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Prosecutor revokes temporary arrest of new Polish MEP

The Polish prosecutor’s office has revoked the temporary arrest of Wodzimierz Karpinski, a former minister, following the issuance by the parliamentary speaker of a decision confirming that Karpinski has become a Member of the European Parliament.

“In connection with the issuance by the Speaker of the Polish Sejm (lower house of parliament – PAP) of a decision confirming the taking up by Wlodzimierz K. of a seat in the European Parliament, the prosecutor has been forced to revoke the preventative measures applied to the suspect… In the prosecutor’s assessment, the suspect’s release from arrest will have a negative impact on the further course of procedures,” a prosecutor’s statement read.

Karpinski came fourth in the 2019 elections to the European Parliament, but can now take up the mandate as the contenders that took first and second places were both elected to the Polish parliament on October 15, and the person who was third in line died in May.

On February 27, Central Anti-Corruption Bureau officers detained Karpinski, a treasury minister in the Donald Tusk government in 2013-2015. He is a suspect in a corruption investigation that has already seen a former deputy treasury minister, Rafal Baniak, arrested. 

Baniak and two businessmen who have also been arrested are suspected of illegally arranging contracts worth a total of PLN 600 million (EUR 127 million) with Warsaw-based waste disposal company MPO, which was headed by Karpinski. 

The National Prosecutor’s Office wrote in a statement released on Thursday: “The rulings to date of various courts extending the temporary arrest of Wlodzimierz K. have positively verified evidence compiled by the prosecutor, all of which concludes that there is a high probability of the suspect having committed the corruption crimes he is accused of, consisting of accepting bribes to the tune of almost PLN 5 million (EUR 1.14 million).”

Investigators added that courts had so far shared the prosecutor’s concerns of the possibility of “procedural fraud” by Karpinski and said that their arguments for the need for pre-trial detention had been confirmed as he had “already taken actions that constituted obstruction of the investigation.”

Another argument supporting the extension of Karpinski’s arrest is the fact that he faces up to 12 years in prison, the prosecutor’s office said.

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