There is no justified fear that Sławomir Nowak will be lame in the investigation, and there are flaws in the way the investigation is conducted by the prosecutor’s office and the Central Anticorruption Bureau. As tvn24.pl learned unofficially, the main arguments of the court when deciding to release the arrest against the former minister of transport.
Behind closed doors to the public, judge Agnieszka Domańska from the District Court in Warsaw for several minutes on Monday justified her decision to refuse to extend the detention and to revoke it immediately. Thanks to this, shortly before 4 pm on Monday, Sławomir Nowak, former transport minister in the government of Donald Tusk, and then the head of the Ukrainian road construction agency, he left the walls of the arrest in Białołęka in Warsaw.
– The justification was very extensive and detailed. The judge knew over 60 volumes of the case files perfectly well, and the written version of the decision will be ready within seven days – we heard in the court from a person who knew the course of the meeting.
Officially, little is known. Prosecutor Jan Drelewski, who is the host of the investigation, commented briefly after his departure: – We believe that the bail may pose a threat to the investigation.
He also announced that he would challenge the decision of the district court.
– Even before that, the appellate court, although it did not decide to release Nowak, had numerous and critical comments on the work of the investigators. We also have little chance of success – comments one of the prosecutors who knows the backstage of the case.
According to our information – from numerous sources – subsequent courts indicated that the investigation should be conducted differently. Earlier and today, the court pointed out to the prosecutor’s office and the CBA that they should concentrate their efforts on the main thread of the investigation related to the most serious allegations. That is, Sławomir Nowak founded and led an organized criminal group to take bribes and launder money. We disclosed the details of these allegations on tvn24.pl.
– The point is that in subsequent applications for arrest the prosecutor did not announce any specific actions in this thread – explains one of our interlocutors.
There is no fear of cheating
According to unofficial information from tvn24.pl, in its justification, the judge questioned the main argument that, according to the prosecutor, justified further arrest. It is about the threat of deception on the part of Nowak, i.e. influencing the investigation and witnesses.
– It’s illogical. Because the testimonies of numerous witnesses are beneficial for Sławomir Nowak. He has no interest in influencing their testimony – so, according to our sources, the judge was to say justifying her decision.
The testimonies that are favorable for Nowak are only part of the evidence. Because apart from that, there are also numerous documents that were secured during the searches by the CBA and the prosecutor’s office. However, since they are secured, the former minister of transport also cannot obstruct the investigation in this matter.
The court lifted the arrest, but applied other preventive measures, i.e. a million zloty bail (it gave the suspect 14 days to pay it), police supervision and a ban on leaving the country combined with the collection of a passport. Which means the court still believes that there is a likelihood that there has been a crime.
The court’s decision was criticized by the head of the prosecutor’s office, Zbigniew Ziobro. He announced that if it was not changed in the second instance, he would reveal evidence against Nowak.
The prosecutor’s office investigation into three threads.
The first is the suspicion that Nowak created an organized criminal group to derive illegal benefits from managing Ukrawtodor (the Ukrainian equivalent of the General Directorate for National Roads and Motorways). According to the prosecutor’s office, he was to take bribes for decisions favorable to the Ukrainian and Turkish construction companies.
However – as we have confirmed in independent sources – although a joint Polish-Ukrainian investigative group has been operating since the summer of 2019, the representatives of these companies have not been charged with giving bribes.
In Ukraine, criminal charges have only been brought against Nowak’s assistant, but they do not relate to functioning in an organized criminal group and she has not even been requested to arrest her.
Cash from CEOs
The second thread concerns the suspicion that the presidents of the largest state-owned companies, appointed during the PO-PSL government, transferred part of their salaries to Nowak each month. In this way – according to the CBA and the prosecutor’s office – they were supposed to pay in return for taking up their positions. And it was in this thread that the court pointed out that the investigators had only testimonies favorable to Nowak.
– Jacek P., his close friend and associate, who was arrested on the same day as Nowak, is charging him. It was Jacek P. who informed us that there was such – common – mechanism of paying for Nowak. The money was to be transferred, among others, by the former president of Orlen, but also other heads of the largest state-owned companies – one of the investigators tells us, asking for anonymity.
Another way of remunerating Nowak was to be the consulting company Europe Partners, which was founded in 2017 by Nowak together with his colleague Łukasz Z. He is also a person connected with the world of politics – Z. adviser to Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz. According to Polish investigators, companies interested in issuing favorable decisions by Ukrawtodor bought services from Europe Partners.
But Łukasz Z., arrested at the beginning of the year, was also released. The court released him from custody in early April. Then, in its justification, the court wrote that the CBA and the prosecutor’s office had collected materials that could prove a joint, criminal activity with Sławomir Nowak.
At the same time, he pointed out that the testimonies of subsequent witnesses did not confirm that Europe Partners only carried out “facade” activities, i.e. serving as a screen for giving Nowak financial benefits.
In this thread, Polish investigators want to interrogate, inter alia, mayor of Kiev, former boxer Vitaly Klychko.
Just after leaving the courtroom, attorney Joanna Broniszewska, representing Nowak, said: – I can assure you that the details related to unlawful activities undertaken by law enforcement agencies and the state will certainly be disclosed in the course of this case – announced the lawyer.
Our information shows that there can be two situations.
In its oral justification, the court indicated that some of the evidence (favorable to Nowak) collected by the prosecutor’s office and the CBA is not made available to the defense.
The defense itself has recently alerted the District Bar Council that the prosecutor’s office and the CBA may have breached the defense secrecy. During the search at the headquarters of Europe Partners, documents were collected regarding the cooperation of members of the company’s governing bodies (Łukasz Z. and Sławomir Nowak) with defense lawyers. The decision on these searches has already been appealed to the court by defense lawyers. They also lodged a complaint with the superiors of the prosecutor conducting the investigation.
Millions with Jacek P.
The last of the most serious threads in the investigation concerns cash found by agents of the Central Anticorruption Bureau in two apartments belonging to another of Nowak’s associates. It is about his long-time friend, a chartered accountant, Jacek P. He kept over PLN 4 million in a specially constructed hiding place and in a safe.
– The CBA secured funds from corruption offenses committed by Sławomir N. The money was hidden in specially prepared hiding places. Officers secured cash in the amount of over 4 million, including EUR 536,400, USD 470,000 and PLN 30,000 – the Central Anticorruption Bureau announced on September 15 in a special announcement.
Shortly thereafter, Jacek P., at the request of the prosecutor’s office, found himself free. At the same time, the prosecutor’s office itself did not return to the matter of this cash when applying for an extension of the detention facility for Sławomir Nowak.
Main photo source: TVN24