Trial against Amber Gold manager
The trial against a manager of the financial services provider Amber Gold began on Monday in Gdańsk. The ex-manager is accused of cheating Polish small investors out of around 200 million euros between 2009 and 2012 through a pyramid scheme. Is Poland adequately protected against such fraud now?
Savers always fall for crooks' tricks
As the trial against an Amber Gold manager begins, financial journalist Maciej Samcik asks in the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza whether Poles would be duped by unrealistic promises of financial returns again:
“In my view this cannot be ruled out. I can well imagine a scenario in which officials once again turn a blind eye, even though the regulations have been tightened in the meantime. All it would take is for another financial magician to come along and fool the people into believing that there is such a thing as profit without risk. Once again a group of small investors will trust them with their money without asking the necessary questions. Now, so soon after the affair, the wounds are still too fresh for something like that to happen. But just wait a little and it will no doubt be possible once again.”
Polish state now well armed
Luckily the state has drawn the right consequences from the affair, the conservative daily Dziennik Gazeta Prawna writes approvingly:
“The Financial Supervisory Authority (KNF) and the Authority for Consumer Protection have been given the legal instruments to protect people against such scandals in the future. Among those instruments is the KNF president's power to open an investigation against officials to determine the precise facts. In this way he can find out whether someone has infringed the banking laws or the rules that apply in the financial sectors. … The investigators tasked by the KNF president can now act without restrictions during an investigation - for example they can simply go to the headquarters of a company which is under investigation and view documents there. If someone tries to prevent them from doing so they may face fines of up to half a million zloty [around 120,000 euros] or even prison.”