Monday, November 30, 2009

Undocumented immigrant from Poland arrested in store killing

From: North
An undocumented immigrant from Poland was charged with murder Friday in the fatal January shooting of a clerk at a Garfield convenience store, authorities said.

An undocumented immigrant from Poland was charged with murder Friday in the fatal January shooting of a clerk at a Garfield convenience store, authorities said.

Krzysztof A. Jastrzebski made his first appearance in Superior Court, Hackensack, on Friday, about 10 months after the shooting of Ahmad Alsurakhi.

Prosecutors say Jastrzebski, 39, entered Billy’s Deli on MacArthur Avenue on Jan. 24 with a semiautomatic handgun and shot the 30-year-old Alsurakhi, whose father owns the store, according to prosecutors.

A customer discovered the body of Alsurakhi, a quiet man who was considered polite and friendly with customers at his family’s two delis, lying on the floor behind the counter.

Mohammed Alsurakhi said he visited his son’s grave site in Paterson to share the news of the arrest.

"I go tell him police catch the guy and I tell him to be relaxing in his grave," he said.

Alsurakhi, who visits his son’s grave site every day, said he wished New Jersey still had the death penalty.

"I feel sad … from my son’s killing to now," he said.

It’s not known how much money was taken from the store, but cash was missing from the register, prosecutors said. Authorities described the killing as a botched robbery.

While detectives pursued numerous leads after the shooting, the case remained unsolved.

Recently, the focus of the investigation turned to Jastrzebski after detectives learned through witnesses that he had committed a burglary on Shaw Street in Garfield on Jan.14 and took cash, jewelry and a semiautomatic handgun.

At the time of the burglary, he was living down the street from Billy’s Deli, authorities said.

They also discovered that hours before the murder he had shot a firearm in an Elizabeth Street apartment, missing his intended victim, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said they believe he used the stolen handgun from the Shaw Street burglary in the killing.

Investigators found Jastrzebski in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement because of an immigration violation. He was initially arrested Wednesday on aggravated assault and weapons charges related to the Elizabeth Street incident.

He has since been charged with murder, felony murder, armed robbery and weapons offenses. For the Shaw Street burglary, he’s charged with armed burglary and two counts of theft.

With the assistance of a Polish interpreter, Jastrzebski, who used crutches because his leg is broken, entered a plea of not guilty to the charges in state Superior Court Friday afternoon.

Bail was set by Judge Harry G. Carroll at $1.2 million.

Defense Attorney Michelle Blake-Smith told the judge she would pursue a bail reduction hearing.

Alsurakhi came to the United States in February 2007 and lived in Lodi above his family’s Station One convenience store. He had planned to return to Jordan to marry his fiancée and bring her to the United States.

Krzysztof A. Jastrzebski made his first appearance in Superior Court, Hackensack, on Friday, about 10 months after the shooting of Ahmad Alsurakhi.

Prosecutors say Jastrzebski, 39, entered Billy’s Deli on MacArthur Avenue on Jan. 24 with a semiautomatic handgun and shot the 30-year-old Alsurakhi, whose father owns the store, according to prosecutors.

A customer discovered the body of Alsurakhi, a quiet man who was considered polite and friendly with customers at his family’s two delis, lying on the floor behind the counter.

Mohammed Alsurakhi said he visited his son’s grave site in Paterson to share the news of the arrest.

"I go tell him police catch the guy and I tell him to be relaxing in his grave," he said.

Alsurakhi, who visits his son’s grave site every day, said he wished New Jersey still had the death penalty.

"I feel sad … from my son’s killing to now," he said.

It’s not known how much money was taken from the store, but cash was missing from the register, prosecutors said. Authorities described the killing as a botched robbery.

While detectives pursued numerous leads after the shooting, the case remained unsolved.

Recently, the focus of the investigation turned to Jastrzebski after detectives learned through witnesses that he had committed a burglary on Shaw Street in Garfield on Jan.14 and took cash, jewelry and a semiautomatic handgun.

At the time of the burglary, he was living down the street from Billy’s Deli, authorities said.

They also discovered that hours before the murder he had shot a firearm in an Elizabeth Street apartment, missing his intended victim, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said they believe he used the stolen handgun from the Shaw Street burglary in the killing.

Investigators found Jastrzebski in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement because of an immigration violation. He was initially arrested Wednesday on aggravated assault and weapons charges related to the Elizabeth Street incident.

He has since been charged with murder, felony murder, armed robbery and weapons offenses. For the Shaw Street burglary, he’s charged with armed burglary and two counts of theft.

With the assistance of a Polish interpreter, Jastrzebski, who used crutches because his leg is broken, entered a plea of not guilty to the charges in state Superior Court Friday afternoon.

Bail was set by Judge Harry G. Carroll at $1.2 million.

Defense Attorney Michelle Blake-Smith told the judge she would pursue a bail reduction hearing.

Alsurakhi came to the United States in February 2007 and lived in Lodi above his family’s Station One convenience store. He had planned to return to Jordan to marry his fiancée and bring her to the United States.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Polish Pirate Disc Factory Raided By Italian Police

From: Top 40 Charts
Italian police have announced they raided a factory that manufactured counterfeit optical discs intended for export around Europe.
The Bologna-based plant raided by the Italian Fiscal Police (GdF) produced unlicensed box sets that contained music, film and television programmes. The Italian raid followed industry investigations in countries across Europe into the sale of the 12-disc unlicensed box set Masterbox, which contained music by international artists such as Bob Dylan, Depeche Mode, Eminem, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Tiziano Ferro.

Masterbox box sets had previously been manufactured in Poland, but the operation moved to

Italy following raids by Polish police in February 2009.
At that point, nine million copyright
infringing albums in total were estimated to have been distributed around Europe, with an estimated trade value of around €19 million being put on the previous 15 editions of the box set series produced in the plant.

The operators of this profitable criminal enterprise sought to relocate after the Polish raids. Investigators from IFPI, which represents the recording industry worldwide and FPM, the local industry anti-piracy group, worked together when it was discovered that after a gap of a few months the manufacturing operation had been shifted to Bologna.

FPM worked with the Italian Fiscal Police to investigate the manufacturing plant that was producing new editions of the Masterbox series, while IFPI coordinated industry enquiries across Europe in support of the official investigation.

A forensic expert from IFPI's specialised London laboratory travelled to Italy to provide support for the Fiscal Police during the action and in their post-raid enquiries. More than 80,000 discs, more than half of which were hidden in waste disposal sacks, were seized in the raid along with a manufacturing line, printing equipment and stampers.

