Warsaw exchange chief fired over girlfriend's film

AP News
Posted: Jan 17, 2013 12:07 PM

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The president of the Warsaw Stock Exchange was fired Thursday for allegedly soliciting listed companies to finance a film featuring his girlfriend, a 27-year-old former model.

Ludwik Sobolewski, 47, was suspended on Dec. 21 following reports that he and one of his employees were using work email addresses to ask companies listed on the exchange to fund the film. Some companies are reported to have contributed, but the amounts or names have not been released.

The movie, called "Last Minute," is a comedy about a Polish family's disastrous vacation in Egypt. Sobolewski's girlfriend, Anna Szarek, both stars and co-produces it. The brown-eyed blonde started her career as a model, including for the NEXT agency in New York.

Poland's Treasury Ministry, the majority owner of the exchange, suspected Sobolewski had abused his position in business unrelated to the stock exchange. Minister Mikolaj Budzanowski, who had pressed for Sobolewski to be fired, has asked the state Anti-Corruption Office to investigate the case.

Sobolewski maintains he did nothing wrong, arguing that the government cannot dictate what he does in his free time.

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On Thursday, an Extraordinary Assembly of the Warsaw Stock Exchange shareholders fired Sobolewski and appointed Adam Maciejewski as the new president. A graduate of Warsaw's School of Economics, Maciejewski has worked at the Stock Exchange since 1994, and has been a member of its board since 2006.

The movie did eventually raise enough money for filming — it will hit Poland's theaters on Feb. 22.