Ex-PM questioned in Polish tax probe

A panel of Polish MPs was on Tuesday questioning former Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz as a witness in an ongoing probe into suspected cases of VAT and excise tax fraud under the country’s previous government.

Kopacz served as prime minister of Poland from 2014 to 2015. She succeeded Donald Tusk when he became president of the European Council, a top EU office.

The Polish parliamentary inquiry, led by Marcin Horała, an MP for the country’s ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, got under way after the lower house of Poland’s parliament last July voted to launch an investigation into suspected irregularities.

Horała said at the time that a probe was needed to check former finance ministry officials and others who oversaw the VAT collection system under the Civic Platform-led government, which governed Poland from 2007 to 2015.

The special parliamentary commission’s first witness, Witold Modzelewski, one of the architects of Poland’s value-added tax system and deputy finance minister from 1992 to 1996, told the investigators in September last year that the so-called VAT gap ballooned in Poland between 2007 and 2015, leading to billions of zlotys in losses for public coffers.

Poland lost hundreds of billions in uncollected taxes under its previous Civic Platform-led government, according to a report released by a tax advisory firm run by Modzelewski.

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