Poland has been buying natural gas from the Russian mafia – that’s the conclusion of last week’s investigative journalism program “Superwizjer” aired by TVN. The allegations by reporters against top politicians are now being widely discussed both by Poland’s political class and by other media. In September 2003, the state-owned gas distributor PGNiG signed a contract with Eural Trans Gas controlled by Semen Mohylevych. He is known as one of the key personalities in the Russian mafia, or criminal underground. The Hungary-based company served as an intermediary in the contract to buy gas from the Russian giant Gazprom for the next three years.
According to Superwizjer journalists, then-Prime Minister Leszek Miller, secret service chief Andrzej Barcikowski and National Security Bureau chief Marek Siwiec all knew well who stood behind the gas supplier for Poland and did not react. Both Miller and Siwiec deny the accusations. The former prime minister said that he wasn’t responsible for short-term contracts. Siwiec said that he didn’t know about any links between Eural Trans Gas and the mafia. Miller and the infrastructure minister in his government, Marek Pol, have announced that they will sue TVN.
On the other hand, Barcikowski admits that his agency informed President Aleksander Kwasniewski about suspicious connections. But he also points that at the time PGNiG was under pressure to secure gas for the country immediately.
After the TV program was aired, opposition Law and Justice Party demanded information on Poland’s energy security from Donald Tusk’s government. Zbigniew Chlebowski, one of the leaders of the ruling Civic Platform Party, replied that two years ago Law and Justice while in power signed a new contract with RosUkrEnergo, which is also believed to be controlled by Mohylevych. According to information presented by Deputy Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak during parliamentary debate on energy, RosUkrEnergo annually supplies 2.3 bln cubic meters of Poland’s 14.5 bln natural gas imports.
Mohylevych was arrested on Jan. 24 in Moscow after he had lived without interference in Russia and other European countries for several years. He faces charges of tax evasion and is also believed to have taken part in illegal arms trades, drug trafficking, money laundering, several murders and many other crimes. He has been on the FBI and Interpol lists of most wanted criminals but managed to hide by using several passports and identities. It is unclear why he was arrested by Russians now, two months before their presidential elections, after he had managed to operate for years under the Yeltsin and Putin administrations.