Stanisław Żaryn, a spokesman for Poland's security services chief, said that the authorities of the Open Dialogue Foundation called for attempts to "break the law, heat up emotions and sow chaos” amid protests in 2017 over changes to the Polish justice system.
Żaryn was speaking after the head of Poland’s Internal Security Agency (ABW) on Thursday briefed a parliamentary committee on the activities of the Open Dialogue Foundation, the polskieradio24.pl news website reported, citing the committee’s chairman, Marek Opioła, a lawmaker for Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party.
Żaryn told Polish Radio on Friday that “the circumstances surrounding the financing of the Open Dialogue Foundation" were being investigated by Polish security services.
He told the Polish public radio broadcaster in an interview that the foundation “is financed in a non-transparent way” and that “money destined for the Open Dialogue Foundation went through companies registered in or linked to tax havens.”
Żaryn said the foundation attracted the attention of investigators “in connection with its activities related to protests over changes to the [Polish] judiciary."
Żaryn told Polish Radio that “the authorities of the foundation sent a signal calling for sabotage aimed at the Polish state.”
He said: “The foundation found itself in the orbit of the ABW’s scrutiny due to the nature of a campaign it undertook in the summer of 2017.
“Members of the foundation's authorities at the time called for breaking the law, heating up emotions and sowing chaos. There was an appeal for non-payment of taxes.
“We are aware that the Open Dialogue Foundation is a foundation of very substantial means and influence, including in the West."
The foundation’s head Lyudmyla Kozlovska, a citizen of Ukraine, was last August banned from entering Poland and the European Union.
The eutoday.net website has reported that Kozlovska is an accredited lobbyist at the European Parliament, where she has enjoyed support from deputies such as Belgium’s Guy Verhofstadt and several British Labour MEPs.
'Operation mounted by Russian intelligence service': MEP
Polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski told Polish Radio this week that he had warned fellow lawmakers in the European Parliament over the Open Dialogue Foundation two years ago.
Saryusz-Wolski, who has been a Eurodeputy since June 2004, voiced his view that the foundation’s activities looked like "an operation mounted by the Russian intelligence service."
“The red light flashed when Open Dialogue supported protests by the opposition in Poland aimed at changing those in power,” Saryusz-Wolski said on Polish Radio.
Russian 'agents of influence' targeting Poland: expert
Meanwhile, Piotr Bączek, former head of Poland’s Military Counterintelligence Service (SKW), said on Wednesday that Russia was pulling out all the stops to target Poland with its “agents of influence.”
That comment by Bączek came after Britain’s The Sunday Times newspaper published an article in which it raised more questions about the Poland-based Open Dialogue Foundation.
"One can assume with 100 percent certainty that Russia has activated its entire network of agents of influence to discredit Poland," said Bączek during a programme broadcast by Poland’s TVP Info station, referring to The Sunday Times’ disclosures about the Open Dialogue Foundation.
The Sunday Times has reported that Scottish companies may have been used to launder cash funding a secret lobbying campaign.
The paper’s article, entitled An Edinburgh flat, a human rights activist and the oligarchs’ ‘dirty money,’ has “exposed claims that Scottish companies were used to launder cash through ODF (Open Dialog Foundation), run by Ukrainian citizen Lyudmyla Kozlovska, to fund a secret lobbying campaign” on behalf of Kazakh fugitive oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov and Veaceslav Platon, according to the eutoday.net website.
The website has reported that Platon is a Moldovan businessman who was jailed in 2017 for money-laundering and fraud linked to the disappearance of USD 1 billion from Moldova’s banking system several years earlier, causing a political crisis in that country.
According to eutoday.net, a Moldovan parliament commission report has claimed that Platon has funded Kozlovska, also suggesting that Ablyazov is another source of funding.
The foundation’s Kozlovska and Bartosz Kramek have denied having ties to Russia and being financed by Russian businesses.
The Sunday Times cited Martin Mycielski, director of public affairs for the Open Dialogue Foundation, as dismissing all the allegations in the Moldovan report, which he said was hastily produced without proper investigation by a special parliamentary committee.