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Additional charges against Father Michał O. and the former deputy director of the Justice Fund

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Father Michał O. was charged with two additional charges of money laundering in an investigation into irregularities in the Justice Fund. – The idea was to make the money appear as purely earned, i.e. from rent, and then not be subject to certain rigors related to the contract with the Justice Fund – explained Przemysław Nowak, spokesman for the National Prosecutor's Office. The suspect is currently in custody. He faces up to 10 years in prison. – Investigators from the team investigating the Justice Fund scandal also supplemented the allegations against Karolina K., former deputy director of the Justice Fund. This includes, among other things, exceeding and failing to fulfill obligations – said Maciej Duda, journalist of tvn24.pl and Superwizjera TVN.

According to Przemysław Nowak, spokesman for the National Prosecutor's Office, the prosecutor accused the suspect of carrying out activities in 2020-2021 aimed at preventing the finding of criminal origin of funds obtained under the contract concluded by the Profeto Foundation with the Justice Fund for the construction of the Archipelag center in Wilanów.

“These acts were allegedly committed jointly and in consultation with Piotr W., the president of TISO sp. z o. o., who was then the main contractor of the above-mentioned center,” says prosecutor Nowak in the statement.

See also: “Missing millions. Neither the priest nor the order will admit it. So who are these transfers for?”

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Michał O. pleads not guilty

“The suspect led to the signing of a lease agreement for the land on which the construction of the center was carried out, on the basis of which the company TISO sp. z o. o. rented part of the above-mentioned property from the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (co-owner). The other co-owner of the property was the Profeto Foundation represented by Michał O. ” – Nowak said in a statement.

In execution of the contract, TISO sp. z o. o. – according to investigators' findings – transferred funds in the total amount of PLN 3.65 million to the bank account of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Michał O. then transferred the money to the account of the Profeto Foundation, “thus making it difficult to determine its origin from a crime committed to the detriment of the Justice Fund.”

“The suspect, Michał O., who was interrogated additionally, did not admit to committing the acts he was accused of and refused to provide explanations. A measure in the form of pre-trial detention is being applied to the suspect,” said the PK spokesman. “The General Inspector of Financial Information informed the prosecutor's office about the suspicion of committing the above crimes, attaching relevant documentation and bank details. The materials obtained from the GIFI, supplemented as part of the prosecutor's office's own activities, constituted the basis for the charges presented,” the prosecutor added.

Completed charges against the former deputy director of the Justice Fund

– Investigators from the team investigating the Justice Fund scandal also supplemented the allegations against Karolina K., former deputy director of the Justice Fund. This includes: for exceeding and failing to fulfill obligations. Prosecutors took a closer look at her role in two competitions organized by the fund. One of them is the one which – according to the prosecutor's office – was illegally won by Father Michał O.'s Profeto foundation. In this case, Karolina K. was accused of having jointly and in consultation with Father Michał O. and the then director of FS Urszula D., as well as with other people (the prosecutor's office is currently not disclosing their details) caused great damage to the property of the State Treasury – said Maciej Duda, journalist of tvn24.pl and Superwizjera TVN. According to the journalist's unofficial findings, other suspects in this scandal will face further, extended charges later this week.

“The idea was to make the money look like it was purely earned”

As prosecutor Nowak later explained in a conversation with TVN24 reporter Artur Molęda, the money referred to in the additional charges against Michał O. was returned to Profeto's account, but not as funds from the Justice Fund, but as profit from renting real estate. The PK spokesman emphasized that the statement regarding the allegations had to be “greatly simplified.” – The complaint is two pages long and contains a number of details related to these transactions – noted Nowak.

He also stated that the idea was for the money to “give the impression that it was purely earned, i.e. from rent, and then was not subject to certain rigors related to the contract with the Justice Fund.”

Prosecutor Nowak emphasized that the proceedings are treated as a priority. – This is simply a very serious crime to the detriment of the State Treasury and the injured parties who should receive this money – he added. A decision on extending the suspects' detention is expected to be made within a few days.

The TVN24 reporter asked the prosecutor what are the real chances that the money will return to the “public piggy bank”? – It's hard to assess these chances. As the prosecutor's office, we will take action to secure the highest possible amount in criminal proceedings. The prosecutor made very extensive property security measures, including real estate, replied Przemysław Nowak.

Father Michał O. faces up to 10 years in prison.

Prosecutor Przemysław Nowak on details regarding the charges against priest Michał O. TVN24

Prime Minister Donald Tusk commented on the matter. “New charges from the prosecutor's office in the case of Ziobro's organized group. This time money laundering. Surprised?” = wrote on the X platform

A record donation for a priest

Michał O. is the president of the church's Profeto Foundation, which was to receive a record subsidy from Zbigniew Ziobro's ministry, amounting to nearly PLN 100 million, for the Archipelag center. Of this amount, PLN 66 million was paid. The facility being established in Warsaw is intended to help crime victims.

The circumstances of the subsidy and the issue of transfers were described on tvn24.pl in February by Sebastian Klauziński and Maria Pankowska (OKO.press) in the material “Missing millions. Neither the priest nor the order will admit it. So who are these transfers for?”

As Sebastian Klauziński said on TVN24, the company that was to build the center transferred over PLN 3.6 million for renting the area. – When we asked Father Michał O. about these transfers, he said that they were for the Order of the Sacred Heart. When we asked the order about them, its spokesman replied that everything was handled by Profeto. Actually, no one told us what happened with this money, Klauziński said.

The journalist noted that it is not known how the case will develop. – We are talking about PLN 3.65 million. Let us recall that the Profeto Foundation received over PLN 66 million for the construction of the center. We expect that there will be an examination of how the rest of this money was spent. The building is still standing, but unfinished. Let us recall that the subsidy was supposed to amount to PLN 40 million. Then it was increased with subsequent annexes, signed by Marcin Romanowski, one of the heroes tapes regarding the Justice Fund – he said.

As Klauziński pointed out, the increasing costs of construction of this building were explained, among others, by: inflation, rising prices of building materials, war in Ukraine. – But when asked what exactly these subsequent tranches were for, Father Michał O. was unable to answer. I guess there will be a deep analysis of how these 66 million were spent, he concluded.

Main photo source: Damian Klamka/East News



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