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Turkish MPs grill Tusk over pyramid scheme

By Kevin Holland, photo from Wikipedia, reused under the Creatives Commons license

Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, was given a seven hour grilling on Monday as part of a parliamentary commission looking into a failed pyramid scheme that took place on his watch as Poland’s prime minister.

The investigation is seen by some as a nakedly political attack on Tusk by the ruling Law & Justice party. Tusk is a likely challenger for Polish president in 2020 when his Brussels term expires.

“You need this spectacle so that every two weeks or every two months you can repeat insinuations, also on the subject of my family,” he told the committee in a tense exchange.

The scheme in question, Amber Gold, collapsed in 2012 while Tusk was prime minister.

Małgorzata Wassermann, a Law and Justice party MP, asked Tusk:

“What did you feel when your ministers were cheating 38 million Poles and thousands who lost their life savings because of Amber Gold? … Did you manage the Polish state well?”.

“Your questions are not only ungrounded but also improper,” replied Tusk.

It is believed around 200m EUR was lost due to the scheme, one of the largest frauds in Polish history. Critics say the regulator took too soft a line.

The company also created an airline, OLT, that employed Tusk’s son. It is claimed the company did so as a means of buying itself political protection, something Tusk denies.

The two founders of Amber Gold are looking at potential jail terms of 15 years.

After disappointing local election results for the Law & Justice party, opposition sources have suggested more such “show trials” may well be on the way.

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