Polish minister attempts suicide after police raid foreign ministry over visa bribery scandal

A political storm is brewing in Poland over allegations that a conservative government minister accepted bribes from migrants in exchange for visas that allowed them to enter the EU illegally

editor: Remix News
author: Grzegorz Adamczyk

Polish liberal media outlets claim that migrants received visas by paying bribes to a Polish deputy foreign minister, a situation that could be particularly damaging to the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, known for its hardline stance on immigration.

In late August, Poland’s Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA) conducted a police search at the foreign ministry after receiving alerts from other EU states about an unusually high number of migrants entering the Schengen Area on Polish visas, which give holders the right to work throughout the bloc, including in countries like Germany.

The CBA’s raid of the foreign ministry led to the dismissal of Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk. The ministry cited “a lack of satisfactory cooperation” as the reason for his termination. Days after his firing, Wawrzyk attempted suicide and was hospitalized with “wounds on his hands,” according to RMF FM radio. He is now stable and no longer in a life-threatening condition.

Since then, the National Prosecutor’s Office has announced that seven individuals have been charged so far in this case, and three of them have been temporarily arrested.

Leading liberal newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reported that Wawrzyk was responsible for a project that would have eased visa restrictions for temporary workers from around 20 countries, including Islamic nations. According to the paper, the scheme could have allowed up to 400,000 workers to find employment in Poland.

“Unofficial information suggests a corrupt scheme that enabled the entry of tens of thousands of immigrants into Europe via international recruitment agencies,” read the report.

Following this, the Onet news portal disclosed that “people brought into Poland by Wawrzyk’s team posed as Bollywood film crews,” each paying between $25,000 and $40,000 for transport to the United States. One group reportedly arrived in Poland after being pressured by the deputy minister, later moving to Mexico where they tried to cross into the United States.

This led U.S. agencies to warn Polish authorities of an illegal immigration channel operating from their own territory.

While opposition politicians describe this as the “biggest scandal in the history of the Third Polish Republic,” members of the ruling party are minimizing the issue.

Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro stated over the weekend that the scandal was “microscale compared to what the storytellers from the Civic Platform are saying,” asserting that it was uncovered by Polish, not foreign, agencies.

PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński further muddied the waters by declaring at a campaign rally: “There is no scandal; it’s not even a mini-scandal. I repeat, it’s a lie, a blatant lie.”

The news story could also benefit the right-wing Confederation Party, which has criticized PiS for what it says is a lax immigration policy that has seen the number of visas for Middle Eastern and African migrants soar in recent years.

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