According to the ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’ daily, guests of hotels operated by the Polish Hotel Holding (PHH), including opposition politicians, are being wiretapped during their stay. In claiming so, ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’ relies on the information obtained from the former PHH Security Manager. The state-owned Polish Hotel Holding discredits this information and calls it ‘false’.
On 10 September 2020, leaders of the Civic Platform held a meeting in Warsaw with Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Belarus presidency opposition candidate. The day before, the President of the Polish Hotel Holding, Gheorghe Marian Cristescu, was said to have conveyed a detailed information about the participants and the timing of the meeting to Joachim Brudziński. This was done in an email sent by the hotel manager Artur D. to Robert Z., who was PHH’s Security Manager at the time.
The Polish Hotel Holding claims that this information is false. In turn, ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’ relies on the knowledge of Robert Z., according to whom such cases were frequent.
“Sanitary Physician” in the Room
The text of the email reads: ‘The menu and drinks have been confirmed by the Organiser, but the sanitary physician is also due to arrive’. In the lingo used by special services, the term ‘sanitary physician’ purportedly means wiretapping and surveillance.
‘If this term was used in internal emails between two important hotel employees, it means that they collaborate with the special services and are at least supposed to facilitate their operational tasks’ – a former officer of the Internal Security Agency (ABW) explained to ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’.
‘Gazeta Wyborcza’ asked the Polish Hotel Holding whether there was any surveillance of hotel guests in the hotels operated by PHH. The company replied: ‘The Polish Hotel Holding Group denies any «regular surveillance by its staff of guests pinpointed by the Internal Security Agency in PHH hotels»’.
Actions Against Bartosz Kramek
Robert Z. was employed as the Security Manager of the Polish Hotel Holding during the period from 2019 to 2021. He is said to have been given this job on the initiative of Joachim Brudziński and Maciej Wąsik. At the time there was a pending lawsuit instituted by Bartosz Kramek of the Open Dialogue Foundation against Maciej Wąsik. The Deputy Minister was accused of personal rights violation, as he publicly accused the Foundation of money laundering and connections with Russia.
Robert Z. maintains that the Internal Security Agency was interested in the activist and Wąsik wanted him discredited. Therefore, the PHH Security Manager was given specific instructions from the special services.
I was informed that I was requested to notify each arrival of Mr. Kramek at the Renesans Hotel, to provide information on the method of payment, credit card details, as well as to facilitate the installation of technical operational devices prior to Mr Kramek’s arrival at the hotel’ – wrote Z. in his statement.
‘If I were to be unable to facilitate the planting of these devices, I was asked to expediate a room search after Mr. Kramek left the hotel and, if this was also not possible, I was asked to personally comb the room and report the findings if, for example, any condom wrappers, medication packaging, or bottles of alcohol, that is items that could in any way discredit Mr. Kramek or disclose his habits or possible addictions etc. were found’ – he added.
The Polish Hotel Holding Attacks its Former Employee and Issues a Statement
In response to questions of ‘Gazeta Wyborcza” journalists, the Press Office of the PHH wrote: ‘The Polish Hotel Holding Group is aware that it is the former employee of the Polish Hotel Holding, Mr. Robert Z., who is behind dissemination of false information, and that it is done in retaliation for the failure to meet unfounded demands made against the company after termination of employment with this person’.
The Company claims that Robert Z. ‘has threatened to disclose the company’s secrets’ and ‘disseminates false information about the Group’.
Furthermore, the President of the Polish Hotel Holding issued a statement.
Robert Z. simply said: ‘I know they are collecting all bits and pieces of information that could be used against me and will spread lies. I am not troubled. I conducted myself with integrity and decency. I simply did not want to take part in violating the law’.
In other media:
- Polityka: How much the PiS government knows about us and what it can do to us. It has the most sensitive, intimate data (August 14, 2023)
- TOK.fm: The Hotel scandal. Why did the deputy Minister of the Interior and Administration order a search of Bartosz Kramek’s room? “He brazenly used the services” (May 26, 2023)
- Gazeta Wyborcza: Bartosz Kramek is seeking an apology and a compensation of PLN 1 million for being invigilated at hotels (May 23, 2023)
- Horeca Business Club: Bugged hotels of the Polish Hotel Holding: Request for a Council of Europe investigation (May 1, 2023)
- Radio Zet: Yet another bugging scandal? ‘Surveillance in hotels, searching for condoms’ (April 28, 2023)
- Gazeta Wyborcza: Poland’s government colluded with state-owned hotel chain to spy on political opponents (April 25, 2023)
- Gazeta Wyborcza: The Hotel Scandal. The Marriott Headquarters: “We are taking all efforts to ensure a warm welcome for everyone” (April 24, 2023)
- Gazeta Wyborcza: The hotel scandal. Threats against the whistleblower (April 22, 2023)
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- Gazeta Wyborcza: The hotel scandal. After the article published by ‘Wyborcza’, Kramek wants Wąsik and Brudziński prosecuted (April 18, 2023)
- Horeca Business Club: Bugged hotels of the Polish Hotel Holding Group (April 17, 2023)
- Onet: Bugged hotels. This is how special services reportedly spied on the opposition (April 17, 2023)
- Gazeta Wyborcza: Bugged hotel rooms – Law and Justice recidivists spring to action (April 17, 2023)
- Wirtualna Polska: Surveillance of hotel guests? The Polish Hotel Holding responds and denies involvement (April 17, 2023)
- Gazeta Wyborcza: Bugged Hotels. Gazeta Wyborcza Daily reveals how the Law and Justice’s secret services are keeping tabs on the opposition (April 17, 2023)