GB No. 1(16)/95
For all Poles America is a symbol of everything we fought for- freedom and democracy - and for our economy she is an example of well functioning free market - said Prime Minister Jan Krzysztof Bielecki during the opening of a seminary of American-Polish Enterprise Fund in Gdańsk, May 1991.1
The Polish-American Enterprise Fund was found in 1990 by the US Congress, which assigned $ 240 million for the organisation to spend within three years. The aim of the PAEF has been supporting economic changes in Poland. 2 By October 1994 the Fund had invested in Poland about $ 200 million. the PAEF is a share-holder of over 40 companies linked with Polish as well as foreign firms; three times it purchased privatised factories in co-operation with their management.3
One of the most interesting transactions conducted by the PAEF is a purchase of 70% shares of "Hydrotest-Kraków". It took place in 1993 and the costs of the shares amounted to ZL 54 000 million.4 When signing the relevant contract the Fund undertook to invest at least ZL 10 000 million in the company as well as to keep all the employees throughout one year.5
Neither the costs are high nor the undertaking is burdensome. "Hydrotest-Kraków" is building the Czorsztyn dam for which the National Treasure assigned in this year ZL 500 000 million and in the following year - ZL 700 000 million. To finalise the building another ZL 2 0D0 ODO million will be necessary. Moreover, "Hydrotest" is also conducting other hydro-engeneering enterprises for which the National Treasure is planning to spend billions of zlotys.
Our Fund is experimental. We would like it to become a way along which the financial support from the USA will come to Poland. - said in 1991 the Director of the PAEF. Robert Polan.1
Nicholas Rey, who has been the American Ambassador in Poland since 1990, fulfilled the function of a vice-chairman of the Polish-American Enterprise Fund. In October 1994 he resigned his post, as did Andrzej Olechowski. Thereafter new members entered the board: Lesław Paga, Stephen Robert and Donald V. Versen. At present, apart from the persons mentioned above, the board has the following members: Zbigniew Brzeziński, Jerzy Dietl, Robert G. Faris, Paweł Jagiełło, Lane Kirkland, Ryszard Masłowski, John F. Smith Jr and John P. Birklund (the chairman).
Ambassador Nicholas Rey worked in the American Treasury Department as well as in many investment banks. He was born in Warsaw and speaks Polish fluently.6 Since he is a descendant of a Polish Renaissance poet, Mikołaj Rej, he has been twice to Nagłowice, the great writer's birthplace. Before the second visit the Ambassador said:
The fact that the village in which my ancestors lived four hundred years ago is of serious importance to me.7
By the way, the village of Stare Maniowy, destined to vanish because of the Czorsztyn dam building, was found in 1326 - it has existed for 650 years.
Eventually, there is one more article in which the PAEF is mentioned. Its role this time is marginal but still there is some food for thought.
The conclusion drawn after reading the official accusation is that "Bistona", the biggest textile factory in Europe, was sold as it had been a fruitstall -this is the opening sentence of the article by Andrzej Jankowski "A oni prywatyzują nadal" ("The Privatisation Is Carried On"). The author concludes the text in the following way:
There are many queer coincidences in this case. They will certainly emerge during the legal proceedings as they are characteristic of the "white-collar crime". I was prepared for some strange phenomena before I had read the accusation files. However, I was really surprised when I learnt what happened to the accused privatisators. Nothing! They have refused to give any explanation to the court and they still enjoy high ministry offices and carry on privatisation of Polish companies. Only Marek K. has changed the post of Vice-minister to the duties of a chairman in the Polish-American Enterprise Fund. It will not be a surprise if the five defendants will wriggle out of the charges or the sentence will by only a token one. All in all, the fact that the people having made such discrediting decisions are still responsible for privatisation is incredible.
Kraków, 15. Nov. 1994
reprinted from Zielone Brygady 12/94