‘To me, he seems to be a Law and Justice (PiS) supporter who could no longer stand what was going on’ – Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska, Head of the Civil Platform’s (PO) Investigation Team on Threats to State Security, tells ‘Wyborcza’. On Friday, Robert Z., the former Security Manager of the Polish Hotel Holding (Polski Holding Hotelowy) and until recently a close associate of Maciej Wąsik, the Deputy Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration (MSWiA), met with the Team.
The meeting took place on Friday morning. It lasted for approximately two hours and was closed to the media. The meeting was being recorded.
‘Our guest confirmed everything what the ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’ has published and what was included in his notarized statement. It was quite an interesting meeting. Robert Z. was very close with Maciej Wąsik, an MP from his region. Mr. Z. said that he continued to believe in the ideals of the Law and Justice (PiS) party, however, he could not come to terms with the methods deployed by some party members’ said Kluzik-Rostkowska. She added that the whistleblower confirmed that he would be coming to subsequent meetings.
The Team took an interest in the publication by ‘Gazeta Wyborcza under the title ‘Hotele na podsłuchu’ (Bugged Hotels). On Monday, we disclosed evidence of a collaboration between the management of Polish Hotel Holding (PHH), a state-owned hotel chain, and Law and Justice politicians and special services. On 9 September 2020, in an email to Joachim Brudzinski (Law and Justice MP), PHH President Gheorghe Cristescu conveyed information about a meeting to be held between Civic Platform leaders and a Belarusian oppositionist Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. The meeting was to take place on the following day in the VIP room of the Courtyard by Marriott hotel managed by PHH and located at the Okęcie Airport. Cristescu informed Brudziński who would attend the meeting and what security measures have been envisaged by the meeting organisers. Furthermore, suggestions that the conversation would be recorded by the Internal Security Agency (ABW) appeared in PHH’s internal e-mails conveyed by Cristescu to the Law and Justice MP.
This was confirmed to ‘Wyborcza’ by Robert Z. who was employed by the Polish Hotel Holding as the Security Manager during the years 2019-2021. According to his account, Cristescu’s email is authentic and the PHH President himself urged him to ‘help the boys’, that is to help officers of the Internal Security Agency (ABW).
Maciej Wąsik, who got Robert Z. employed by the Polish Hotel Holding, allegedly knew about the whole affair. Later Wąsik allegedly urged Robert Z. to assist the Internal Security Agency (ABW) in the surveillance of Bartosz Kramek, an opposition activist conflicted with the Law and Justice (PiS) government. Kramek was a guest at one of PHH’s hotels. According to Robert Z.’s account, the hotel staff collaborated with the Internal Security Agency in providing data about Kramek’s stay. The Internal Security Agency also wanted Robert Z. to comb Kramek’s room in his absence in order to find compromising materials against the activist. Robert Z. did not want to do it. He left PHH, and on 10 February 2023, in the presence of Kramek, he made a statement before a notary in which he described the illegal tasks he had performed at PHH for special services.
After the publication by ‘Wyborcza’, Bartosz Kramek reported an offence with the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
In its response to our questions, the Polish Hotel Holding did not want to discuss the content of Cristescu’s email to Brudziński in any way whatsoever. The company focused on discrediting Robert Z. as a source of information, alleging that he sought money that was not due to him after he left his job.
Neither the Internal Security Agency (ABW), the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration (MSWiA) nor Wąsik or Brudziński are answering any questions on this case. On the other hand, since Thursday, lawyers engaged by the PHH have been flooding our editorial office with disclaimers (we have already received five of those) in which they refute the information we have published. Their letters contain no reference to Cristescu’s email. PHH writes that ‘no unlawful surveillance of guests’ takes place in the company’s hotels, immediately followed by a statement to the effect that ‘each and every assistance to the special services of the Polish State [the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA), the Internal Security Agency (ABW), the Public Prosecutor’s Office] is provided within the limits and on the basis of the generally applicable law’. The Polish Hotel Holding has also stated that ‘to the extent that any unlawful actions were taken by Mr. Robert Z., they took place without the knowledge or consent of PHH’.