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article imageAustrian businessman takes Poland's powerful party leader to court: lawyer

By AFP     Jan 29, 2019 in World

An Austrian businessman has accused the powerful head of Poland's right-wing ruling party Jaroslaw Kaczynski of failing to pay him for his work on a real estate project in Warsaw, the plaintiff's lawyer said Tuesday.

Kaczynski is the leading figure in the Law and Justice (PiS) party, which has introduced a string of controversial judicial reforms since coming to power in 2015 that the EU warns are a risk to Poland's rule of law.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has called the allegations "attacks" on Kaczynski, who is a "symbol of honesty and credibility."

According to local newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, businessman Gerald Birgfellner is requesting payment for work on twin towers that are to be located in the heart of the Polish capital.

"Our client feels that he's been wronged. He hasn't been paid. We filed a complaint with the prosecutor's office," Birgfellner's lawyer Jacek Dubois told AFP, confirming a report published by the liberal Gazeta Wyborcza daily.

Dubois said that according to his client, Kaczynski "made the decisions and gave guarantees that the payment would be made".

"Our client had been asked to issue an invoice to a firm that was insolvent," he said, adding that the sum in question was four million zloty (930,000 euros, $1 million).

PiS spokeswoman Beata Mazurek called the daily's report "pseudo revelations" that are nothing but "gossip and speculation".

The structure is nicknamed the "K-Towers" or "twins", in reference to Kaczynski and his late twin Lech, who was Poland's president when he died in a 2010 plane crash in Russia along with 95 others.

The 190-metre (620-foot) towers are due to house a hotel, offices and the headquarters of the Lech Kaczynski Foundation.

Birgfellner's firm was allegedly due to receive a total of nine million euros ($10 million) once the project was completed, or three percent of the project's total estimated value of 300 million euros, according to Gazeta Wyborcza.

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