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Businessman sought over debt service scam brought to Poland

PR dla Zagranicy
Paweł Kononczuk 08.09.2018 15:28
A businessman who fled to the US after being sentenced for masterminding a massive debt service scam in Poland arrived in Warsaw on Saturday afternoon, escorted by police, officials said.
Photo: Activedia/pixabay/CC0 Creative CommonsPhoto: Activedia/pixabay/CC0 Creative CommonsFoto: pixabay.com/CC0

Public broadcaster TVP Info reported earlier this week that the businessman, Dariusz Przywieczerski, would be extradited from America after he escaped from Poland more than 12 years ago.

Przywieczerski was formerly CEO of Universal Foreign Trade Enterprise and a central figure in a scandal surrounding the Foreign Debt Service Fund (FOZZ), a government agency that was set up shortly before the fall of communism in Poland in 1989 and tasked with buying Polish debt through intermediaries.

A Warsaw court in March 2005 sentenced Przywieczerski to three-and-a-half years in prison for being part of the FOZZ scandal and for siphoning around USD 1.5 million out of the Fund’s coffers, Polish public broadcaster TVP’s tvp.info website said.

However, Przywieczerski did not show up in the courtroom to hear the verdict at the time; instead he disappeared, the website said.

He is thought to have left Poland immediately and lived on money he had in foreign bank accounts, tvp.info said.

Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro told reporters on Saturday that "people with links to the Soviet security services" had been involved in the FOZZ affair and that some justice system officials had been afraid of the case, public broadcaster Polish Radio reported.

Przywieczerski lived and owned real estate in Belarus before he eventually escaped to the United States, according to tvp.info.

In April 2006, Interpol tracked him to America where he ran several companies, according to tvp.info. In July that year, the Warsaw district court filed an extradition request to the US Department of State. In December, the Americans asked for more paperwork and the case began to drag on and was soon forgotten, tvp.info reported.

It noted that Przywieczerski was once an employee of the Central Committee of the communist-era Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR). After the fall of communism, he became CEO of Universal, a foreign trade enterprise that he successfully took to the stock exchange.

In the 1990s, Universal held a controlling stake in a company that published Trybuna, a left-leaning newspaper in Poland, tvp.info reported.


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