EU urged to intervene to protect self-made Polish businessman

| April 10, 2014 | 0 Comments
IMG_1662The European Union is being urged to intervene in a case that some say is reminiscent of the ‘black forces’ of Communism.

Marek Kmetko (pictured), a Polish-born, self-made businessman, says he has effectively become stateless as a result of a long-running “campaign” against him by the Polish authorities.

His case has now started to set alarm bells ringing at the heart of the EU with the European Parliament currently considering a petition about his case.

Denis MacShane, a former Europe minister in the UK, has thrown his weight behind efforts to clear Kmetko’s name and get full compensation for the way legal systems have allegedly been used to “destroy” his business to “benefit competitors loyal to ruling political elites.”

MacShane said: “Mr Kmetko remains proudly Polish, a patriot who speaks no other language than that of Mickiewicz, Milosz and Pope John Paul II. But someone, somewhere in the deep Polish state has decided he is an enemy of the ruling political elites.

“They tried to eliminate him using police raids and judicial measures. Now they are trying to destroy him with slander and innuendo.”

The complex case dates back to the 1990s when Kmetko set up a haulage business only to see his 300 top-of-the-range lorries taken from him a short time later by police without a warrant.

Two decades later, by now operating from Germany where he felt the legal system in place was a “better guarantee” of business security than the more volatile Poland, Kmetko employed 7,000 Polish workers and provided workers for more than 140 Polish firms.

His employment agency helped Polish start-up businesses with a tailored supply of labour and 7,000 Poles who otherwise might have been without work were in paid employment.

But history repeated itself when armed police, disguised and unidentifiable, once again raided his business premises and effectively shut down operations early in November 2013.Elderly people were allegedly dragged from their beds to be interrogated about their sons and daughters.

The European Court has in the past criticised Poland´s practice of pre-trial detention.

The Polish authorities originally accused Kmetko of money-laundering but a lengthy investigation by the Berlin police and relevant authorities cleared him.

He remains involved in a long-running legal dispute with the Polish state which he believes took advantage of “chaotic and corrupt” relations between former communist officials, criminal elements and politicians anxious to get money to run party political campaigns after 1990.

With his business and reputation facing possible ruin, he has now appealed to the EU to intervene and has launched a €10 billion lawsuit against the Polish authorities.

His lawyers allege that Polish prosecutors failed to supply any legal warrants for the seizure of property owned by his firm, for the freezing of company bank accounts or seizure of company offices in Wroclaw following the November raids by the Prosecutor’s office.

His legal team have set a deadline for the authorities to provide full documentation justifying the actions by 16 April and to return to the company all corporate property and assets held by his office by that date.

Meanwhile, after more than five months, six employees of his company are still held on pre-trial bail without any formal charges having yet been filed.

One Polish centre-right MEP said: “After the Polish Foreign Minister assisted his French and German colleagues to topple the Ukrainian dictator it is time to solve an internal problem: the KGB-ish Polish tax police.

“The problem is that the country’s tax officials can detain without charge any business executive they do not like. Nor are they obliged to present to courts within a reasonable delay clear evidence or proof to justify their arrests.”

He added: “What is worse are the reports that tax police are allowed to keep some proceeds from any interventions they make, which gives them an incentive to suspend businesses from operating until moneys are paid over.”

The deputy further said he had raised his concerns “at the highest levels” of the EU, adding: “It is always difficult to criticize police raids. Polish politicians can easily face accusations, justified or false, of dubious relationships with the business world; for this reason they are reluctant to criticize or investigate the tax police.

“Any politicians who dare to raise the issue can find themselves smeared in the different media outlets in Poland as the Polish police operation still retains many of the arts of the pre-1989 era of black propaganda, disinformation, blackmailing and the threat of media exposure.”

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Category: A Frontpage, Business, Entrepreneurs, EU, European Commission

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