Jeremy Banks, director, anti-piracy at IFPI, says: 'This investigation highlights the international reach and resources available to the criminals responsible for this pirate release. The Masterbox series distributed in Europe is a classic example of a criminal enterprise involved in the lucrative business of copyright infringement.

'The music industry will continue to be vigilant and work internationally and locally in partnership with law enforcement to protect its rights. The Italian Fiscal Police have done a magnificent job taking decisive action and sending a strong message that they will actively investigate these types of offences.'

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Link into deaths of two Polish men probed by police

From: Belafast Telegraph
Detectives were today investigating a possible link between the deaths of two Polish men in Belfast.

A murder probe was launched following the discovery of a man’s body at a house at Ardenvohr Street in the east of the city around 5.40pm yesterday.

A post mortem is due to be carried out later to establish the exact cause of death. The victim’s name has not yet been released.

An inquiry is also under way into the circumstances surrounding the sudden death of a second Polish man, whose body was discovered at a building under construction near Custom House Square in the city centre yesterday morning.

Police have not released his name either, however it is understood both men lived at the same address.

A spokeswoman for the PSNI confirmed that they were looking into the possibility of a connection between the murder and the sudden death.

Local councillor Jim Rodgers described the news as “absolutely dreadful”.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families at this time,” he said.

“I hope the public can come forward and help the police with their inquiries.”

Friday, November 27, 2009

Poland Parliament Approves Gambling Ban

From: www.casinogamblingweb
Add Poland to the list of countries that has now banned Internet gambling. A new bill has passed parliament that will ban gambling everywhere outside of casinos. The bill came about after a major government scandal involving gambling.

The government had originally been in the process of raising taxes at casinos in Poland. There were claims that several members of Prime Minister Donald Tusk's administration was involved in attempting to thwart the process because of their ties to the gambling industry.

In response to the allegations, Tusk immediately began to push for a change in the gambling laws in the country. The prime minister had to ensure that he regained the trust of the people of Poland, and he has now succeeded by limiting their gambling options.

Slot machines in bars and malls appear to be the target of the new bill. It is projected that over 50,000 machines will be taken out of these locations, a major blow to businesses that rely on the games as another form of income.

Internet gambling will also be affected. Operations that re licensed in other countries will be losing Polish customers. Several of these operations have already called for the European Union to look into the new laws in Poland.

Poland joins the US as countries who have tried to ban Internet gambling. In the US, however, many lawmakers are working towards regulating the online gambling industry instead of criminalizing people who enjoy Internet gambling.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Toronto Police blotter: Wanted man

From: Toronto Headlines Examiner
[L] Robert Turczak, 40, wanted on several firearms, drug, charges. [R] Composite of assault suspect.
Robert Turczak, 40, [see photo] is wanted on several firearms and drug charges following a search warrant execution on an “In Storage” self-storage facility at 345 Middlefield Road.

On July 9, 2009, Toronto Drug Squad officers raided the self-storage facility and discovered a sophisticated, clandestine drug-manufacturing facility operating within three units of the building.

A commercial pill press and hundreds of thousands of ecstasy pills and powder were discovered. A fully loaded 9mm handgun was also recovered at the scene.

Turczak is described as white, 5’9’’, 189 lbs with brown hair. He speaks with a Polish accent.

Anyone with information is asked to call 416-808-6100.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Former communist agents charged for roles in death of Polish priest

From: Melbourne Anglican
Father Jerzy Popieluszko
Two former Polish secret police agents have been charged with helping to frame Jerzy Popieluszko, a Roman Catholic priest who became a folk hero, and who was murdered 25 years ago after speaking out against communist injustices.

Poland's Institute for National Remembrance said the arrests had been ordered by its Warsaw-based Commission for Investigating Crimes against the Polish Nation during enquiries into an Interior Ministry unit which carried out "crimes, including murders" against clergy and opposition members during the period from 1956 to 1989.

The agency added that the two agents from the Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa, the communist-era secret police, had carried out criminal acts "intended to eliminate him as a pastor", such as by planting weapons and illegal leaflets in the priest's Warsaw apartment.

"These functionaries are also accused of participating in a group intending to commit crimes damaging Father Popieluszko," the institute, which researches communist-era abuses of power, said in a statement on 10 November.

The bound and gagged body of the 37-year-old Popieluszko, who was linked with the outlawed Solidarity movement, was dredged from Wloclawek reservoir in October 1984, a week after his abduction while returning at night from a service in Bydgoszcz.

Although four Interior Ministry employees were convicted for the slaying, all were released early after controversial sentence revisions, while a former secret police general, Wladyslaw Ciaston, was twice acquitted, in 1994 and 2002, of ordering the killing.

However, Solidarity supporters have repeatedly blamed senior communists for the death of the priest, who lies buried at Warsaw's St Stanislaw Kostka church with a rosary personally given him by Pope John Paul II.

The institute statement alleged that the two SB employees had connived in laying false charges against Popieluszko, while attempting to disrupt his pastoral work among "circles linked to the democratic opposition in Poland. It added that other ex-agents might also be charged with harassing the priest, whose beatification as a Catholic martyr could be announced by the Vatican in 2010, placing him on the path to sainthood.

President Lech Kaczynski posthumously awarded the priest Poland's highest state honour, the White Eagle, on 19 October, the 25th anniversary of his death, which was marked with a special anniversary coin and stamp by the country's National Bank and Postal Service.

In a resolution on 21 October, Poland's parliament, the Sejm, said Popieluszko's message remained "still topical for us". It said the priest's life had been "a gift to the nation's history, fully expressed by the words of St Paul, 'Overcome evil with good'."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Polish treasury is accumulating bad debt

From: WBJ
The liabilities of unreliable investors towards the State Treasury presently amount to zl.1.3 billion.

The figure has nearly doubled since 2007.

According to data presented to Rzeczpospolita, the list of the largest debtors was comprised of 228 companies at the end of September. The first ten companies on the list have not changed since the last verification in April 2007.

"In the case that an investor is not fulfilling its obligations, we send him a payment summons. If it does not make the payment, we ask the court for an execution title enabling us to vindicate the outstanding amount," said Maciej Wiewiór, spokesperson of the Treasury Ministry.

Plenty of the liabilities can already be written off as debtors are in financial difficulties, others went bankrupt and some cases in the courts are already outdated. Debtors are mostly smaller companies with Polish capital.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Poland Moves Up in Corruption Ranking

From: Krakow Post
Polish: not a nationality, a profession
Every year, the non-profit group Transparency International publishes its Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which ranks the countries of the world according to the perceived level of public-sector corruption, based on a variety of surveys.

