Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said: “Demands to purchase Lithuania’s friendship are unacceptable”, while Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius called the recording “a serious warning to those who think that relations between countries can depend on the size of the country”.
Polish state broadcaster TVP on Monday aired the recordings of a private conversation – part of a major wire-tapping scandal that rocked the Polish government in 2014. The recordings show the foreign minister at the time, Radosław Sikorski, instructing Polish state-run refiner Orlen's CEO Jacek Krawiec on how to deal with Lithuanian authorities.
The Lithuanian authorities were reportedly “causing problems” for the Polish refiner in regards to a plant in Mazeikiai, northwestern Lithuania, which Orlen took over in 2006, according to the wPolicyce.pl portal.
In the recordings, Sikorski can allegedly be heard saying: “I want to teach the Lithuanians so they understand that sh**ting on Poland comes at a price,” and that Lithuania is a “tiny country”.
Between July 2013 and June 2014, the conversations of people in the upper echelons of Polish politics, business and public service were recorded without their knowledge at the fashionable Sowa & Przyjaciele restaurant in Warsaw and later leaked to media.
Such recordings are illegal in Poland and under the penal code are punishable by up to two years in jail.
A Polish businessman was found guilty of masterminding the recordings and was sentenced to 30 months in jail – subject to appeal – while another businessman and a waiter received suspended sentences.
A second waiter was fined but avoided sentencing by helping prosecutors with their investigation.
Among those recorded in the scandal were former Interior Minister Bartłomiej Sienkiewicz, former central bank head Marek Belka and current Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Mateusz Morawicki, then a chairman of a major bank.
The conversations, many of them expletive-ridden, of more than 100 people were illegally recorded on 66 occasions; their revelation rocked Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform (PO) government in 2014, later leading to the resignation of at least nine high-ranking party members.
Civic Platform leader Grzegorz Schetyna on Monday said the latest revelations by the Polish state broadcaster’s TVP Info channel were propaganda aiming to discredit the PO, which is now in opposition, pointing out that the wire-tapping scandal was three-and-a-half years old.
Zbigniew Kuźmiuk, an MEP from Poland’s ruling, conservative Law and Justice party, said the recordings show "what the Civic Platform is like on the inside". (vb/pk)