Arrest warrant on tycoon Krauze lifted

The arrest warrant for business tycoon Ryszard Krauze has been lifted.

One of Poland’s richest citizens can now come back to Poland and will not be automatically detained. The opposition Law and Justice party suggests that this decision is connected with the taking over of the Ministry of Justice by Zbigniew Cwiakalski.

Krauze, owner of Prokom, one of Poland’s biggest software companies, and many other businesses, is charged with false testimony as well as obstruction of justice in connection with an action of the Central Anticorruption Bureau (CBA) against Ministry of Agriculture employees, which failed after an information leak.

According to prosecutors, Krauze, former Interior Minister Janusz Kaczmarek, former Police Chief Konrad Kornatowski and Jaromir Netzel, the former chairman of the country’s biggest insurer, PZU, were the people responsible for the failure. The arrest warrant was issued on Aug. 30. Krauze since then has remained abroad, officially on business.

The warrant was lifted on Nov. 15, a day before the new Donald Tusk government stepped into office. In this cabinet, Cwiakalski replaced Zbigniew Ziobro, who personally appeared at many press conferences devoted to Krauze’s case.

The opposition party responded to the lifting of the warrant with a press conference at which it called this decision scandalous and pointed to the fact that Cwiakalski was the author of an expert opinion which was used by Krauze’s pleaders.

Some Law and Justice politicians called on Cwiakalski to resign. But the justice minister said the decision on Krauze was taken before he assumed office and he didn’t even know about it until last week. He also declared that his expert opinion was only based on Supreme Court verdicts and not on Krauze’s situation.

According to Cwiakalski, Krauze’s case will be handled the same as that of any other citizen and when back in Poland, he should testify. Even though the arrest warrant was lifted, the charges against him weren’t. Cwiakalski’s candidacy for the justice post was strongly opposed by Law and Justice as well as President Lech Kaczynski. They both pointed out that in the past Cwiakalski was an advocate of people charged with corruption and that this stands in opposition with his new role of chief prosecutor – an office which is automatically held by the justice minister.

Cwiakalski argued that he is no longer an active lawyer and stressed that in the past many advocates had become justice ministers. He was also backed by Tusk, who expressed his full trust in him.

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