Tusk grilled by Polish MPs in pyramid scheme probe
WARSAW — European Council President
for seven hours on Monday before a
financial scheme that
while he was Poland's prime minister.
into the scheme known as
had strong political
as Tusk is seen as a
candidate for Polish president in 2020,
after his term in Brussels
"You need this spectacle so that every
two weeks or every two months you can
also on the subject of my family,
Tusk told the committee headed by Małgorzata Wassermann,
an MP with the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS).
Wassermann and other PiS members
of the committee
at Tusk over his personal
responsibility for Amber Gold,
which collapsed in 2012;
Tusk was prime minister from 2007-2014.
"What did you feel when your
ministers were cheating
38 million Poles and thousands who lost their life
savings because of Amber Gold?"
she asked Tusk,
alleging that the former prime minister had dropped
the ball in not halting the explosive growth of Amber Gold.
"Did you manage the Polish state well?" she asked.
"Your questions are not only ungrounded but also improper,"
snapped Tusk. "I’ll not comment on your insinuations
Amber Gold grew quickly by promising unrealistic
returns for investors
Regulators did issue warnings about the company,
something Tusk mentioned, but they were
for failing to act more decisively.
Prosecutors put losses associated with the
at about 850 million złoty (€198 million),
making it one of the largest frauds in Polish history.
The company also founded a short-lived airline,
OLT, that briefly employed Tusk's son Michał —
that Amber Gold was looking for political
protection by being associated with Tusk's family.
He rejected those accusations.
The two Amber Gold founders are in jail
facing charges that could send them to prison for 15 years each.
After the hearing, Tusk told reporters:
"This commission was obviously created on the political
orders of PiS,"
adding that he was most upset over
his microphone being cut off during testimony
The hearing came one day after the second round of Poland's local elections,
where Wassermann was easily defeated in the contest
for mayor of Kraków,
Poland's second-largest city.
It was part of a poor performance
for PiS which saw the right-wing party lose ground
in the country's generally liberal cities.
PiS did better in elections for regional assemblies
two weeks ago, but despite taking
35 percent of the vote, a
of opposition parties led by the opposition Civic Platform
founded by Tusk held onto power in a majority
of the country's 16 regions.
Those elections set the ground for next year's European
and national parliamentary elections and for the presidential
vote in 2020,
where Tusk is seen as a threat to incumbent Andrzej Duda.