Polish police raid companies linked to Ciech privatisation

By bne IntelliNews April 6, 2016

Polish anti-corruption police force CBA raided investment firm Kulczyk Holding, as well as Ciech, on April 6, as part of an ongoing investigation into the 2014 privatisation of the chemicals company.

The ruling Law and Justice (PiS), which took power in November, has vowed to scrutinise privatisation deals struck by the previous Civic Platform (PO) government. The statist party insists the state should not have sold stakes in important companies.

Houses belonging to Ciech executives were also searched during the latest action. The raids come around six months after a high profile operation connected to the case carried out at the offices of the Warsaw Stock Exchange. That action took place just nine days before the general election at which PiS won a large majority.

KI Chemistry, a unit of Kulczyk Holding, acquired close to 40% in Ciech in 2014 for PLN619mn (€149.5mn at the time). KI Chemistry was the sole bidder in the process. Allegations quickly surfaced of opaque negotiations between then deputy treasury minister Rafal Baniak and Kulczyk representative Piotr Wawrzynowicz.

In October, the CBA questioned Pawel Tamborski, who was CEO of the Warsaw Stock Exchange at the time. Tamborski, who has since left the bourse, was another deputy treasury minister at the time of Ciech’s privatisation. CBA launched the investigation in the aftermath of the so-called Waitergate scandal, in which a number of private conversations between politicians and businessmen were covertly taped in a Warsaw restaurant.

A Kulczyk Holding spokeswoman told local media the CBA entry was mistargeted; KI Chemistry’s documents relating to the privatisation are at the company’s headquarters in Luxembourg, she claims.

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