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Polish ex-Solidarity icon released on bail amid corruption probe

PR dla Zagranicy
Roberto Galea 02.12.2016 09:43
A former Polish senator and icon of the pro-democracy Solidarity movement has been released on bail in the midst of an investigation into suspected corruption.
Józef Pinior following his release. Photo: PAP/Jakub KaczmarczykJózef Pinior following his release. Photo: PAP/Jakub Kaczmarczyk

Former senator Józef Pinior was released on Thursday along with two others who are being investigated by the prosecutor's office.

Pinior has been charged with two counts of corruption and faces up to eight years in prison if found guilty.

Speaking to the media following his release, Pinior denied all the charges. “Over the 40 years I have been in politics, I never used [my position] to gain financial benefits,” he said.

According to media reports, he is being probed over his activities during the period he was a senator from 2011 to 2015, when he was part of a Wrocław business group. He is accused of accepting bribes totalling PLN 46,000 (USD 11,000).

Speaking about the case, former Solidarity leader and ex-president Lech Wałęsa said that he “does not believe” the charges brought against Pinior.

“I will follow this issue very closely, and I will even try to participate in it. I would like to know whether it is likely that a man could change so much,” Wałęsa told the private TVN broadcaster.

In the early 1980s, Pinior, together with a colleague, hid PLN 80 million belonging to the Solidarity labour movement to keep it safe from Poland’s communist authorities shortly before they introduced martial law in 1981.

The Solidarity trade union played a key role in the collapse of communism in Poland in 1989. (rg/pk)

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