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Polish prosecutors charge owner of financial firm

Prosecutors in Poland charged the owner of a suspended investment fund with illegal activity in a case that has increased government scrutiny of the country's private financial firms.

Spokesman Wojciech Szelagowski said Friday that the six charges against the head of the Amber Gold fund, identified only as Marcin P., include illegal collection of funds and misinforming financial officials about the company's dealings.

Szelagowski, who speaks for prosecutors in the northern city of Gdansk, said that the suspect confessed to failing to present his obligatory financial reports for 2009 and 2010. He could face up to five years in prison and a fine if convicted.

The fund has suspended trading. More than 400 of its clients have written to the prosecutors to seek reimbursement of their money totaling some 25 million zlotys ($8 million). They were lured to the fund by promises of a 10 percent interest.

On Friday, producers of a feature film on Poland's former president and Solidarity movement founder, Lech Walesa said they will not touch the funds they have received from Amber Gold, but were leaving them in the bank. They did not disclose the amount.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk's Cabinet has discussed whether any state offices failed to warn private investors about the high risks linked to Amber Gold.

Amber Gold also sponsored Polish OLT budget airline that recently went bankrupt and that employed the premier's son, Michal Tusk.

The prime minister said his son was pursuing a professional career of his own choice.