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More suspects over property restitution in Warsaw: justice minister

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 07.02.2019 12:15
More suspects are likely to be detained and charged in an ongoing probe into a property restitution scandal in Warsaw, Poland’s justice minister has said.
Zbigniew Ziobro. Photo: PAP/Piotr NowakZbigniew Ziobro. Photo: PAP/Piotr Nowak

Zbigniew Ziobro was speaking after corruption investigators on Wednesday detained five more suspects over restitution of prime real estate in Warsaw.

Among those detained in the ongoing probe are former Warsaw City Hall officials suspected of accepting bribes in exchange for approving property restitution and compensation claims.

Ziobro, who is also Poland's prosecutor-general, told public broadcaster TVP Info on Wednesday evening that “criminal practices went on for years” unpunished and that the previous mayor of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, bore political responsibility for the reprivatisation scandal.

Gronkiewicz-Waltz “received signals about irregularities but did not react,” Ziobro said.

He added that some of the cases were complicated and required thorough investigation and international assistance.

A panel of MPs probing suspected reprivatisation irregularities in the Polish capital said in October that Warsaw lost billions as a result of mishandled restitution deals when Gronkiewicz-Waltz was mayor.

Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Warsaw mayor from 2006 to 2018 and once a leading light in the opposition Civic Platform (PO) party, has refused to appear before the commission, arguing the body is unconstitutional.

The origins of the scandal date back to the seizure of property under the October 1945 Bierut Decree, named after former Polish communist leader Bolesław Bierut, which legalised the confiscation of private property.

Thousands of buildings were taken from their owners. After the fall of communism in Poland in 1989, it has been possible to submit claims for the return of such confiscated property.

Rafał Trzaskowski was elected the new mayor of Warsaw in October.


Source: IAR, TVP Info

tags: restitution
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