Poland’s state prosecutor has charged the former head of the country’s financial regulator with corruption, according to Polish media reports. Marek Chrzanowski, who was detained in November 2018, by the Polish Anti-Corruption Agency (CBA) stands accused of soliciting a bribe from billionaire banker Leszek Czarnecki.
According to the indictment sent to a Warsaw court from the prosecutor’s office on December 31st, Chrzanowski has been charged with “exceeding his powers and failing to comply with his obligations, leading to the detriment of public or private interest in order to achieve benefits.”
Chrzanowski stepped down as head of the KNF, which safeguards banking practices in Poland, in November 2018, after the Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper published a report alleging that he had sought a multi-million dollar bribe from Czarnecki. In return, Czarnecki alleges that Chrzanowski offered him favourable treatment for his banks, which were facing stricter capital requirements and restructuring under government plans.
Czarnecki says that he has a secretly taped recording of a meeting he had with Chrzanowski during which the latter demanded he hire a certain lawyer who should be paid 1 percent of the value of Getin Noble Bank, which is owned by Chrzanowski. This would amount to some PLN40mn or €9.3 million euros.
Chrzanowski, who has denied the allegations, was replaced at the head of the KNF by former banker Jacek Jastrzebski.
Chrzanowski was appointed as the director of the Financial Supervision Authority in 2016 by the ruling Law and Justice party, which came to power partly on the back of a campaign that heavily criticised the perceived corruption of the liberal elites.
If found guilty, the former banker faces up to 10 years in prison.