Seven people charged in visa issuing scandal

"Thanks to the efficient operation of the services, the prosecutor of the local department of the National Prosecutor's Office presented charges against seven people in these proceedings," the prosecutor said. "Three people are being held in pre-trial detention." Leszek Szymański/PAP

Polish prosecutors have brought charges against seven people in a visa issuance scandal that cost a deputy foreign minister his job.

Daniel Lerman, deputy director of the Department of Organised Crime and Corruption of the National Prosecutor's Office said on Thursday that in the investigation into irregularities in issuing visas, the prosecutor has so far brought charges against seven people, three of whom are currently under pre-trial detention.

"Thanks to the efficient operation of the services, the prosecutor of the local department of the National Prosecutor's Office presented charges against seven people in these proceedings," the prosecutor said. "Three people are being held in pre-trial detention."

Lerman made the statement at a press conference held at the National Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw, with the participation of Stanisław Żaryn, deputy minister-coordinator of special law enforcement services.

"The investigation was initiated on March 7, based on materials provided by the Central Anticorruption Bureau," Lerman said. "It concerns paid protection in the acceleration of visa procedures in relation to several hundred visas, visa applications submitted over a year and a half. Of these several hundred visas, most were processed through refusal decisions."

He added that visa applications concerned foreigners submitting applications to Polish diplomatic missions in Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the Philippines and Qatar.

The Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper wrote last week that Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs might have allowed hundreds of thousands of migrants to come to Europe.

Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk, who had been responsible for consular and visa matters at the ministry, was dismissed in late August.

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