In the 2009 CPI, Poland placed 49th out of 180 countries, along with Bhutan and Jordan and just ahead of the Czech Republic. Poland received a score of 5.0, with a confidence range of 4.5-5.5.

The 2008 index placed Poland in 58th place along with Lithuania and Turkey, with a score of 4.6 and a confidence range of 4.0-5.2.

At the top of the list this year were New Zealand, Denmark, and Singapore, while Myanmar, Afghanistan, and Somalia were found at the very bottom.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Voodoo made me impotent”

From: NPE
A shaman who had an affair with a married woman has put a curse on her husband leaving him impotent.

Distraught hubby Janusz Rekawa (57) from Minsk Mazowiecki in eastern Poland says he discovered his wife Urszula had began an affair with the voodoo man whilst she was holidaying at a spa.

“She was going there quite a lot and talking about this amazing man, so I decided to go down and see what was going on,” said Rekawa.

When he arrived in the southern village of Rymanow-Zdroj his worst fears were realised. “I sat opposite him and I looked into his eyes. He admitted to the affair and then started talking a load of nonsense and I realised I was going to get no real sense about what had happened from him, so I decided to leave and go and talk to my wife, who was back home by then.”

But as Rekawa was leaving, the modern-day sorcerer came running out after him.

“The shaman began to tear up grass and threw it at my car. He was screaming at me in an incomprehensible language. I thought he’d lost it so I got out of there fast.”

On the way home Rekawa says he began to feel ill and that he was losing strength. For a long time after, he found it difficult to work and says he felt physically drained.

But he adds he had no idea how powerful the magic man was. “It turns out that he not only took my strength but also my manhood. He put a curse on me and has made me impotent.

“I have been to exorcists, but they say they cannot help me. I used to be full of vigour and lust but now I’m like an empty can of soup.”

Saturday, November 21, 2009

ZUS in trouble, again

From: NPE
ZUS is having trouble finding money to pay out its current obligations to pensioners, people on disability, and the unemployed, according to an article in the daily Rzeczpospolita.
The agency faces a giant revenue gap of some PLN 9 bln this year, the newspaper estimates.

Poland's state-run social insurance agency has been subsidized by funds from the general budget for years, but with government deficit spending set to reach record levels this year, the agency's budget gap will be harder than ever to fill.

In part, this is because the government has budgeted less money than needed to fund ZUS in order to keep its 2009 budget numbers from looking even worse. According to a statement from ZUS, its deficit "results mainly from a lower than anticipated rise in social security tax income in relation to payments made to beneficiaries."

Rises in unemployment and the number of pensioners have squeezed the agency in terms of both revenue and expenses. Moreover, pensions have risen this year, though only just enough to keep up with inflation.

The head of ZUS Zbigniew Derdziuk denies the problems are so serious. He estimates that the agency's deficit will only reach PLN 5.5. bln and that it can secure sufficient bank financing to cover the PLN 2.3 bln it will need to borrow this year. Last week, the government announced a plan to cut the amount of money going to the private Open Retirement Funds from 7.3 per cent to 3 per cent of salaries in an effort to help ZUS shore up its finances. Economists, pension fund managers, and the public have all lined up against the idea.

According to a recent poll by IQS, 66 percent of Poles are strongly against the new plan, while only 14 percent are in favour. Many economists have argued that the proposal is just a quick fix to shore up public finances, and will not solve longer-term problems facing the retirement system, which are rooted in declining demographics and a retirement age that remains among Europe's lowest in spite of recent changes that have reduced early retirements.

Bogus?aw Grabowski, a former member of the Monetary Policy Council member and current head of the TFI Skarbiec fund, sees raising taxes as less harmful than the government's new plan, which he said was aimed at achieving "short-term political goals." "The collapse of the retirement system is worse than a breakdown in public finances because it is long term," he told TVN-24.

Although the government has not released data on the finances of the National Health Fund, the state-run healthcare system also appears to be facing a deficit this year. Yet unlike ZUS, the fund has sufficient reserves to meet its current needs, according to Rzeczpospolita.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Abuse in Polish schools on the rise

From: NPE
Teachers abusing Polish school kids around the country is growing say new statistics.

According to the newspaper Metro, there has been an increase in the number of complaints made by students who claim that teachers using abusive language, skipping classes and turning up to work drunk is becoming more and more commonplace.

But it’s not only psychological abuse that is on the rise. The number of reported cases of physical abuse in the classroom has also increased says the paper.

During this year alone in the eastern city of Lublin, six teachers have been reprimanded as a result of using corporal punishment as a means of disciplining children.

In 2007, a disciplinary commission in Lublin received 13 calls to begin procedures against teachers - this year the total figure was three times that amount. Other cities have also witnessed the number of cases grow - Krakow’s individual cases have risen from 20 to 36 in the last two years.

In accordance with Polish law, teachers who abuse their powers can be punished in either one of three ways:

“There are three possibilities: reprimand with a warning, dismissal from work, and - most severe - expulsion from the profession,” explains Alexander Smith, from the Board of Education in Krakow, citing the Teachers’ Charter.

Last year in Krakow, 10 were reprimanded, three made redundant and one forbidden from teaching again.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sex scandal in the Sejm

From: NPE
The 33-year old Civic Platform (PO) ex-MP, known as Miss Sejm after being voted Poland’s sexiest MP, told reporters that she suffered “indecent and immoral proposals” from a senior politician.

“It happened on the first day of my work in the Sejm. I was totally shocked,” she told the daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza.

“One of the MPs, not from my party, accosted me in a very direct way, he may even have used the word ‘baby’, and asked me for my room number at the hotel I was staying in.

“It was a miracle I didn’t slap him in the face,” she added, declining to reveal the identity of the pervy MP.

“It’s terrible, disgraceful and completely unworthy of our politicians,” said lawyer Jacek Kondracki, adding there may be a criminal investigation.

“If he served as a senior member to Mrs Mucha then we are dealing with the sexual harassment of a subordinate, which is a crime,” he said.

A few months after the incident, Mucha says she moved out of the hotel reserved especially for Sejm members.

“Through the thin walls you can hear everything - at night it is horrible. One can neither work nor sleep. I wanted privacy because I came to Warsaw to work - you just can’t live there,” she revealed.

It has yet to be decided whether criminal proceedings will begin.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Police launch murder probe as dad nicked

From: NPE
Police in the town of Deblin have launched an investigation into a shocking multiple murder, that left three members of a family, including an 89-year-old woman, dead.

