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  • Writer's pictureJarosław Kruk

NEW TRENDS IN FRAUDS IN POLAND

01.02.2022

Author: Jarosław Kruk - attorney at law, managing partner


In 2021, the number of crimescommitted by foreigners, often from exoticcountries, using Polish companies and bank accounts hasincreased very strongly in Poland.



Polish banks have improved their practice in preventing money laundering in recentyears. It is virtually impossible today for an offshore company or one with offshore participation to establish an account. Banks are reluctant to open accounts for EU companies, especially new ones. You need to set up a branch in Poland, have an entry in the register of entrepreneurs. Newly incorporated companies must be registered as a beneficial owner. The existing electronic way to set up the simplest limited liability company requires a PESEL number, which is given to Polish citizens, and foreigners obtaining a residence permit, work permit, and if they declare a tax purpose. Obtaining such a number is simple and inexpensive, as is the subsequent registration of the company and the establishment of company and personal accounts.


Then this company, as well as its account, can be used for various frauds, especially online. Once the stolen money enters the account, it is passed on between personal accounts and cash withdrawals are made. For larger thefts, companies with names similar to the robbed entity with the addition of "Poland", "Polska" or "CEE" etc. are often registered. There are frauds perpetrated on African companies, by representatives of Asian countries. The most common involve companies in Western Europe, the U.S. and Canada, while the perpetrators come from a variety of countries. As long as the victim reacts quickly or the bank's system detects the irregularities in time (e.g. making 10 transfers to China in one day), it is possible to block the stolen money or at least part of it and recover it later.


With the current state of the labor market, it is hard to expect that the regulations related to assigning the PESEL number will be tightened or radically changed. Some hope for countering such fraud remains in the continuous improvement of bank AML systems.


Probably a huge wave of small and bigger frauds will soon sweep through Poland due to the new legislation. Its victims will be mainly small companies, but also e.g. pensioners. As of the new 2022, Poland has the so-called "New Deal" - legislation that significantly changes the tax and social security system. The text of these regulations is approximately 700 pages of unclear, inconsistent and contradictory both to each other and to laws already in place. Simply put: one big gibberish. In over 25 years of practicing law, I have never read a more clumsy and sloppily written bill. All in all, a huge mess, hastily prepared by a group of young, inexperienced employees of the Prime Minister's Office.

However, the political objective was important. After a monthof the "Polish Order", it is clear that the new regulations are not working as intended. The system notes numerous slip-ups. Everyone, including the IRS and experienced tax advisors, has great difficulty interpreting and construing the new rules. And the first scams arealready beginning to appear, including those impersonating social security official son a special hotline where new insurance rules are explained -thus tricking people into giving their personal data, account passwords, etc. The inventiveness of scammers is enormous, and it's easy to find plenty of victims in this mess, often among the elderly and infirm.


I am sure that our state will not want to compensate for these losses that it has contributed to. It will be extremely interesting to see if Polish judicial practice recognizes state responsibility. And in this case, our state appears to be a co-conspirator or, from a civil law perspective, a contributor to the harm. This will be practically the only method that can contribute to some compensation of damages. The politicians, as usual, will be fine, which is a shame.

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