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Polish cycling federation board urged to resign over drug, rape claims

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 27.11.2017 14:00
Poland’s sports minister has asked the board of the Polish Cycling Federation (PZKol) to resign after a former official said cyclists and PZKol staff claimed they had been molested, drugged and raped by one high-level employee.
Archival photo of Sports Minister Witold Bańka and PZKol CEO Dariusz Banaszek. Photo:  PAP/Bartłomiej Zborowski.Archival photo of Sports Minister Witold Bańka and PZKol CEO Dariusz Banaszek. Photo: PAP/Bartłomiej Zborowski.

In an interview for the sportowefakty.wp.pl sports website, Piotr Kosmala, who said he resigned from his post as a PZKol board member because of the allegations, claimed that testimonies recorded during an external audit revealed that an unnamed high-level PZKol employee was accused of rape and sex with a minor, and that a sedative had been mixed with alcohol to drug a victim.

But the PZKol board in a statement denied that it had received any audit results or evidence of "irregularities" and distanced itself from Kosmala’s interview for sportowefakty.wp.pl

Kosmala told the website that an employee allegedly also took “illegal commissions” from cyclists and had threatened other people in the organization.

He told sportowefakty.wp.pl that the suspected offender allegedly threatened to cut the wages of “insubordinate” cyclists and other staff, and said he would “use his contacts” to destroy their careers.

Kosmala alleged that a number of people left the sport because of bullying and that some had mental breakdowns and family problems as a result, the website reported.

The audit, which initially intended to clear up long-term concerns about possible tax-fraud in the organization, also revealed that the offender pocketed a commission of 20 to 50 percent of his trainees’ winnings without leaving a paper trail, Kosmala said in the interview.

Kosmala told the sportowefakty.wp.pl website that he left PZKol because CEO Dariusz Banaszek called off the audit after the scandal came to light with the intention of “sweeping it deep under the rug”, adding that Banaszek banned PZKol staff from speaking about it.

But Banaszek told the website that the PZKol was the victim of a witch hunt and that its independence was under attack.

Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro has said the allegations against the PZKol employee were “extremely shocking” while Sports Minister Witold Bańka has asked the board to resign.

Bańka also said the ministry and PZKol’s sponsor Orlen, a state-run oil refiner, had withdrawn their financial support for the organisation.

Footwear retailer CCC withdrew its sponsorship earlier in the year.

According to sportowefakty.wp.pl, the “sex scandal” is a major blow for PZKol, which is also in financial trouble, owing PLN 10 million (EUR 2.4 million) to a construction company for a velodrome in Pruszków, near Warsaw. (vb/pk)

tags: cycling, scandal
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