The bloody bodies of 15-year-old Karol J. his mother Halina J. and his grandmother Wenceslas S. were found in their home. All had been killed by knife or axe wounds.

Police reported that the killer had tried to hide the crime by attempting to set fire to the family home. After murdering the three he had, apparently, lit a candle and then opened a gas canister in the hope that an explosion and fire would obliterate traces of the crime.

Although a small fire broke out the gas failed to ignite.

So far police and prosecutors’ attention has focused on Karol’s father Zbigniew J. Prosecutors from Lublin confirmed that they have placed the 46-year-old man, who was the first to alert the police about his family’s brutal slaying, in detention for three months as they investigate a crime that has left friends and neighbours of the family stunned.

“Just yesterday I talked with Mrs. Halina. I asked her how her mother felt, and to pass on my greetings. Several hours later, I learned that she was murdered,” one neighbour told the television channel TVN24.

Just why the three died has left investigators perplexed.

Living in modest circumstances they had little in the way of valuables that could have attracted thieves.

They were not wealthy,” said another neighbour. “There are many richer people living on the street. You know that by just looking at the houses.”

Police said that the house showed no sign of forced entry, indicating that the victims knew the killer, adding that the family were respected in the local community and therefore may not have fallen victim to somebody with a grudge or bent on revenge.

“Karol never had trouble with anyone,” said a friend, Przemek. “He was an ordinary, likeable pupil; I still see him standing before my eyes now. A few days ago we played football together. It’s difficult for me to believe in everything that has happened.”

A stalwart of the community before made frail by ill-health, Karol’s grandmother had sung on the local choir and was known in the town for the warmth of her hospitality and the quality of her cakes.

Two days after the murder television news showed the handcuffed father being taken away by the police for questioning.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Polish man Reszpondek faces life for murdering 'Tati'

From: The Leader
Lukasz Reszpondek
THE Polish cheese-cutter found guilty of murdering Ermatati Rodgers of Wrexham now faces a mandatory life sentence.

Lukasz Reszpondek showed no emotion as the majority verdict was announced in Mold Crown Court yesterday.

Sentencing was adjourned until Friday.

Mr Justice Lloyd Jones told him: “You will know that by law there is only one sentence for murder and that is life imprisonment.”

The 11-strong jury took seven hours and 17 minutes to convict the defendant by a majority of ten to one at the end of the three week trial.

After the verdict, the officer who led the inquiry branded Reszpondek as determined and cold, and said he had done everything he could to protect himself.

“All he was concerned about was self-preservation, not the recovery of Tati’s body or the feelings of her family and friends,” said Det Chief Insp Wayne Jones.

The court heard how he strangled her and buried her – but 14 months later tried to dig her up again as police closed in on him.

Reszpondek spent three hours digging with a spade, a fork, and his bare hands but he could not recover the body.

So, in the early hours one day in March he went to police to tell them where the body was – and claimed she had simply dropped dead of natural causes at his home.

He buried the woman in panic, he claimed. But the jury rejected his story and found that he had murdered her and then disposed of the body in a bid to get away with the crime.

The court heard how 41-year-old Mrs Rodgers, known as Tati, who lived in Gwersyllt, was missing for 14 months before her body was eventually found by police at a beauty spot at Erddig in March.

Police had set up covert cameras in the countryside and watched the defendant visit the shallow grave. He claimed he went there to pray.

But after a long operation the police changed tactics to try and spook the defendant to lead them to the body – and it worked.

Prosecuting barrister Michael Chambers, QC, said that quite simply innocent people did not bury bodies.

He then set about disposing of the body and might well have got away with it if he had not made certain fundamental errors, the prosecutor claimed. Using his credit card, which police were able to trace, he bought a spade, a large suitcase and other items used to help him bury the body.

Secondly, he buried her body in clay which had the effect of preserving the body.

Thirdly, Mr Chambers said, the defendant had recorded the approximate area of the burial site at Erddig in the memory of his car satellite navigation system in the list of his favourite locations and named it “Tt”, an abbreviation of her name.

He kept returning to that area in his car but the police did not know precisely where the body was buried.

On Thursday, March 19, this year after months of surveillance, the police made a big show of digging in the fields around that area, looking for the body of Ermatati Rodgers, with a lot of Press publicity.

“The defendant made the error of taking the bait,” Mr Chambers said.

“The defendant watched the police looking for the body from the top of a nearby slag heap, hiding in bushes, wearing camouflage clothing and using binoculars.

“What he did not know was that the police were watching him, watching them,” he said.

By Sunday afternoon, March 22, the police digging was getting perilously close to the actual field which contained the body, Mr Chambers told the jury.

“The defendant must have thought that on the Monday morning they were likely to move into the actual field and find the body.

“So, on that Sunday night, he tried to move it.

“However it was more difficult that he anticipated and after about three hours he had to stop. It was only at that stage that he went to Wrexham police station.
“He told them where they could find the body.”

Home Office pathologist Dr Brian Rodgers conducted a post mortem examination and he said that there was no sign of any natural decease which could have explained her sudden death.

But he did find bruising and fractured thyroid cartilage horns consistent with strangulation.

Mrs Rodgers met the defendant in the summer of 2004 when they both worked together at a dairy at Marchwiel near Wrexham.

The prosecution said that they formed a close relationship which continued after the defendant’s wife came over from Poland to join him in Wrexham.

It was alleged that they had a sexual relationship although that was denied throughout by Reszpondek.

At Christmas 2007 the defendant – a married father of two – returned to Poland. His family travelled by plane but he went separately by car. He, apparently, did not like flying and he would also have the use of the car in Poland.

He returned from Poland early without his family in order to work and drove back again.

The journey was more than 900 miles and involved taking the car ferry from Dunkirk to Dover. He arrived on Friday, January 4, and instead of resting after his long journey the defendant took the opportunity of his wife being away to see Mrs Rodgers.

Interviewed after the body was found in March, the defendant denied that he had murdered her.

He said that on the night of January 4 he had gone upstairs to take a shower, leaving her downstairs. The defendant said that he came back down to discover that she had collapsed and was dead.

Jeffrey Samuels, QC, put forward the theory that she may have died of sudden death syndrome. Or her crash dieting may have caused a fatal cardiac condition, he added.

LUKASZ RESZPONDEK was last year jailed for possessing indecent images on his computer.

They were found by detectives when he became their number one suspect in the murder of Ermatati Rodgers.

Officers seized his computer as part of the investigation – but also found child porn images. He was charged and jailed for 32 weeks in October of last year.

