Marian Banaś, a Law and Justice (PiS) politician and recently appointed chief of Poland’s Supreme Audit Office has been heavily embroiled in a corruption scandal, another to hit the ruling party just weeks before the country votes in a parliamentary election. Mr Banaś served as finance minister from June to August this year, and is a key figure in the party.
According to media reports, Mr Banaś concealed his possession of a tenement house in Krakow from his financial disclosures. This property was then revealed to have deep running connections with a local, criminally-run escort agency. Mr Banaś denied any connection, claiming that he is burdened by “insulations” rather than “charges”. Mr Banaś has since labelled the report as “a great manipulation and provocation against me and the government.”
He claimed that the house was given to him by an old friend whom he met in the Home Army, which he then renovated. In his disclosures he claimed he would sell the house, which never happened. Banaś claims that this was due to the buyer’s inability to get a loan. Investigations have further revealed that Mr Banaś agreed to rent the property for 5000 zloty a month, 10,000 zloty lower than its estimated market value, according to Gazeta Wyborcza.
Mr Banas claims that “the amount was lower for a simple reason: I entered into a preliminary contract and just because the tenant was to buy this tenement house meant that I agreed to a lower rent, that the remaining receivables will be settled when selling the house.”
Just as the scandal could not apparently get any worse for Mr Banaś, further investagiaton by journalist Bertold Kittel revealed criminal links. When Mr Kittel entered the property he found at the reception an infamous Krakow criminal known as one of the brothers K – Wiesław or Janusz, who control escort agencies in the region. While still under investigation, there have been suggestions of contact between the two.
However, Mr Banas argues that “showing them in a juxtaposition and in the context of my tenement house is an absolute abuse”.
Poland’s central anti corruption bureau (CBA) is currently inspecting the asset declarations and the audit is expected to be completed at the end of October. Banaś has maintained his confidence in the results and said that he will continue to defend his good name. He has since asked the speaker of the Sejm if he may take unpaid leave until his financial statements have been fully examined.
“I will not allow myself to be shaken with my authority, because it was an action directed not so much against me as against the government and the United Right, because it is now a hot election period. Simply by discrediting a man associated with the government of Law and Justice… to attempt to show irregularities. And this is absolutely not true,” said Mr Banas, via TVN24.pl.