Thursday, April 09, 2009

Rostowski accused of impropriety

Jacek Rostowski
Leader of the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, wasted little time in demanding that the Anti- Corruption Bureau delve into the minister’s finances to see how he could afford to pay back such significant loans, adding that Mr Rostowski had also failed to declare them.

Jacek Rostowski, who is a member of the governing Civic Platform party, is alleged to have received the money from two British financial institutions, the Cheltenham and Gloucester building society, and Paragon Mortgages, a lender specialising in loans to landlords.

But the minister, who was born in Britain and educated at the London School of Economics, said that in addition to his salary he also earns money from renting property in Great Britain, and has income from book royalties. This, he explained, allowed him to repay the mortgages.

Despite this, the minister’s contacts with the banks have raised eyebrows with suggestions that he has a conflict of interests.

The newspaper Gazeta Polska argued that by having the loans Mr Rostowski had fostered the impression that he had “nontransparent contacts with commercial banks which have a vested interested in decisions and plans for the Polish financial sector.”

The controversy capped a bad few days for the government that had seen it rocked by one scandal involving the deputy prime minister, and leader of the junior coalition party, Waldemar Pawlak, and a further one tarnishing the career of up-and-coming political star Thomas Misiak.