Selfish charity: Three detained on extortion charges

The Central Anti-corruption Bureau (CBA) has detained three individuals suspected of extorting some PLN 41 mln (EUR 9.58 mln) in state and EU funds and had already been proven to have extorted between PLN 14 mln (EUR 3.27 mln) and 15 mln (EUR 3.50 mln) depending on various sources.

The suspects were detained as part of an investigation into irregularities of the Pomeranian Special Economic Zone (PSSE) located mostly in northwestern Poland but also with available investment areas in central and southeastern Polish provinces.

The investigation revolves around clinching unprofitable deals, laundering of crime money and extortion of donations worth EUR 9.58 mln. So far 12 people have faced charges. Among the accused is the former head of the PSSE Teresa K. (name withheld in line with the Polish privacy law) and former PSSE deputy head Józef B.

The three detained individuals were linked to two Gdynia-based entities collaborating with the criminal group. The companies were used by Wojciech K.’s criminal group to extort state and EU funding.

The entities signed fictitious agreements with the PSSE and issued fraudulent VAT invoices.

The State Prosecutor’s Office (PK) press department reported that the companies used an ostensibly innovative project, namely designing 3D holographic display unit and also designing an active system that would manage the heat flow in data centres, as a pretext to acquire the funds.

Moreover, the three detained suspects took part in fraud crime to the detriment of a further company based in the northern Polish city of Sopot.

The PK reported that “the investigation proved that the detainees brought about an extortion of about PLN 14 mln [EUR 3.27 mln]. Two [out] of the three detained individuals also took part in the so-called laundering of extorted PLN 610,000-worth [EUR 142,611] money.” The amount of extorted money stands in contradiction to what CBA spokesman Temistokles Brodowski said, assessing the value at PLN 15 mln (EUR 3.50 mln).

While the PK has already decided not to arrest one of the three detained individuals, it is yet to decide what measures to take with regard to the other two.