Head of Poland’s secret service stumbles on Corona business

Dhe death of a Polish arms dealer in Albania and the mysterious circumstances surrounding it are apparently the reason for the resignation of the head of the Polish foreign intelligence service AW. Piotr Krawczyk, previously a diplomat and Middle East expert, had headed the service since 2016, but surprisingly handed in his resignation on Thursday – “for personal reasons,” as it was officially said. For the replacement of a secret service chief, it takes in Poland an opinion of the Intelligence Committee of the Sejm. This was called together for a non-public meeting on Friday afternoon. Opposition MP and former Interior Minister Marek Biernacki said before the meeting that Poland as a state is experiencing a “security crisis”. You can’t change the AW boss in the middle of a war.

Gerhard Gnauck

Political correspondent for Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania based in Warsaw.

Krawczyk, who at the age of 44 had gained experience in the region from Turkey to Afghanistan, was apparently doomed by the “ventilator affair” from the time of the pandemic. Maybe he’s just a scapegoat – at least that’s how some Polish media portray it. The central actor in the affair was Robert Izdebski, who was found dead in his apartment in Tirana on June 21.

Actor’s body found in Albania

The man, who died at the age of 73, is said to have worked for one of the secret services before 1989. After reunification he did business, also on a large scale with weapons of war. When 2020 that Coronavirus spread, Izdebski quickly arranged a deal for 1,241 ventilators for Poland through his company E&K. The AW secret service had recommended a number of suppliers for this, including E&K. It later turned out that Izdebski charged excessive prices, never delivered the vast majority of the devices, but collected several million euros.

Strange things happened when Izdebski’s body was found in Albania in June. Apparently the body was not autopsied. The coffin was transported to the Polish city of Łódź, where it is reported that it was cremated unopened. Later said Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, to his knowledge “there was contact with the Albanian secret services and the cremation was made at the request of the family and in consultation with the secret services”. Responding to a journalist’s objection that two prosecutors on the case presented things differently, Morawiecki said he had not spoken to them and did not question the journalist’s information.

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