Polish internal security busts officials in bribes-for-shale scam
The Polish Internal Security Agency (ABW) revealed the details of a scam involving the bribing of Environment Ministry officials in exchange for the creation and allocation of shale gas licenses for private companies, the local media reported, August 5.
“The Prosecutor’s Office has incriminated a former director at the ministry, two employees and company representatives,” news portal TVN24 reported.
Ewa Z., director of the geology and concessions department at the Environment Ministry, and two of her colleagues, stand accused of receiving bribes of up to PLN 55,000 to put together proposals for the allocation of shale gas licenses for foreign companies. Ewa Z. allegedly passed the completed proposals to Irena R., an employee at a private sector extraction company. They were then given to two shale gas company managers who reportedly sponsored the whole scam.
The companies represented by the aforementioned managers subsequently submitted the proposals back the ministry, where Ewa Z. made sure that the licenses were approved.
The ABW monitored cash transfers to bank accounts belonging to Ewa z.’s colleagues who helped prepare the proposals, which allowed it to trace the bribes and ascertain their value.
The intermediary in the scandal, Irena R. was reportedly employed in a subsidiary of Hungarian LNG company Emfesz, which belongs to Group DF, owned by a Ukrainian entrepreneur. Emfesz holds 21 shale licenses in Poland. Company directors denied any knowledge of the scam.
The Polish Environment Ministry has refused to comment.