Reszpondek was ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

At the time, Judge Philip Hughes also made an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order which, among other things, restricts his use of the internet and particular file sharing software.

He took into account the defendant’s guilty pleas to 12 offences of making and possessing the 83 images and the fact that he had no previous convictions.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sex tape delivered to family of Farrell's Polish girl

From: New Poland Express
The family of Polish model Alicja Bachleda-Curus is shocked by the sex scandal
A banned sex tape showing Hollywood star Colin Farrell romping with a Playboy model has been sent to the family of his girlfriend Alicja Bachleda-Curus, it emerged Wednesday.
Farrell and Alicja - who has just given birth to the star's baby son- are said to be furious over what they see as an attempt to horrify her traditional Polish family.

The film - showing Farrell and model Nicole Narain in a frantic sex session - was shot more than six years ago and has been banned since the star won an injunction in 2005.

But Polish media report that a copy of the tape has arrived at the home of Alicja's cousins in remote Zakopane, in a plain package with no clues as to who sent it.

"They are simple mountain people who are pretty conservative and this video just confirms for them what they thought all along - that Farrell is a corrupt bastard," a friend of the family told the daily paper Fakt.

"They don’t see him as a superstar - but as a person who has hurt the pride of their family," they added.

Friends say there was already tension between Alicja’s family and Farrell who has been accused of seducing the actress with his louche lifestyle.

"Her mother Lydia went to America to see her daughter and the couple’s son Henry Tadeusz, but she ignored his English name and just called him Tadeusz.

"She is determined to persuade Alicja to grow up and bring her baby back to Poland so that he can be raised away from the Hollywood," added the family friend.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Corruption is background of Polish gambling law

From: Earth Times
The Polish government, in a draft law it approved on Tuesday, is taking on the gambling industry and corruption weeks after a scandal broke involving high-ranking politicians accused of lobbying for casino owners. The draft law, which requires the approval of the parliament and president before it can take effect, would ban slot machines outside casinos and raise taxes for the industry.

The scandal saw four top politicians depart on October 7 amid reports of politicians' lobbying to block provisions in a bill that would have increased taxes the gambling industry pays to the state.

But experts warn that the country needs long-term solutions to tackle corruption in politics, and that Warsaw is focusing on the gambling problem to steer attention away from government corruption.

Anna Urbanska, chairman of Transparency International in Poland, had a favorable view of the draft law, but she said that Warsaw needs to address corruption with a permanent system that will outlast the current government and continue beyond the next elections.

"More important now is a national strategy of a couple years - a national anti-corruption strategy - where NGOs and other organizations and watchdogs would monitor every year if progress has been made," Urbanska said.

Transparency International, based in Berlin, monitors corruption worldwide.

Last month, Prime Minister Donald Tusk dismissed the head of the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau amid charges the official overstepped his powers during an investigation in 2007. That same day Tusk accepted resignations from the justice minister, deputy economy minister and deputy prime minister in connection with the gambling scandal.

Those sweeping changes in the government came after the sports minister resigned and the head of Tusk's Civic Platform, Zbigniew Chlebowski, was dismissed after publication of wire-tapped conversations between Chlebowski and gambling industry leaders.

Despite these drastic moves, one analyst said, Tusk is taking a milder approach to battling corruption than one of his predecessors, former prime minister Leszek Miller, who conducted sweeping purges of his Democratic Left Alliance.

"Politicians and governments that battle corruption in a spectacular way are doomed to failure, because it's hard to prove later that they were effective," said Grzegorz Makowski, an analyst at the Institute of Public Affairs, a Warsaw-based think tank.

Tusk's strategy is different from Miller's, Makowski said, as he quickly shifted from the gambling scandal to tackling slot machines and under-age gaming.

"Tusk hasn't engaged himself in the scandal. He got rid of those closest to the scandal, but there wasn't a thorough cleaning up of his entire party," Makowski said. "He covered the problem of corruption with the problem of gambling."

Some 76 per cent of Poles say corruption is widespread in their government, according to polls by Gallup of 1,000 adults conducted in 2006 and 2007.

Poland was near the bottom of a 2008 Transparency International study of 31 European nations, with only Romania and Bulgaria scoring worse.

But the individual score for Poland in 2008 was an improvement compared to its 2007 score, and that could be due to the creation in 2006 of the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau, Transparency International said.

Poles are quite conscious of corruption, Urbanska said, which puts pressure on government to work towards transparency.

"Poles talk more about corruption and are more aware of it, which has a big influence on government reforms," Urbanska said. "That leads to our feelings that it's getting better. And maybe we don't have many successes, but something is being done."

An investigative commission, which is being led by Civic Platform, was recently set up to probe the gambling lobby scandal. Urbanska said it is not appropriate for Civic Platform to be leading the commission.

Poles are doubtful that the commission will examine everything, because there have been so many different commissions over the years that they have lost value, Urbanska said. Often, she added, they are used as a field for political battles.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Women traffickers prey on jobless in Poland

From: The News
Four people have been detained in northern Poland and charged with human trafficking and forcing women to work as prostitutes.

A dozen Polish women, who applied for a cleaning job in Germany, have been sold to escort agencies by a human trafficking ring from northern Poland.

Police detained two women and two men who recruited young women in financial straits, promising to give them employment in Germany.

As soon as they crossed the Polish border, they took away their IDs, saying they will arrange the formalities themselves. The unsuspecting women were then placed in escort agencies and forced to work as prostitutes.

“The women were intimidated and kept in a closely guarded house,” Jan Kosciuk, spokesman for police in northern Poland said. What made matters worse, they did not speak German.

The detained persons, aged from 27 to 41, face from 3 to 15 years in prison.

Women trafficking for sex is a thriving business in Europe, valued at 7 to 13 billion dollars. Over the past 10 years its profits rose by an estimated 400 percent. According to the United Nations, about half a million women in Europe are forced to work as prostitutes but the real figure may be much higher.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Criminal turns up on talent show

From: The News
The judges were not the only ones to spot talent on a popular TV show - so did the police.

It was hardly the kind of career that a 24 year old man from Bytom, southern Poland, had in mind when he decided to appear on the popular Poland’s Got Talent television show.

His singing did not impress the jury but his performance caught the eye of …. the police.

“A few weeks ago, one of our police officers watched a television show and to his surprise he saw a wanted criminal, who has been in hiding since September last year,” says a spokesman for the Bytom police force Adam Jakubiak. The man was wanted for robbery, theft and damage of property.

