Thursday 19 September 2019

EU's Donald Tusk grilled as part of investigation into pyramid scheme that cheated thousands of Poles out of their savings

European Council President Donald Tusk (Virginia Mayo/AP)
European Council President Donald Tusk (Virginia Mayo/AP)
Independent.ie Business Desk

Independent.ie Business Desk

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.

Mr 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 was focused on determining the scope of Mr Tusk's authority over state security and other offices and the time when he was made aware of the scheme.

The scam, which was revealed in 2012, has raised questions about the effectiveness of the government during Mr 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.

The televised questioning was part of the conservative ruling party's efforts to discredit Mr Tusk, a political foe who is still popular in Poland.

The commission's stern head, Malgorzata Wassermann, of the ruling Law and Justice party, on Sunday lost her bid for mayor of the city of Krakow in local elections.

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

Prosecutors say some 19,000 investors lost over 850 million zlotys (£173 million) in what turned out to be one of the biggest financial scandals in Poland.

Amber Gold officials are serving prison terms.

PA Media

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