Donald Tusk, former PM and the head of the European Council, was questioned by the Parliamentary Investigative Committee examining the Amber Gold Affair that broke out during his time in office.
The questioning lasted seven hours. MPs attempted to shed light into Mr Tusk’s knowledge about Amber Gold and the decisions undertaken as the scandal evolved. At times the questioning had to halt as members of the commission argued between themselves. Mr Tusk also clashed several times with the commission’s head, Małgorzata Wasserman.
Mr Tusk also told the commission that as PM he was first notified about irregularities at Amber Gold at the turn of May and June 2012. “Before August 2012, the moment when the issue became public… the only document I had received was the memo from ABW [Internal Security Agency], which I read in June 2012,” he said, which was three months before the company declared bankruptcy.
Asked about institutions that in his opinion failed, the former PM indicated the Internal Revenue Service, Office of Competition and Consumer Protection but also ‘some prosecutors’. “I do not speak of the prosecutor’s office as such, but some prosecutors have indeed failed.”
Michał Tusk’s involvement
Mr Tusk was also asked about his son Michał’s involvement in OLT Express airlines, Amber Gold’s investment. Commenting on his son’s possible role in the affair, Mr Tusk said he discouraged him from involvement in OLT Express airlines but at that time the investment was not suspicious from a legal standpoint.
Mr Tusk emphasised that it is untrue that he warned his son while many Poles were left in the dark. “Poles were warned, that has even been proved by this investigation. It may have failed to reach some of them, some might have ignored it. But the warning was formulated and published, according to law”, he said.
The former PM added that he had no knowledge about an alleged ban on enquiries into his son's ties to Amber Gold, calling such a ban "improbable".
Asked whether OLT was a threat to LOT Polish Airlines, Mr Tusk responded that, at the time, LOT was in a poor financial situation with or without OLT.
“LOT’s position was terrible but we are talking about a situation when the minister of finance estimated that PLN 1 billion was necessary to save it. Eventually, we dedicated that money to LOT .... and it was at the time of the financial crisis. The suggestion that OLT was a problem for LOT is, as you can understand, inadequate to the scale of the threat at that time.”
The former PM also warned that the ruling Law and Justice party is setting a dangerous precedent by attempting to find a political scapegoat for the scandal.
Mr Tusk added that the same could be done to incumbent PM Mateusz Morawiecki over current scandals in the financial industry, namely the GetBack stock which plummeted after the company failed to publish financial results.
In his opinion, it is not the role of the Prime Minister to direct secret services and prosecutors regarding the issues that they should investigate.
‘The Commission is left with insinuation’
Following the questioning, Ms Wasserman issued a statement which said that Mr Tusk failed to control the country in the face of the crisis.
Talking to reporters, Mr Tusk said that Ms Wasserman’s argument makes the commission contradict itself.
“From the very beginning, the commission’s argument was that I am personally responsible for the scandal as a person in charge”. He added that “after months of investigation the commission fails to formulate any charges and therefore it is left with this mild insinuation that I was not in control of the country.” ?
More about the Amber Gold Affair here.