Deputy Treasury Minister denies allegations in Poland's ongoing tape scandal
June 30, 2014
Deputy Treasury Minister Rafal Baniak
Poland is working on the creation of state coal repository based on the assets of state coal exporter Weglokoks and has never considered buying coal importer and trader Skladywegla.pl, whose owner Marek Falenta faces prosecution in relation to the recent tape scandal, deputy Treasury Minister Rafal Baniak said in a press statement on Friday.
Baniak reportedly made an offer for purchasing by the Treasury Ministry of Skladywegla.pl from businessman Marek Falenta, now a suspect in the tape scandal, Falenta himself said in an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza daily, adding that he links the refusal to sell the firm with his apprehension by state security agency ABW. According to Falenta, the conversation happened a week before his apprehension.
Deputy Treasury Minister Baniak denied that such an offer was made.
"The possibility of buying Sklady Wegla has never been analyzed or discussed by anybody within the Treasury Ministry" or by the inter-ministerial team for coal, Baniak said.
"At the team's forum I have publicly presented a stance assuming creation of state coal repository on the basis of Weglokoks assets," he said. "Such a proposal was included in a document that was sent to the PM's Chancellery."
At issue is Poland's recent commitment to support Polish coal miners, which suffer in competition with importers of cheaper Russian coal, such as Sklady Wegla.
In his lower house address for a vote of confidence this week, PM Donald Tusk said that the publication of the controversial tapes could have been motivated by Poland cracking down on illegal interests of shadow enterprises, including coal traders.
The idea to create a state coal repository emerged in May, Baniak said. Special working teams were set up by state coal group Kompania Weglowa and Weglokoks on May 8. A few days later a notification about works was sent to another state miner, Katowicki Holding Weglowy.
Falenta is facing charges of cooperation in organizing illegal wire-tapping of top Polish officials, a scandal that broke out after the mid-June publication of recordings by the weekly Wprost.