Friday, April 25, 2008

Comarch says CEO innocent, blasts prosecutors

Polish IT company Comarch COMH.WA said on Wednesday that charges against its chief executive Janusz Filipiak were groundless, and his detention at the weekend by Polish judicial authorities was overzealous.

Filipiak was briefly detained on Saturday, and prosecutors charged him with breaking employment law related to a footballer's contract at a soccer club he controls.

"Professor Filipiak pleads not guilty (to) the pressed charges and has already appealed against them and against the proceedings of the Krakow District Attorney (prosecutor) office," Comarch said in a statement.

Filipiak's case coincides with but is unrelated to an official investigation of a game-rigging scandal engulfing many Polish soccer clubs.

Comarch said some media unfairly presented Filipiak's detention as linked to the scandal. The company accused the prosecutors of a witch hunt against Polish businessmen.

"The case seems to be ... one of many show-off cases by the Polish Public Attorney's Office in recent years, all of which resulted in disgrace for the Attorney's office and prompted apologies to the unjustly detained businessmen," it said.

Polish prosecutors have been embarrassed in recent years when high-profile arrests of prominent businessmen have resulted in failure to bring charges or been thrown out by courts.

The prosecutor could not immediately be reached for comment.

Comarch shares dropped as much as 8 percent on Monday but have since regained some ground. They closed at 106.6 zlotys on Wednesday, up 0.4 percent on the day.

Filipiak and his wife hold nearly 68 percent of Comarch, which he founded in 1993.

"This ... incident has no relation whatsoever to Comarch, and it does not impact in any way on Comarch's business operations," the Krakow-based group said.