Polish magazine gives prosecutors recordings

AP News
Posted: Jun 21, 2014 8:51 AM
Polish magazine gives prosecutors recordings

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The magazine that published compromising private conversations between top leaders handed over evidence to prosecutors on Saturday.

Jacek Kondracki, a lawyer for the weekly, Wprost, said he gave prosecutors a pen drive containing the evidence. The magazine has already published two conversations and says it has more it will publish Monday.

It is the latest development in a week-old scandal that threatens to topple the government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

Last weekend Wprost released a recording of a conversation between central bank head Marek Belka and Interior Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz in which they discuss how the bank could help the governing party win re-election in 2015, an apparent violation of the bank's independence.

Belka said that as a condition for his help, he wanted the finance minister to be replaced, something that happened four months later.

Prosecutors raided Wprost's office on Wednesday. They were filmed trying to rip a laptop out of the hands of chief editor Sylwester Latkowski. He resisted, saying he was protecting his anonymous source, and the officials left empty handed.

The prosecutors have since been criticized and accused of violating press freedoms.

Justice Minister Marek Biernacki said Friday that prosecutors failed to assure Wprost that its source was protected and used "inadequate measures" that led the situation to escalate. He said those efforts have "compromised" the prosecutors.

Prosecutors, who are independent of the government, deny that and say they have acted in accordance with the law.

Kondracki said he didn't know exactly what was on the pen drive, but that the evidence being handed over does not reveal the source of the secret recordings, which were made illegally.

The magazine says it received the material from a go-between and indicated that it does not know who made the recordings