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Scams and swindles

Poland’s Tusk caught up in probe into pyramid scheme

  • EU Council head questioned by lawmakers over scam that cheated thousands of Poles out of their savings while he was prime minister
PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 November, 2018, 6:47pm
UPDATED : Monday, 05 November, 2018, 6:48pm

Donald Tusk, the head of the European Council, was being questioned in his native Poland on Monday as part of a parliamentary investigation into a pyramid scheme that cheated thousands of Poles out of their savings during his time as prime minister.

Tusk was sworn in by the special multi-party commission that has already questioned dozens of state officials in its effort to pinpoint responsibility for the scam.

Addressing him as “prime minister”, the commission focused on determining the scope of Tusk’s authority over state security and other offices and when he was made aware of the scheme.

The scam, which was revealed in 2012, raised questions about the effectiveness of the government during Tusk’s term, from 2007-2014, with authorities allegedly failing to react in time to warning signals about the Amber Gold financial institution, which turned out to be a pyramid scheme.

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The televised questioning is seen by some as part of the conservative ruling party’s efforts to discredit Tusk, a political foe who is still popular in Poland.

One of the themes of the investigation has been the fact that Tusk’s son Michal was employed by an airline owned by Amber Gold.

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Prosecutors say some 19,000 investors lost over 850 million zlotys (US$225 million) in what turned out to be one of the biggest financial scandals in Poland.

Amber Gold authors are serving prison terms.