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POLAND: Former KNF Chairman Apprehended

Marek Chrzanowski, the former Chairman of the Financial Supervisory Authority (KNF) was detained by the Central Anticorruption Bureau (CBA). Earlier this month, the CBA searched Chrzanowski’s office and home in connection to the bribery accusation reported by Polish banker Leszek Czarnecki (Getin Noble Bank and Idea Bank). The prosecutor’s office in Katowice is currently leading the inquiry into the case and has pressed charges against Chrzanowski for the abuse of power for personal gain of a third person – the result of yesterday’s questioning will determine whether the prosecutor will apply for temporary detention.

Jacek Jastrzębski, the current Chairman of the KNF announced that an internal investigation will be conducted by the financial regulator – it is expected to be complete mid-January. Jastrzębski also plans to introduce new interim measures, which will limit contacts of senior KNF officials with representatives of overseen banks and financial entities.

It still remains to be seen how the scandal will affect the political scene. The opposition Civic Platform is calling for a special parliamentary investigative committee, however, PiS remains adamant that the sequence of events following the disclosure of the case proved that institutional and legal mechanisms did not fail – therefore a committee is not necessary. While the PM’s quick reaction to the case cushioned some of the public outrage, the context of the scandal points to internal divisions within the ruling party. Divisions which can result in further problems ahead of the 2019 elections.