Polish Authorities Search Wprost Magazine Office in Tape Scandal

June 19 (Bloomberg) -- Polish authorities yesterday searched the office of Wprost magazine, which released a secretly taped conversation between a minister and the central bank governor that shook the government of Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

Internal Security Agency officials entered the premises to obtain the “proof” of the recordings, Renata Mazur, a spokeswoman for the Warsaw prosecutor’s office, was reported as saying by the gazeta.pl website. She didn’t answer two calls to her mobile phone seeking comment. Maciej Karczynski, a spokesman for the Internal Security Agency, didn’t answer a call to his mobile phone either.

Poland’s political scene has been in uproar since Wprost on June 14 released the recordings in which central bank Governor Marek Belka discussed with Interior Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz steps to boost the economy and help the government win elections next year. Tusk defended both men at a June 16 news conference, saying they didn’t appear to violate laws. Tusk will hold another press conference at 8 a.m. today, his office said by e-mail, without specifying the topic.

Wprost Editor-in-Chief Sylwester Latkowski was asked to surrender his laptop, he told the TVP Info news channel, which also showed police officers on the premises.

“We’re here to protect the right to the secrecy of the source,” Latkowski said on TVP Info. “We’ll release a second recording on Monday.”

TVP also showed a crowd of journalists from other media organizations who gathered outside the office to show support for Wprost.

Early Elections

Lawmakers should “seriously consider” calling early elections, Janusz Piechocinski, head of the Polish Peasants Party, a junior partner in the two-party ruling coalition, told Warsaw-based Radio Zet yesterday. The country is “in a crisis,” President Bronislaw Komorowski said yesterday in a speech in Sopot, northern Poland.

The immediate resignation of the government is backed by 48 percent of 1,004 adults polled June 17 by Millward Brown for TVN, the broadcaster reported on its website. Thirty percent wanted Tusk to stay on, according to the poll, which didn’t give a margin of error. The next election isn’t scheduled until late 2015.

To contact the reporters on this story: Piotr Skolimowski in Warsaw at pskolimowski@bloomberg.net; Konrad Krasuski in Warsaw at kkrasuski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net; James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net Jim Silver, Stephen West