Skip to comments.Poland's former president's top aide arrested for corruption
Posted on 01/19/2007 10:54:34 AM PST by JoAnka
Mieczysław Wachowski, top aide and head of the chancellery of Poland's former president Lech Wałęsa, has been arrested for two months on charges of corruption.
Wachowski is said to have promised to arrange for the release from jail of an Iraqi businessman, Hassan Al-Zubaidi, arrested on charges of economic crime, in exchange for a two million złoty (over half a million Euro) bribe.
According to Al-Zubaidi, Wachowski claimed that he could arrange for the case to be settled in cooperation with the then Prime Minister of Poland, Leszek Miller, who was to accept part of the bribe. However, Poland's Attorney General, Janusz Kaczmarek, has said that there is currently no evidence to support allegations against Leszek Miller, other than the testimony of Al-Zubaidi about what Wachowski told him.
It is not the first time, that Wachowski is subject to investigation in connections with his alleged involvement in organized crime, says investigative journalist Leszek Szymowski:
'Journalists wrote many articles about Wachowski. For example, in 1995 he was responsible for the amnesty of a boss of one of Poland's biggest organized crime groups. In 2004, a criminal arrested by DEA in New York said that Mieczysław Wachowski helped his international criminal group with their affairs in Poland. If that indeed was the case, we will probably know this year.'
According to Attorney General Janusz Kaczmarek this time the evidence against Mieczysław Wachowski is very strong. Searching his residence, the Internal Security Agency found secret documents, which should not be in the possession of the former head of the presidential chancellery of Lech Wałęsa. It has not been revealed what exactly these documents were, but it's possible Wachowski had them for the purpose of blackmail, fears Tomasz Sakiewicz, editor in chief of the Gazeta Polska weekly, who has studied the case. According to Sakiewicz, Mieczysław Wachowski's social connections might be the key to his alleged criminal activity.
'I'm afraid that part of Wachowski's activity was criminal. During his official activity, when he was a minister in the president's office, he was an unofficial chief of Polish secret service and Polish army. He had a lot of friends and cooperators among officers, intelligence and secret service and these connections are still continued today. They are now used to make business and unofficial politics. The vice-minister of Justice told me that Wachowski was in possession of secret documents which could be used for blackmail.'
Allegations have also been voiced by journalists of his involvement with communist era secret military services. Investigative journalist Leszek Szymowski again:
'Since 1971, Mieczysław Wachowski was an agent of the communist military secret service. He played the role that the officers of the communist military planned for him. The fact that Mieczysław Wachowski collaborated with the secret services was proven by Inga Rosińska and Paweł Rabiej in their book "Who are you, Mr. Wachowski?"'
The friendship between Mieczysław Wachowski and Poland's former president Lech Wałęsa dates back to the communist times, continues Leszek Szymowski:
'At the end of the 1970s, Wachowski was one of the most important friends of Lech Wałęsa, the leader of "Solidarity". He stayed with Lech Walesa up to the 1990s, when Lech Walesa was the president of Poland. But what is intere, sting is that on the first day of martial law in Poland, Mieczysław Wachowski was arrested, but on the next day, he was free. Up to now, we don't know why it happened.'
Lech Walesa defends his top aide. In an interview for the "Dziennik" daily Wałęsa suggested that Wachowski's arrest is a case of political revenge by the Kaczyński brothers who lost a case in court against Wachowski. He added however, that if Wachowski is indeed guilty of breaking the law, then he cannot count on Wałęsa's support.
Attorney general Janusz Kaczmarek dismisses the accusations of political motives behind the prosecutor's interest in Wachowski.
'The wronged parties reported the case to the prosecutor's office. The prosecutor's office did not specifically look for them. These persons came and gave evidence and that's how the charges originated.'
Also, Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro has said that Wachowski has long held an undeserved immunity in Polish political circles. Now, that this time is over, his only defense is to claim that he is persecuted for political reasons. Politicians should not be allowed to evade justice, Minister Ziobro added.
If proven guilty, Wachowski may face the sentence of up to 10 years in prison.