Bartosz Kramek from the Open Dialogue Foundation asserts that in 2019 he was subject to surveillance by special services in a hotel belonging to the state-owned Polish Hotel Holding (PHH). He also claims that he has already been contacted by other witnesses. ‘The informant was asked to look for syringes, used condoms, leftover packaging of various strange items in my room’ said Kramek in the ‘Machina Władzy’ (The Power Machine) podcast.
A few days ago, the ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’ daily has written an article devoted to cases of illegal bugging in hotels owned by a state-owned company, the Polish Hotel Holding (Polski Holding Hotelowy). The surveillance was allegedly targeted at opposition politicians and NGO activists. Bartosz Kramek of the Open Dialogue Foundation disclosed that he was one of those wiretapped persons.
‘According to our informant’s report, it was around autumn of 2019’ said Kramek in the ‘Machina Władzy’ (The Power Machine) podcast. ‘What we know is that at that time there was a conversation between the President of the Polish Hotel Holding, Mr. Cristescu, and the informant, Robert Z., who was the security manager at the Polish Hotel Holding. Robert Z. was sent to the Deputy Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration, Maciej Wąsik, who reacted very enthusiastically; they agreed that those actions (bugging of hotels rooms – note by the ed.) would be conducted in cooperation with the Internal Security agency (ABW).
Bugged hotels? Kramek: we already have other witnesses
‘Dworczyk’s emails touching upon this issue were disclosed in recent weeks. Further excerpts of message exchanges have been made available by ‘Poufna Rozmowa’ (Confidential Conversation). There we could see the message sent by Mr. Cristescu to Joachim Brudziński on surveillance in an adjacent hotel and surveillance of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and Civic Platform politicians.
‘This was the second source that contextually validated our informant’s report and hence Wojtek Czuchnowski published his article in ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’. I can initially confirm that we also have other witnesses. It concerns my case. Perhaps also other cases, but let’s say that I know more about my own case’ said Bartosz Kramek.
In the programme, the guest of the Machina Władzy’ (The Power Machine) podcast presented his version to explain why he has become the target of the alleged surveillance in the hotel. ‘The broader context is that, since July 2017, we have had a beef with the people currently in power, i.e., the Law and Justice (PiS) government. So, we meet in court, there are different litigations that have been brought against us and that we have also instituted in defence of our personal rights. In 2019 we sued Mr. Maciej Wąsik because he implied that we were Russian agents and that we were obtaining some shady money. We won this lawsuit in the court of first instance in the autumn of 2022’.
The informant received messages suggesting that he should ‘commit suicide’.
Was there any form of contact with those currently in power following the publication of the article by ‘Gazeta Wyborcza’? Bartosz Kramek mentioned a series of strange phone calls. ‘These were the signals that our informant has received. He had more than 20 dead calls at night from 21 April to 22 April and received strange messages with suggestions that he should commit suicide. These were the signals and, as far as I know, various strange people started approaching to him’.
Kramek maintained that the special services wanted to obtain materials implying his ties with Russia. ‘I have an account of our informant who said that a certain provocation attempt was made, meaning that I would be accommodated in another hotel adjacent to the Russian embassy and in that hotel I will be photographed at a table next to someone from the Russian embassy or some other Russian citizen. And this will then be used by the so-called ‘public media’.
‘This did not transpire, but it is known that these agents from the Internal Security Agency (ABW) contacted the informant and that bugging devices were to be installed. The informant was asked, in case the officers did not have such an opportunity, to comb my hotel room in search for syringes, used condoms, leftover packaging of various strange items’ said Kramek. He added that there could have been at least several instances of him being wiretapped.
‘Our informant was a close associate of Wąsik’
The Polish Hotel Holding issued a statement denying that the ‘hotel scandal’ took place. ‘The Polish Hotel Holding denies it quite strongly, yet in an interesting way. They have highlighted that cooperation, if any, (that is, the Polish Hotel Holding does not debunk it) with the special services is based on the statutory law in force. The second point emphasized by the Polish Hotel Holding in its statement is that, in the event that any illegal actions had indeed been conducted by a former employee of the company, the company is not responsible for them’ explained Kramek.
The guest of the Radio ZET podcast explained that he believes that Robert Z. is credible. ‘Our informant is indeed a former employee of the Polish Hotel Holding and a very close associate of Mr. Maciej Wąsik. The Internet is full of photos, videos, in which these gentlemen appear to be in such a close amity. And there are also other prominent Law and Justice (PiS) members, including the Prime Minister Beata Szydło, the Prime Minister Morawiecki’.
‘Their powerful silence is yet another aspect. Let me point out that is no disclaimer, not even with regard to this issue. Neither Maciej Wąsik, nor Joachim Brudziński, nor. Mr Żaryn have spoken out, although they are flooded with journalists’ requests to take a stance’ remarked Kramek.
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)
- 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)
- Gazeta Wyborcza: Bugged hotels discussed in the Sejm. The whistleblower met with opposition MPs (April 21, 2023)
- Trybuna: The room service (April 20, 2023)
- Gazeta Wyborcza: Agnieszka Kublik: Stay alert while in a hotel bathroom! This is not a hitchcock movie, this is Kaczyński’s Poland (April 19, 2023)
- 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)
- Upday: Do Law and Justice party special services snoop on the opposition in hotels? (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)