Walesa demands ouster of chief of central bank

August 10, 1991|By Kay Withers | Kay Withers,Special to the Sun

WARSAW, Poland -- President Lech Walesa has asked Parliament to dismiss the head of Poland's central bank in the wake of a growing corruption scandal.

Polish television said that Mr. Walesa asked the Sejm, Parliament's lower house, to fire Grzegorz Wojtowicz as the president of the National Bank of Poland for "lack of supervision" of Poland's banking operations.

This week police detained the National Bank's first deputy president, Wojciech Prokop, who was until February first deputy head of the PKO BP, Poland's largest savings bank, and five other people, four of them banking officials, for alleged "financial irregularities."

They were arrested after an investigation into bribery and the issue of unsecured credit, mostly in connection with the private company Art-B. The Warsaw daily Gazeta Wyborcza said yesterday that Art-B's former owners, Boguslaw Bagsik and Andrzej Gasiorowski, had fled the country and were in Israel.

A spokeswoman for the Polish prosecutor's office, Grazyna Taladaj, said on the prime-time evening newscast that more arrests were possible in the biggest financial scandal Poland has ever known.

The establishment of new banks and private companies was a key feature of the post-Communist transition to a market economy. "Poland's banking image abroad will suffer," said Andrzej Krzysztof Wroblewski, editor of the trade paper, Gazeta Bankowa.

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