The watchful policeman who recognized the criminal aspiring to become a pop star received a cash prize from his superiors.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Big Poland is watching them

From: RT

A scandal is gathering steam in Poland after it was revealed security services illegally wiretap journalists and politicians. Critics say the extent of bugging in the country is an attack on human rights.

Wiretapping is making it tougher to be an investigative reporter in Poland. A few years ago, a journalist from the newspaper Wyborcza, Woiceijh Czuchnowski, found himself in the middle of a wiretapping scandal. One of his contacts was eavesdropped on by the Security Services and they also placed a bug on Woicejh’s phone.

Woiceijh Czuchnowski told RT that, “Now most of our informants are now refusing to talk on the phone. Not only secret informers, but just people who have valuable information, but prefer to keep a low profile. They’re scared, because of all the wire-tapping hysteria.”

Woiciech's case isn't isolated. The Reczpospolita newspaper claims one of its reporters – along with two other journalists – have had their phones intercepted by the police, without the proper authorization.

"If my conversations were listened to without proper court permission, if the tap was illegal, then my fundamental rights have been broken," Bogdan Rymanovski, a TVN reporter, claims.

One of the targeted journalists is suspected of blackmailing his contacts, but two others were believed to be absolutely innocent and thus had no legal right to be bugged.

In Poland, security services must first obtain permission for wire-tapping from a court. But the head of the Polish domestic security agency has admitted this system seldom works properly.

“Courts usually grant these concerns post factum. In almost 100 percent of cases,” Adam Bodnar, from the Helsinki Human Rights Foundation, says “They are not perfectly regulated and there’s a great risk to human rights. Every 2-3 months we have such affairs involving Special Services.”

According to Polish law, unless recorded conversations are to be used as evidence they must be destroyed. In this case they weren’t, and could’ve been used for other purposes.

Now Prime Minister Donald Tusk has ordered checks on the Polish security services.

Newspapers in Poland are speculating whether this could lead to the intelligence head’s early retirement.

The opposition says both men must go for what they call breaching the freedom of the press.

This latest wire-tapping case has created a political storm in Poland, even forcing the prime minister’s intervention. But human rights activists fear that, until eavesdropping is officially regulated in Poland, no journalist can work freely without being watched.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Poland at work: Ten-man gang jailed for £1m car theft crime ring

Pawel Wodecki, Ricky England, Jumroz Khan, John McCulloch and, bottom row, from left, Zbigniew Nowak, Tomasz Nowak, Matthew Harrison and David Clatworthy,
The detective who helped jail an organised £1m car-crime ring from Wellingborough has warned criminals: "You're not untouchable".
Det Insp Jon Gilbert led Operation Pleat which saw a 10-man gang who made more than £500,000 by stealing high value cars and exporting them to Poland locked up for a total of 35 years.

And he said he believed the gang could be responsible for a further £1m of thefts.

DI Gilbert said: "People who previously thought they were untouchable, aren't. There are no international or national borders."

The gang, masterminded by polish national Pawel Wodecki, 29, of Hatton Park Road, Wellingborough, and crime boss Abdul Hussain, 26, of Pioneer Avenue, Burton Latimer – were jailed at Luton Crown Court on Wednesday for burglaries resulting in the theft and exportation of 23 high specification cars.

Automatic number plate recognition and mobile phone analysis were some of the methods used to prosecute the gang.

Polish brothers Zbigniew Nowak, 25, and Tomasz Nowak, 21, provided the transport links to Poland.

Gang members broke into homes in Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire from July 2008 to January this year, stealing keys for high value vehicles. Laptop computers, war medals, cash and credit cards were also taken.

The men were finally arrested and charged after early morning raids involving 130 police officers on January 28..

DI Gilbert said: "We are prepared to invest significant resources – human and financial – to bring these people to justice."

Jail sentences were also handed out to Ricky England, 21, of Gordon Road, Wellingborough, Matthew Harrison, 21, of Knox Road, Wellingborough, David Clatworthy, 23, of High Street, Rushden, who would pick up the stolen cars from Junction 11 of the M1, where they were left by burglars Jumroz Khan, 30, from Bedford and John McCulloch, 28, from Bletchley.

DI Gilbert said: "We hope this case reassures the public of our ability to dismantle organised crime operations and put offenders behind bars."

The tenth gang member, Dennis Skiller, 28, of no fixed address, will be sentenced at a later date due to the ill health of his defence barrister.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Poland at work: Grave listed in accused's sat nav

From: BBC
Lukasz Reszpondek admits preventing the lawful burial of Ermatati Rodgers
A man who buried a female colleague's body on farmland put the location of the shallow grave in the "favourites" list on his sat nav, a court has heard.

Lukasz Reszpondek, 30, denies killing Indonesia-born Ermatati Rodgers, 41, whose body was found in March in a field at Erddig, near Wrexham.

Polish-born dairy worker Mr Reszpondek, a married father-of-two, admits preventing Ms Rodgers' lawful burial.

The murder trial continues at Mold Crown Court.

The court has heard that the defendant travelled to Wales in 2004 to look for work and met Ms Rodgers, who was known as Tati, at Dairycrest near Wrexham.

The prosecution alleges Mr Reszpondek strangled Ms Rodgers at his home in Rhostyllen, near Wrexham, in January 2008, before burying her body. The body was discovered 14 months later, in March this year.

Giving evidence on Tuesday, defendant said he had dug a trench exposing Ms Rodger's legs so that he could show police precisely where he had buried her, and then handed himself in to police.

The body of Ermatati Rodgers was found buried on farmland
The court heard he was also concerned that the police excavations with heavy machinery would damage the body and might destroy evidence that might help him, because he had been unable to explain how Ms Rodgers died.

He said he had told the truth in the three days of police interviews that followed as there was no reason for him to lie any more.

When asked directly if he had murdered Ms Rodgers, he replied: "No. I did not murder her. I did not see any reason why I should do that."

The court heard that one reason he said he had not alerted police when he said he found Ms Rodgers dead in his living room, was that he did not want to lose his job.

Grave location

He agreed that at the time he had been selfish, thinking of himself, not of Ms Rodgers.

He spent that night on the sofa thinking what he should do, the court was told, and in the morning took the view that it was too late to ring the police as he would have to explain why he had not contacted them earlier.

The court was told he therefore decided to hide the body.

He picked a "quiet and nice place," the jury was told, but it was not easy to dig the grave and he may have been there for five or six hours.

When asked why he had not simply abandoned the body, he said: "I had not done anything wrong to her and did not see any reason to do anything wrong to her body."

He said that another reason his did not abandon the body was that his faith as a Roman Catholic meant bodies were usually buried.

