw an attack on his Berlin-based KuK employment agency network which led to it closing down in Poland earlier this year without any trial or court hearing. Key managers in Wroclaw found themselves detained without charge for months including a 71 year old woman who did some work for Kmetko in Berlin who was visiting Wroclaw to see grandchildren.

The allegation is that Mr Kemtko has not paid social security tax for his employees. Since they are all sub-contracted to other firms there is no clarity as to who is responsible for the social insurance payments. Mr Kmetko offered to pay any claims following arbitration but the response of the Wroclaw tax police and their friends in the prosecutors’ office was to issue an arrest warrant for Anna Kmetko, his 22 year old daughter studying English in London.

The tactic was a crude attempt at intimidation such as are described in John Borrell’s book.

Borrell adds further charges with his charge that the “Polish bureaucracy is so obstructive and petty that importers, me included, sometimes choose Rotterdam or Hamburg as the port of entry. Poland loses out every time a cargo is not shipped through Gdansk or some other Polish port. Surprisingly little is being done to streamline bureaucratic procedures so that Poland, rather than Holland or Germany, benefits from EU imports duties. Polish bureaucrats either don’t see or don’t care about the consequences of what they do.”

Borrell speaks for many struggling to make a success of business in Poland when he writes “It was tempting to think that corruption was a transitional product of the collapse of Communism and the privatisation of tens of thousands of state-owned companies, large and small. There had been no wholesale clearing out of the Communist-era bureaucracy when Poland shrugged off its Soviet shackles and became a democracy in 1989. This meant that the old nomenklatura, at the higher levels consisting of card-carrying members of the party itself and closed linked to the old order’s politicians, played a big part in the privatisation process.”

“Little is being done to streamline bureaucratic procedures so that Poland, rather than Holland or Germany, benefits from EU imports duties.”

“One company paid me in advance for an all-inclusive weekend stay for someone they described as ‘an important business partner.’ He arrived on a Friday evening in a shiny new car. Out stepped an expensively dressed woman whom he introduced as his wife. The pair didn’t behave like a married couple and sent much of the weekend in their suite where they consumed prodigious amounts of alcohol. I later found out from the manager of the company paying for the weekend that he was the chief tax inspector for the region in which the company was located. ‘We had a tax inspection during which a few problems came up,’ the manager said. ‘I think everything has been resolved now.’”

Members of the European Parliament are concerned that public prosecutors and courts could keep people in jail for two years or more without charge. As Borrell writes “Those who were not prosecuted received neither apology nor redress. In one celebrated case, the head of a regional tax office and his public prosecutor friend conspired to keep two businessmen in jail for nine months while they searched for evidence to charge them with corruption in a business deal involving state property. No evidence materialised, but the businessmen were ruined by the time of their release. Both officials kept their jobs. One was promoted.”

It is always difficult to criticise tax police raids and Polish politicians who themselves can easily face accusation, justified or false, to dubious relationships with the business world and are not willing to criticise or investigate the tax police.

Any politician who does dare raise the issue can find himself smeared in the different media outlets in Poland as the Polish police operation still retains many aspects of the old pre-1989 era of black propaganda, disinformation and blackmailing threat of media exposure.

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

Once the European Parliament election is over, a new generation of Polish MEPs is expected to take up this problem and send out a signal that the era of arbitrary and politically or cash motivated arrests, detentions and destruction of businesses by the tax police and their friends in prosecutor offices will come to an end.

http://www.europeanfinancialreview.com/?p=8142

 

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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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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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BRUSSELS, December 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

The 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 7 000 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 respond to the offer of the German company, the Wroclaw authorities continue to detain in prison, without charge, innocent 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 human 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.

For more information see http://www.kmetkostory.org    

Issued for K.u.K. International Limited by Macmillan PR

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/businessman-puzzled-at-polish-governments-lack-of-response-to-proposed-payment-of-62-million-zlotys-237014231.html

 

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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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