January 29, 2019 / 7:01 AM / 20 days ago

Austrian businessman's lawyers accuse Poland's ruling party head of not paying for services

FILE PHOTO: Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, attends regional elections, at a polling station in Warsaw, Poland, October 21, 2018. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

WARSAW (Reuters) - Lawyers for Austrian businessman Gerald Birgfellner accused Poland’s ruling party chief Jaroslaw Kaczynski of failing to pay him for services related to an office tower project in downtown Warsaw, Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza reported on Tuesday.

Recordings obtained by the paper dating from July 2018 appeared to feature audio of Kaczynski commenting on and cancelling the project. The paper cited unidentified sources.

“If we don’t win the elections, we won’t be able to build this tower in Warsaw,” he says in the recordings, according to Wyborcza.

Beata Mazurek, a spokeswoman for Kaczynski’s PiS party, said on Twitter on Monday: “‘Pseudo revelations’ that are being discussed today on (Twitter) is just another story from (Gazeta Wyborcza) about the company Srebrna. The same gossip and speculation, that we’ve been hearing for years.”

Mazurek was not immediately available for comment when Reuters called on Tuesday.

Kaczynski oversaw the investment process for the building of the office project, which was meant to include apartments, a hotel and the base of the Lech Kaczynski foundation, named after Jaroslaw’s twin brother and former president of Poland, Gazeta Wyborcza said.

State-run bank Pekao was meant to help finance the investment preparations for up to 15.5 million euros and offer credit for around 300 million euros, the newspaper said.

Kaczynski is accused of not paying Birgfellner for his services. Birgfellner’s lawyers have notified the Warsaw prosecutor’s office of a potential crime on Kaczynski’s part, Wyborcza said.

Reporting by Joanna Plucinska and Anna Koper; Editing by Paul Tait

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