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New recordings in Poland's Waitergate scandal: Ex-FM offends university rectors

PR dla Zagranicy
Paweł Kononczuk 24.08.2017 15:07
Former Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski reportedly hit out at the heads of the country’s higher education institutions, calling them “d**kheads” and “layabouts,” in an expletive-laden “Waitergate” recording recently aired for the first time.
Radosław Sikorski was Poland's Foreign Minister between 2007 and 2014. Photo: European External Action Service. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)Radosław Sikorski was Poland's Foreign Minister between 2007 and 2014. Photo: European External Action Service. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

A new set of previously unheard recordings relating to the 2014 “Waitergate” wire-tapping scandal have surfaced and some have been aired by Poland's public broadcaster TVP.

The new recordings appear to reveal a discrediting conversation about Polish universities and the costs of educating children between former Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski and Jacek Krawiec, former CEO of oil refiner Orlen.

“You know, [American universities] understand what all those rectors -- those d**kheads and layabouts -- over here fail to comprehend -- that, you know, the main financing for universities can come from ... endowments. It’s just that you need to have a database,” Sikorski reportedly said in one of the recordings published by TVP Info.

He was allegedly responding to Krawiec, who said: “I saw those f**king [American] campuses, all of it, those budgets at those universities, the five billion that Stanford has annually”.

“Five billion is the money they have to spend. One third is from endowments, one third from grants, one third from invested funds. So five billion is, f**k, huge business,” he added, according to TVP.

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 central bank head Marek Belka and current Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, then 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. (str/vb)

Source: TVP Info

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