Corruption scandal shakes Polish Financial Supervisory Authority
“The reputation of financial supervision is ruined”, said former Prime Minister and president of the National Bank of Poland Marek Belka commenting on the scandal that shook the country after “Gazeta Wyborcza” broadsheet revealed that Marek Chrzanowski, the president of KNF [Financial Supervisory Authority] presented a corruption offer to Leszek Czarnecki, a Polish billionaire and the owner of Getin Noble Bank, Idea Bank and Plus Bank.
Chrzanowski suggested a particular person should be employed at Czarnecki’s bank in return for favours of the Financial Supervisory Authority and protection against possible bankruptcy. The protégé’s remuneration was to be directly linked to bank’s financial results and thus reach as much as 40 million PLN. The conversation between the two men was documented using a hidden recorder brought by the bank owner. The recording was submitted to Prosecutor’s Office by Czarnecki and his attorney who reported the crime. They pointed to the existence of an organised crime group whose aim was to take over Czarnecki’s bank.
After the scandal broke out, Marek Chrzanowski quickly resigned from the position of the president of KNF and was replaced by Jacek Jastrzębski. Still, Chrzanowski denies the accusations. The Prosecutor’s Office initiated an inquiry into the case but faces strong criticism due to a delayed response. KNF started an internal audit. The price of Getin Noble Bank’s stocks on Warsaw Stock Exchange plummeted. Financial Stability Committee held an extraordinary meeting due to media frenzy.
Financial Supervisory Authority is an institution supervising the financial market, payment institutions, banks, capital market and insurance market. The president of the National Bank of Poland assured that Polish banking and financial system are stable and safe. In Poland, bank deposits are guaranteed up to the amount of 100,000 EUR per person. The Minister of Entrepreneurship Jadwiga Emilewicz commented that public institutions reacted properly and that the banking sector is safe.