WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The head of Poland’s financial regulatory body resigned Tuesday following a report alleging that he had sought a multimillion dollar bribe from the owner of a troubled bank in exchange for…
WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The head of Poland’s financial regulatory body resigned Tuesday following a report alleging that he had sought a multimillion dollar bribe from the owner of a troubled bank in exchange for favors.
Marek Chrzanowski, the director of the Financial Supervision Authority, said he was innocent and described the allegations as “dishonest and unfounded attacks.” But he told the PAP news agency that he was taking the step “out of responsibility for the efficient functioning of the supervision over the financial market and the need for a thorough explanation of the matter for the good of the state.”
The development comes after the daily Gazeta Wyborcza reported that Chrzanowski sought the bribe during a March meeting with the controlling shareholder of Getin Noble Bank, Leszek Czarnecki, in return for favorable treatment.
Czarnecki recorded the exchange, which the newspaper published.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki asked prosecutors and the security services to look into the claims and said he was summoning the regulator for a meeting the next day.
Zbigniew Ziobro, who is both prosecutor general and justice minister, vowed a quick and thorough investigation, which he said he was taking charge of personally.
He said the investigation would focus on suspicions that a crime was committed by the head of the financial regulator. He noted that a separate investigation is already ongoing into alleged problems at the bank.
The bank has been losing money and saw its ratings downgraded by Moody’s twice in the past year, most recently in October.
According to the allegations, Chrzanowski, the financial regulator, asked the bank owner to hire a certain lawyer and pay him in exchange for protection during the bank’s restructuring. Gazeta Wyborcza reported the amount of the bribe that was sought was 40 million zlotys ($10.5 million).
Chrzanowski was appointed in 2016 by then-prime minister Beata Szydlo of the ruling Law and Justice party, which came to power on promises to fight corruption.