'Blocked mind'

He agreed that he had put the location of the grave in his sat nav under "favourite" locations.

The defendant said that he had "a blocked mind" and tried to carry on as normal.

The court heard Mr Reszpondek returned to the grave many times, which he claimed was to pray.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Reszpondek told the jury he had not had a sexual relationship with Ms Rodgers.

He said on one occasion she had kissed him but he said he made it clear he did not want a relationship.

He admitted they could have been in bed together once after a party at his landlord's house but he said they never had sexual intercourse.

Asked about his semen found on Ms Rodgers's mattress, he said it got there when he slept in her bed with his wife when they were staying with Ms Rodgers while searching for a family home.

He said he moved to the UK looking for a normal life and he missed his wife until she joined him.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Poland at work: Polish basketball star says he was mistaken for drug dealer

From: OC Register
Michael Jordon enjoys the same type of celebrety as Jerry Reschke, a picture of whom, unfortunately, could not be found
A Polish American basketball star wants Newport Beach to pay for plastic surgery he says is needed for injuries suffered when police mistook him for a drug dealer and forcibly drew blood from his arm.

Jerry Reschke, 56, says he was the victim of a rear-end traffic accident in 2007 and that his "dazed and confused" condition led to a "demeaning and demanding line of questions" about selling or possessing drugs.

The Laguna Beach resident has no criminal record in Orange County, according to court records.

Reschke "is a law-abiding citizen who is well-known in his home country and parts of Europe as a basketball star, and is easily recognized in Poland and other parts of Europe as such, not unlike the manner in which Michael Jordan is recognized in the United States," says a legal claim filed against the city Oct. 2.

Reschke, according to the claim, "remembers being unable to coherently respond to questions and recalls that he was dazed and confused at the scene – notwithstanding his excellent physical condition as a world-class athlete."

That resulted in the officer demanding that a blood sample be taken, an order Reschke says he resisted in vain. Reschke "squirmed as best he could and as much as he dared when confronted with a needle placed in proximity to his arm, and fought to avoid giving blood," the claim says.

While the results of any blood test were never provided, Reschke "knows the blood sample came out 'clean,' since he has never used drugs in his life, nor has he ever bought or sold drugs," the claim says.

Reschke "has a permanent hernia or hematoma at the site where the needle was inserted … as a result of his squirming and fighting," says the claim, which is a required precursor to a lawsuit.

Neither Reschke nor his attorney could be reached for comment, and city officials did not have an immediate comment.

The claim seeks $5,000 for surgery to address the injury, and says Reschke "will make himself available at any time for interview, deposition, lie detector test, medical examination or anything else to further or assist the city in the investigation and processing of this claim."

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Film about anti-Semitism in Poland sparks uproar

From: JPost
A film about the rise of anti-Semitic movements in Poland has recently been met with censure by members of the country's parliament and public.

Hitler's Daughter, directed by Aro Korol and produced by Korol's London-based Awesome Industry, focuses on right-wing radio station Radio Maryja, as well as its founder, Tadeusz Rydzyk, a Roman Catholic priest.

"Father Rydzyk sees no contradiction between wearing a collar and spreading his politics via satellite," Korol wrote on the film's Web site, "One of Radio Maryja's many anti-Semitic commentaries suggested that Jews were sabotaging the struggle of democracy in Ukraine and Belarus. The station also made very nasty, anti-Semitic remarks accusing Jews of making a business of Holocaust reparation payments."

Hitler's Daughter has caused a media frenzy in Poland, and Korol has received death threats.

Marek Jurek, a former speaker in the Polish parliament now representing the Right of the Republic party, called on Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski to intervene, saying that "[such a film] should not only be met with severe political reaction, but also legal steps, to prevent insults addressed at Polish institutions to an international audience."

Jurek's comments were based on a four-minute clip of Hitler's Daughter available on the Internet. The film will be officially released in the fall of 2010.

"I find it deeply worrying that Polish politicians have taken such measures against me and that my film has been subject to such harsh judgment," Korol said in a statement. "I consider it essential to expose the anti-Semitic machinations of organizations in a country where racial and religious tolerance should be universal and unchallenged. My hope is that I can now produce and finalize this film within the next 10 months."

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Man Tries to Rob Bank With a Spoon, Gets Laughed At

From: short News
Everyone in the bank dived for cover as the would-be robber charged in bellowing that this was a stickup
Police are hunting for a ginger-haired man who attempted to hold up a Lublin bank armed with a spoon.

Everyone in the bank dived for cover as the would-be robber charged in bellowing that this was a stickup. It was quickly realised that his weapon was a spoon, not a gun, and he was laughed out of the bank.

"It's a weird one but he broke the law and we want to find him," said Renata Laszczka-Rusek, a spokesperson for police.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Three Polish border guards killed in chopper crash

From: Reuters
The wreckage of a border-guard helicopter that disappeared last night with three officers on board was discovered on Sunday morning in Belarus some 200 metres from the Polish border
Three Polish border guards were killed when their helicopter crashed on the Belarussian side of the border, fire-brigade rescuers said on Sunday.

"The wreckage of a border-guard helicopter that disappeared last night with three officers on board was discovered on Sunday morning in Belarus some 200 metres (yards) from the (Polish) border," PAP news agency reported regional fire-brigade spokesman Marcin Janowski as saying.

PAP said the cause of the accident, which occurred during a routine patrol of the border in the north-eastern corner of Poland, was not immediately known.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Why are we paying child benefit in Poland?

From: Telegraph
Here's a puzzle for you: what are we doing paying benefits for children who do not live in Britain, and may have never visited our shores? The Treasury says it cannot put a figure on the amount, but the best guess is that about £20 million in child benefit was coughed up by British taxpayers last year to support almost 38,000 children living in Poland.

It's hard to blame people who come to work in Britain for claiming benefits for children they have left behind. In Poland, for example, the government pays only a quarter of the amount offered by the Treasury. But we do criticise our Government. Children living elsewhere in the European Union qualify for benefits from those governments, just as children living in Britain get benefits at British levels. It makes no sense to hand our taxpayers' money to Poles living in Poland.

The Treasury blames the European Union, whose rules derive from a patently false belief that all member economies are at the same level. They are not; all the regulations do is encourage people from poorer EU countries to go and work in richer ones, such as the UK, which will pay more generous benefits to their children back home. The result is irrational and unjust – and yet another issue on which the Government should stand up to the EU, and refuse to abide by its ridiculous diktats.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Impaired charge withdrawn in bizarre mischief case

From: Wasaga Sun
On the road again... Just can't wait to get on the road again...
Micozyslaw 'Mike' Guzik, 51, pleaded guilty Oct. 20 to public mischief by making a false report of theft of his vehicle. The defendant received a suspended sentence as 12 months on probation.

