WARSAW, June 14 A Polish magazine said on
Saturday it had a recording of a private conversation in which
the central bank chief told a minister that the bank would be
willing to help rescue the government from economic troubles on
condition the finance minister was removed.
The weekly Wprost news magazine said it had a recording of a
meeting in a Warsaw restaurant last July between central bank
governor Marek Belka and Interior Minister Bartlomiej
Sienkiewicz. It did not say who recorded their conversation, or
how it had obtained the recording.
According to extracts of the audio recording posted on the
Internet by the magazine, which have been heard by Reuters
reporters and were also emailed to Reuters by Wprost in
transcript form, the minister sets out a scenario in which the
government could not meet its financial commitments and faced
election defeat, and refers in vague terms to monetary policy
action carried out elsewhere in Europe - an apparent reference
to central bank stimulus.
"Is that precisely the moment for launching this sort of
solution, or not?" Sienkiewicz asks Belka.
Belka replies, according to the transcript: "My condition
would be the removal of the finance minister."
The finance minister at the time, Jacek Rostowski, was
removed last November as part of a cabinet reshuffle.
Repeated calls by Reuters to the mobile telephone number of
a central bank spokesman and the interior ministry's press
office went unanswered. The government's press office did not
pick up calls seeking comment.
It is unclear if Rostowki's departure was in any way
connected to the exchange between Belka and Sienkiewicz. Reuters
was not immediately able to reach him for comment on Saturday.
Tusk said at the time the changes were to inject new energy
into the government, and Rostowski did not publicly object to
The magazine published a summary of what it said was the
conversation between Belka and Sienkiewicz on its website. It
said it would publish more details in its next edition on
Prime Minister Donald Tusk said on Twitter he would comment
on the report on Monday.
"Unfortunate business. I don't underestimate it. I will
comment on that publicly on Monday at 3 p.m. (1300 GMT) during a
news conference," he said.
Poland's central bank is required to be independent of the
government, according to a ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal
It was not possible to establish from the excerpts whether
the two men were talking informally or in serious discussion of
the outlines of a potential deal. It is also not known if Belka
espoused different views in other parts of the transcript.
Jaroslaw Gowin, who quit his post as justice minister in
Tusk's government last year and is now in opposition, said in a
Twitter post on Saturday in reference to the Wprost report that
Belka and Sienkiewicz should be dismissed. He did not give a
Poland suffered a sharp economic slowdown last year. The
government was forced to revise its budget after forecasts for
budget revenue proved over-optimistic. Since then, the public
finances have improved and the economy is back to robust growth.
(Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Christian Lowe and