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New recordings surface in Poland's Waitergate scandal

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 09.06.2017 13:02
Previously unheard recordings relating to the 2014 “Waitergate” wire-tapping scandal have surfaced and some have been aired by Poland's public broadcaster TVP.
Warsaw's Sowa & Przyjaciele restaurant. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Adrian Grycuk (CC BY-SA 3.0)Warsaw's Sowa & Przyjaciele restaurant. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Adrian Grycuk (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The new recordings reveal a conversation about appointing ex-Treasury Minister Aleksander Grad to the board of state-run energy company Tauron.

According to TVP, some of the voices belonged to Treasury Minister Włodzimierz Karpiński, government spokesman Paweł Graś, Government Protection Bureau head General Marian Janicki, and priest Kazimierz Sowa.

"Grad will finish ... as the chief of Tauron," Sowa said in one of the recordings published by TVP Info.

The conversation was allegedly recorded in February 2014, TVP Info reported.

Between July 2013 and June 2014, the conversations of people in the upper echelons of Polish politics, business and public service were recorded without their knowledge at the fashionable Sowa & Przyjaciele restaurant in Warsaw and later leaked to media.

Such recordings are illegal in Poland and under the penal code are punishable by up to two years in jail.

A Polish businessman was found guilty of masterminding the recordings and was sentenced to 30 months in jail, while another businessman and a waiter received suspended sentences.

A second waiter was fined but avoided a sentencing by helping prosecutors with their investigation.

Among those recorded in the scandal were former Interior Minister Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, former Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski, former central bank head Marek Belka and current Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawicki, then a chairman of a major bank.

The conversations, many of them expletive-ridden, of more than 100 people were illegally recorded on 66 occasions; their revelation rocked Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform (PO) government in 2014, later leading to the resignation of at least nine high-ranking party members. (vb/pk)

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