Speaking in tandem with a Polish interpreter, prosecutor Dean Ring said that at 9:17 p.m. on Mar. 7, 2009, Huronia West OPP officers were called to a car in the ditch on County Road 10 in Clearview Township. Witnesses described the accused's northbound vehicle, which had "signaled a left and then missed the turn" in the fog. The same witnesses allegedly noted a smell of alcohol on the driver's breath before he left the scene on foot.

Police were able to identify the accused and traced him to his nearby home, where in an intoxicated state he was told of the accident. The officers then said "they would return when he was sober," said Ring. A scant 10 minutes after their departure, the OPP received a 911 call from Guzik claiming that his car had just been stolen. The defendant persisted in this vein to the extent of giving statements at the Huronia West detachment. This was despite his having no memory of the night before. Given the evidence, which proved him to be dishonest, the accompanying charge of impaired driving - which in any event was beyond proof in the time frame - was withdrawn in Tuesday's court.

Guzik was forbidden to drive except to and from work, medical appointments, and for sustenance for a year.

"The offence is very serious and the motivation is apparent," wrote Mr. Justice Roland Harris.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Poland wants ban on slot machines amid lobbying scandal

Poland wants ban on slot machines amid lobbying scandalFrom: M&C
Slot Machines: yea, this is the problem...
Poland's ruling Civic Platform party is working on a draft bill that will ban slot machines outside casinos and raise taxes on the gambling industry, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Tuesday.

'We propose de-legalizing a considerable part of the gambling industry,' Tusk told reporters in Warsaw. 'In the course of five years, locations with (slot) machines should disappear from Poland by 100 per cent.'

The announcement came weeks after a scandal hit Tusk's party and threatened its image one year before the country's presidential election.

The scandal saw four ministers depart on October 7 after a report alleged that they had unfairly lobbied on behalf of gambling companies to block provisions on a bill that would have increased the companies' taxes.

Tusk said the bill will outlaw slot machines - known as 'one-armed bandits' - anywhere outside of a casino, and will ban online gambling.

The draft bill would also raise taxes on slot machines from the current 180 euros a month to 480 euros a month, Tusk said, during the period of five years before they are banned entirely.

There are some 24,000 slot machines in Poland, local media said, which can commonly be found in shopping malls, fast food restaurants or bus and train stations.

The gambling industry made a profit of some 17 billion zloty (5.9 billion dollars) in 2008, up by some 40 per cent from the previous year, according to a survey on business website

Monday, November 02, 2009

Wozniacki 'scandal' should serve as end to on-court coaching

From: SI
Guilty as hell: Caroline Wozniacki had to answer questions about her match retirement last week in Luxembourg.
A few thoughts from the tennis world ...

For years, many of you have joined me in begging the WTA to euthanize the failed experiment that is "on-court coaching." We may finally get our wish. Though not without the usual whiff of drama.

Playing in Luxembourg last week, Caroline Wozniacki was a few games from beating Anne Kremer in a first-round match. However, an injury was going to prevent Wozniacki from playing her next match. During a changeover, Wozniacki's father/coach instructed her to retire before winning outright -- good form, particularly since Kremer is from Luxembourg.

All good, right? Problem was, he said this in Polish during a changeover and, thanks to on-court coaching, microphones picked up the discourse. Armed with this information, online gamblers quickly bet on Kremer, who did in fact advance when Wozniacki retired leading 7-5, 5-0. The anti-integrity cops were summoned and suddenly this was a big story.

Maybe a gambler can explain this to me: What's the problem? Aren't gamblers always looking for an incremental edge, a piece of information that tips the odds in their favor? There was no "inside information," since anyone watching the match was privy to the dad's instructions. So long as neither Wozniacki nor her father was complicit -- and there's no indication they were -- why is this any different from an attentive viewer noticing a player limping or changing her strings and betting accordingly? Lastly, how did the WTA not anticipate that coaches wired for sound during matches might impart information relevant to gamblers?

Whatever, this "scandal" was the dominant tennis news this week. If the upshot is the WTA finally gives the heave-ho to on-court coaching, that's great. Too bad it wasn't before one of the more marketable young stars had to defend her honor when, it appears, she did nothing wrong.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I am not a cheat, says former anti-corruption chief

From: The News
Mariusz Kaminski: Guilty as hell
As the government announces a war on gambling, the former head of Poland’s anti-corruption bureau fights for his reputation after being sacked following the “Blackjack affair.”

Former head of Poland’s anti-corruption bureau, Mariusz Kaminski, said today that he will not “shut his mouth” and will continue to defend his reputation and expose unlawful practices within government.

“I’m not a cheat,” said Mariusz Kaminski at a self-organized press conference. The former anticorruption chief announced that he will do everything possible to defend his image as a reliable person in the public eye. “I will not let anyone intimidate me, I will not let anyone shut my mouth” said Kaminski, who says the government and particularly the ruling Civic Platform party are trying presenting him as a liar.

Kaminski was sacked by Prime Minister Donald Tusk as head of the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA) after he accused ministers - in what is now known as the Blackjack affair - of taking money from the gambling industry and lobbying on their behalf to change betting legislation that would have increased tax on gambling.

Gambling reputations

Prime Minister Tusk gave details of the latest draft of the gambling bill after Kaminski‘s press conference, which would limit the use of one-armed bandits to casinos and, crucially, significantly raise taxes on betting.

Tusk announced that the government is launching a war on gambling in Poland.

“We want to limit or, if it is possible, completely abolish gambling in Poland,” he said, adding that a growing number of young people are addicted to gambling.

“We aim to reduce the market in [one armed bandits] by 20 to 25 percent a year, leading to their eventual abolition,” he said.

Security certs

Kaminski (left) said at his press conference today that he will appeal to Prime Minister Tusk against the Internal Security Bureau’s decision to deprive him of the so called “security certificate”, which allows access to classified documents.

“If the PM thinks that the decision was lawful, which I presume he will do, I will appeal to the court,” he said.

Civic Platform’s Andrzej Halicki (PO) said afterwards that the former head of the CBA is continuing to act as a political activist for the opposition Law and Justice party - which set up the anti-corruption agency while in government in 2006 - and not as an impartial investigator of crime. "Kaminski should be held accountable, should tell the truth and stick to the facts," Halicki said.

He added that if Kaminski has knowledge of any unlawful activities by politicians then he should notify the public prosecutor.