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The Warsaw Voice » Business » August 14, 2012
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Amber Gold ceases to exist, PM’s son gets into trouble
August 14, 2012   
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Amber Gold, an unregulated Polish lender and company investing in gold, accused by financial watchdog KNF of operating without a license, will be liquidated, the company said in its statement posted on its website on Monday promising at the same time to pay back to its clients all their funds plus interest.

In its statement the troubled company said that as of August 13 it closed all of its outlets throughout the country and was terminating all of its deposit contracts with clients.

“In connection with the termination of the deposits by Amber Gold, all customers shall be reimbursed the full amount of principal plus interest accrued to the date of notice of termination and the clients will be informed about the reimbursements by letter”, the statement read.
The company also said it would be selling all of its assets in order to meet all the obligations.

It is uncertain whether thousands of depositors who had entrusted the company with some PLN 80 million, lured by promises of interest of up to 16 percent, will ever get any of their money back. The company's president, Marcin Plichta had made similar pledges before, alas without any effect.

Last week, the Gdansk-based lender suspended all pay-outs to clients, blaming a lack of liquidity on banks which canceled their agreements with the company. Plichta told a press conference that the move by banks came after Poland's Financial Supervisory Authority (KNF) issued a public warning about the company.

The KNF had been warning about Amber Gold for several years, placing it on a list along with a number of other companies for operating without a banking license.

Established in 2009 without falling under KNF’s supervision, Amber Gold had sold deposit contracts through which it invested clients' money in gold and other instruments, offering investors much higher returns than those being given by regulated banks.

The company went under spotlight late July when OLT Express, a budget airline it had bought earlier this year, filed for bankruptcy. Amber Gold said it was unable to continue funding the carrier or to return the money of thousands of its customers because its bank accounts had been blocked.

It was revealed on this occasion that Plichta had established several failed businesses around Poland previously, and that he had been convicted of embezzlement in 2005.

Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk suffered a wave of criticism from right-wing political parties after the revelations that his son Michal Tusk worked as a PR specialist for OLT Express and at the same time for the state-run Lech Walesa airport in Gdansk which serviced the carrier.

Tusk junior said in a magazine interview published Monday that his father had warned him not to get involved with OLT Express and its owner, Plichta.

Conservative opponents said PM should explain why he warned his son about OLT Express but not savers who were paying money into Amber Gold and may not have been aware of Plichta’s record.

They have also urged Tusk's government to explain how both companies were cleared for operation by state regulators and justice authorities.
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