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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Spy, Tycoon, LUKoil Stir Up Polish Politics

bloombergJan Kulczyk
WARSAW -- Poland's security service has published notes about a secret meeting between the country's richest man, Jan Kulczyk, and a former Russian spy, in which Kulczyk suggested he had the support of President Aleksander Kwasniewski in the sale of Rafineria Gdanska, Poland's second-largest oil refinery.

Poland's corruption law bars any state officials, with the exception of Treasury Ministry officials, from negotiating business transactions, including asset sales, on the government's behalf. The security service's documents summarized a July 2003 meeting between Kulczyk and Vladimir Alganov, a former KGB agent. Kwasniewski denies any involvement in the secret negotiations.

"According to information obtained by us, Kulczyk did try to convince Alganov that he's got all authority to hold further talks," the Security Service said in the notes, which were distributed in parliament. "He was claiming to have support of a person described as 'the top man,' indicating support of the Polish president."

Polish opposition parties, led by the Citizens Platform, have called for an investigation into plans to sell the country's largest refiners, PKN Orlen and Grupa Lotos, previously Rafineria Gdanska. Kwasniewski, whose second term as Poland's president ends in 2005, can't be reelected.

"I don't have that kind of influence and don't want to have it," Kwasniewski told reporters last week. "I am absolutely in favor of the publication of these two notes."

In July last year Kulczyk, who has a 5.6 percent stake in the country's largest refinery, PKN, met Alganov, who worked for the KGB before becoming an adviser to the Russian Industry and Energy Ministry, and talked to him about the sale of Rafineria Gdanska to LUKoil.

The Polish government had already announced that it had decided against selling Rafineria Gdanska when the meeting took place. Kulczyk tried to convince Alganov that he had the authority of "the top man" in Poland to continue negotiations on the sale.

"He didn't refer directly to the president, he said 'the top man,"' said Kwasniewski. "And I am not at all of the opinion that 'the top man' has to mean the president."