Amber Gold: where’s the money, Mr P?

Disgraced parabank Amber Gold has up to now had assets estimated at some  105 million złoty. But an investigation by the Polish language newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza suggests that the compay may hold up to 80 million zł more than that.

It’s great news for investors in the company, who lost an estimated total of 80 million zł when the company collapsed this summer. The only problem is, nobody knows where the money is.

Investigators in Gdańsk, where Amber Gold is based, will this week file their second report on the company’s assets. Trustee Józef Dębiński told the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza: “We’re looking for property.”

But the hunt for Amber Gold’s assets may take a long time, as the trail takes in a complex web of receipts and donations. Amongst these are the sale of the collapsed budget airline OLT Express, to a company called Marsvin Gmbh, which was registered in Hamburg in May. There are also questions about property owned by Amber Gold boss Marcin P’s wife Katarzyna.

The Amber Gold affair has sparked near-crisis in Polish legal and political circles, with Andrzej Seremet, the Attorney General, telling journalists at a press conference in Warsaw that, as early as 2009, the Banking Finance Commission had warned prosecutors in Gdańsk that Amber Gold might have been operating without the right licences. Mr Seremet criticised investigators, saying that prosecutors in Gdańsk had demonstrated an ‘unprofessional approach’ and ‘a lack of imagination’ in pursuing the case. Prosecutors said there was no evidence that Amber Gold was acting illegally.

The collapse of Amber Gold prompted calls from the opposition party Law and Justice for a parliamentary enquiry into the affair. But the motion was defeated, by 235 votes to 220. Arguing against an enquiry, Prime Minister Donald Tusk – whose son Michał worked at OLT – said such a move would serve only to promote politicians. Mr Tusk echoed the Attorney General’s claims that prosecutors in Gdańsk were partly to blame for the huge personal losses of Amber Gold’s customers.

Amber Gold’s chief executive, Marcin P, faces criminal charges relating to not filing the correct financial reports, falsifying documents, and breaching banking law.

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