Orlengate

Orlengate

Orlengate was the biggest corruption scandal in modern Polish political history. Disclosed in 2004, the scandal began with the arrest, on 7 February 2002, by the UOP (Office for State Protection) of Andrzej Modrzejewski, the CEO of PKN Orlen. In 2002 the Sejm (the lower house of the Polish parliament) convoked a PKN Orlen investigation commission to investigate the scandal.

Modrzejewski had been arrested on the order of the attorney general's office. The arrest was a source of controversy from the outset, carried out on the eve of a meeting of the board of directors. Two hours before the meeting Modrzejewki was released and the board of directors removed him from his position.

Wiesław Kaczmarek (Treasury Minister until January 6, 2003) stated in an interview for Gazeta Wyborcza published on 2 April 2004 that the real purpose of the arrest was to provoke Modrzejewki's dismissal and, as a consequence, not allow signing of a contract for oil supplies worth $14 billion. According to this interview the decision of the arrest was taken during an unofficial meeting in the Prime Minister's cabinet with Leszek Miller, Barbara Piwnik (Minister of Justice) and Zbigniew Siemiątkowski, the Chief of UOP. Wiesław Kaczmarek, who was also one of participants, disclosed the purpose of the meeting to avoid possible future accusations of a misconduct during his office of Treasury Minister.

PKN Orlen investigation commission

After the publication of the article the Katowice attorney's office began their investigation into the case. The Sejm's official commission for special services, also known as PKN Orlen investigation commission, started an independent investigation on 2 July 2004 and found that the UOP put pressure on the attorney's office. The Agencja Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego (State Security Agency) denied it. In April 2004 the commission for special services proposed convocation of a special investigation commission. This decision was taken by the Sejm on 6 July 2004.

The commission discovered new threads in the case, On 21 October 2004 it published notes form the Intelligence Agency describing a meeting between Jan Kulczyk and Władimir Ałganow in July 2003. Jan Kulczyk was explaining the importance of his contacts with Aleksander Kwaśniewski who could enable a privatisation of Rafineria Gdanska on advantageous conditions for Russians.

On 10 October 2004 the commission received recordings made by ABW of phone calls of lobbyist Marek Dochnal. He was negotiating with the Treasury Minister Zbigniew Kaniewski the conditions of sale to Russians some important Polish power companies. Dochnal was sent to the Minister by Sejm deputy Andrzej Pęczak of SLD, who collaborated with Dochnal receiving a luxurious car as a pay-off. The recordings include negotiations about the interior of the car.

The commission did not, however, reach a conclusion. By a part of public opinion it was considered a political tool of the rightist opposition parties (PiS, PO, LPR) to destroy presidential aspirations of Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz.

Commission members


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