Diplomat charged with corruption in visa scandal

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern expressed shock late last week at the deaths of two Polish builders in savage attacks in Dublin. The two men were stabbed in the head with a screwdriver recently near their home in the suburb of Drimnagh. Marius Szwajkos, 27, from Szczucin, died as a result of his injuries and Pawel Kalite, 26, from Suietokrzysky, died, police said. The friends had moved to Ireland from Poland to look for work more than a year ago. A police spokesman said there was no racist motive for the attack, while politicians blamed violence linked to Ireland’s youth drinking culture. Ahern, who is visiting Warsaw, expressed his condolences to his Polish counterpart Donald Tusk. “People in Ireland were shocked and saddened to hear of the violent attack on two young Polish men last weekend,” Ahern said. He said Ireland’s thoughts were with the families and friends of the two men. Police have arrested and questioned a

19-year-old and a 15-year-old in connection with the attacks. Both were subsequently released and a file in each case is being prepared by police for the country’s director of Public Prosecutions who decides if there is sufficient evidence for charges to be brought in a court. The spokesman told AFP that a third youth, aged 17, has been arrested for questioning. A Labor Party lawmaker who represents the area, Mary Upton, said those involved “in this dreadful and horrific attack have besmirched the community. “While details about this particular attack are still being pieced together, I have long held the view that binge drinking and substance abuse have reached crisis proportions among a certain group of young people,” Upton said. In the Dail (lower house of parliament) Sinn Fein Justice spokesman Aengus O Snodaigh said the government needed to address the youth drinking culture and associated youth violence in Ireland.

A Polish diplomat formerly accredited to Malaysia has been charged with taking bribes for issuing visas to citizens of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, Polish investigators said late last week. Identified only as Slawomir K., the suspect worked as the Polish consul in Kuala Lumpur between 2005-2007. Investigators from Poland’s Central AntiCorruption Bureau (CBA) suspect he issued at least 200 visas in exchange for bribes ranging from 500 to 2,000 euro ($755 to $3,019). He is alleged to have obtained at least 1.1 mln zloty (312,000 euro, $471,000). “The investigation is continuing as investigators suspect the consul may have issued hundreds more visas for a much greater sum of money,” CBA official Tomasz Fratczak said. In August 2007, the suspect was called back to the Foreign Ministry in Warsaw from his post in Malaysia as investigators began to sift through evidence. If found guilty as charged, he faces up to 15 years in prison. A Warsaw court has ordered him to remain in police custody for three months pending trial. Poland became a member of the EU in 2004 and more recently in December 2007 joined the Schengen travel zone allowing free mobility between 24 European states.

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