WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's top justice official said Friday that prosecutors were overzealous while trying to obtain secret recordings of a compromising conversation between two top officials that threatens to topple the government
The weekly magazine Wprost last weekend released secret tapes of talks between The National Bank of Poland chief, Marek Belka, and Interior Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz in which they appear to be colluding over how the bank could help the governing party win re-election in 2015.
That would violate the bank's independence, which is against Polish law. Prime Minister Donald Tusk has said that early elections might be needed to solve the situation. On Wednesday, prosecutors were filmed trying to rip a laptop out of the hands of Wprost's chief editor. He resisted, saying he was protecting his anonymous source, and the officials left empty handed.
Justice Minister Marek Biernacki said Friday the prosecutors failed to assure Wprost that its source was protected and used "inadequate measures" that led the situation to escalate. He said those efforts have "compromised" the prosecutors.
Prosecutors' spokeswoman Renata Mazur disagreed, saying everything was done according to the law, but the hostile attitude of the chief editor and of reporters there blocked a positive effect. Mazur also told The Associated Press the suspect in the eavesdropping investigation, a restaurant manager identified only as Lukasz N., has been released on bail after being questioned and was barred from leaving Poland.
Employees of the Warsaw restaurant where the conversation was bugged refused Friday to talk to the AP.