Prominent Polish lawyer charged with fraud tied to Idea Bank
19 Oct 2020

Polish prosecutors said on Saturday they had brought fraud charges against a prominent lawyer and former deputy prime minister who is a vocal critic of the government, and prohibited him from leaving Poland or practising law.

Prosecutors also denied mistreating Roman Giertych, who fainted during his detention on Thursday and is currently defending billionaire bank owner Leszek Czarnecki, a thorn in the government’s side who is suspected of cheating clients of his Idea Bank.

The Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA) said on Thursday that Giertych had taken part in a scheme to take money out of a company and launder funds, to the tune of more than 90 million zlotys ($23 million).

Giertych’s lawyer said the charges were misplaced and that he would challenge them.

Civic rights ombudsman Adam Bodnar said on Thursday that the circumstances of Giertych’s arrest raised “serious concerns”.

Prosecutor Jacek Motawski told a press conference on Saturday that any suggestion that Giertych’s “health condition … resulted from unauthorised interference by the CBA officers” was “completely unfounded”.

Giertych was also representing Czarnecki two years ago when the billionaire alleged that the head of the state financial regulatory authority, Marek Chrzanowski, appointed by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, had sought a bribe from one of Czarnecki’s banks in return for protection. Chrzanowski has since been indicted on corruption charges.

By Agnieszka Barteczko and Pawel Florkiewicz, Reuters, 17 October 2020

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