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Deadline day for Poland to brief the EU Commission on its cash-for-visas probe

FILE - Members of a group of some 30 migrants seeking asylum are seen in Bialowieza, Poland, on 28 May 2023
FILE - Members of a group of some 30 migrants seeking asylum are seen in Bialowieza, Poland, on 28 May 2023 Copyright AP Photo/Agnieszka Sadowska
Copyright AP Photo/Agnieszka Sadowska
By Magdalena Chodownik
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The corruption investigation is taking place during a general election campaign where migration is a key issue for candidates.


In the midst of an election campaign where migration is a key issue, the Polish government must today meet a European Commission deadline to explain allegations of corruption in its issuing of visas.

Last month, the ruling Law and Justice party was rocked by reports that Polish consulates issued visas in Africa and Asia in exchange for bribes, potentially opening the door for migrants to enter the European Union.

Polish prosecutors released a statement revealing it had begun investigations of corruption as long ago as July 2022.

In a statement, the National Prosecutor’s Office, said: "The allegations include, among others: invoking influence in a state institution and accepting financial benefits as well as providing financial benefits for intermediation in setting matters in a state institution. These acts are punishable by up to 8 years' imprisonment."

Investigative journalists in Poland say they have uncovered evidence that intermediaries were accepting bribes to put applicants in touch with private companies that the Polish government had hired to handle the visa application process.

“To submit visa documents in India, it was necessary to pay a bribe - according to my sources - of the equivalent of about 800 euros,” said Lukasz Ciesla, investigative journalist at ONET.

One of the outsourcing companies, VFS Global, told Euronews none of its staff had ever been investigated for irregularities in Poland.

“At no time, since we've been working for the Polish government, have any of our members of staff been arrested or investigated for any wrongdoing related to Poland visa services,” said Chris Dix, Head of Business Development, VFS Global.

Poland’s general election takes place on October 15th.

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