POLAND

Poland – Kapica: gambling did not thumb it’s nose at us

After my detention, the prosecutor’s verdict was released publicly almost immediately before the court took it. And yet the issue of irregularities in the gambling regulation has already been examined and discontinued by the public prosecutor’s office. And under the rule of the present power.

Sylwia Czubkowska: You have been given allegations that as a deputy finance minister you did not fulfill your job duties, as a result of which the gambling industry was to gain property benefits in a huge amount of over PLN 21 billion. The prosecutor’s office ordered you to “refrain from activities related to providing advice and consultation regarding the organization and conduct of gambling and mutual wagering”. We meet in your work. This has nothing to do with gambling?

Jacek Kapica: This ban is indifferent to me, because I have never intended to work in the gambling industry or advise it. My current job has nothing to do with gambling. I am not convicted, so according to the law I am innocent, but luckily, when I was detained, I was already working. If it was not so, I would have a serious problem. Finding a job by a man who is under such accusation is very difficult. Polish employers know what is going on, and probably do not want to take such a risk.

Sylwia Czubkowska: They know what is going on, which is what?

Jacek Kapica: They do not want to have trouble with the authorities. They could be interviewed by the tax office, customs and tax office or other service. Fortunately, my current employer understood the situation after the first shock. I work in an American company and for them it was absolutely absurd. In the US, if FBI detains someone with alleged embezzlement of 6.5 billion dollars, they do not release him after a few hours and do not give him his passport back. And while I was detained on Holy Thursday just before Easter, I was already at an annual meeting in the US on Monday and I could explain it to all my superiors and colleagues. Confirmation of the absurdity of that situation was a court verdict taking into account my complaint of detention and confirming that there was no such necessity. However, I am not representing a company on the formal and legal side, so to some extent my legal situation limits my professional activity. The prosecution went to court in July and the judge is getting acquainted with the files all the time. There are no deadlines yet. Court proceedings can take up to five years. Maybe not everyone is aware, but in such an intricate matter, in which there are about 300 volumes of files and 150 witnesses, the processes last for years.

Sylwia Czubkowska: You have a feeling of being a victim. Of what: the prudence of the prosecutor’s office, a political struggle?

Jacek Kapica: For many years I devoted myself to work for the state at the expense of my family, at the cost of being a victim of the gambling business hate. A vilifying campaign in the media was organized against me, and negative posters with my face rode on buses in Warsaw. When I have criminals against me and the trust of the finance minister, it can be tolerated because it works in accordance with the interest of the state. But suddenly the whole situation is reversed and the state is against me as an official. Then in April last year I was detained second after Minister Tamborski, today it is a series and style of political struggle in which the prosecutor’s office is its tool. Almost immediately after detention, there were unequivocally attacking comments from the Minister of Justice and the Prosecutor General. I would not like to compare it to the scale of attacks on Mr. Wojciech Kwaśniak (arrested for ineffective supervisory activities over SKOKs, previously beaten at the request of SKOK Wołomin), but in my case the verdict was publicly released by the state prosecutor before the court could even start to work. And yet the issue of irregularities in the regulation of gambling has already been examined by the public prosecutor’s office and discontinued in 2017, that is under the rule of the current government. So it’s hard not to feel a victim for political purposes.

Sylwia Czubkowska: Nine years have passed since the outbreak of the gambling scandal and the publication of recordings, during which PO party politicians got along with the gambling industry about the shape of the bill then prepared. The Act you have piloted and whose shape, as is clear from the recordings, you defended against pressures. Did you work properly?

Jacek Kapica: This case showed firstly that the old law of 1992 was not perfect and gave the gambling industry much too many opportunities, and the violation of their interests met with a strong reaction. The act was created in times when, for example, there was no internet and computer systems so highly developed. Machines as computer devices have been developing rapidly from 2003 to 2007. We had to change it and restore the rule of law!

Sylwia Czubkowska: And do you think that the 2009 Act created by you was perfect?

Jacek Kapica: No, because no law written at such a pace is perfect, but it was needed. However, please remember that we have been changing the law since the beginning of 2008.

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