Janusz Palikot

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Janusz Palikot
Janusz Palikot Katowice Kongres.jpg
Chairperson of the Your Movement
Incumbent
Assumed office
6 October 2013
Preceded by office established
Chairperson of the Palikot's Movement
In office
2 July 2011 – 6 October 2013
Preceded by office established
Succeeded by office abolished
Member of the Sejm
Incumbent
Assumed office
19 October 2005
Constituency 6 – Lublin
Personal details
Born (1964-10-26) October 26, 1964 (age 50)
Biłgoraj, Poland
Nationality Polish
Political party Your Movement (2013-present)
Other political
affiliations
Palikot's Movement (2011-2013)
Civic Platform (2005–2010)
Religion None (atheist)[1]
Janusz Palikot interwieved in the Sejm

Janusz Marian Palikot ([ˈjanuʂ paˈlikɔt], born 26 October 1964 in Biłgoraj) is a Polish politician, activist and businessman. Palikot studied philosophy and became wealthy as a businessman who dealt with crates and distilled beverages (dealt with international trade with tax havens in the Polish privatization period). He was elected to Sejm on 25 September 2005 in the 6 Lublin district, running on the Civic Platform list, and was reelected in 2007.

Palikot left Civic Platform in 2010 and founded Movement of Support, later renamed Palikot's Movement, an anti-clerical and liberal party, which won 10 percent of the vote in the 2011 parliamentary election.[2]

Private life[edit]

Palikot studied Philosophy at John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin and earned a Masters degree at Warsaw University. He is an entrepreneur and former co-owner of Polmos Lublin S.A. (a vodka business) and Ambra S.A. He is divorced from his first wife, Maria Nowińska, with whom he has two sons, Emil and Aleksander; he has since married Monika Kubat, with whom he has a son, Franciszek, and a daughter, Zofia.

Controversies and publicity[edit]

Palikot is known in Poland for being one of the more colourful and controversial politicians, famous for his publicity stunts. In April 2007 during a PO press conference, Palikot wore a t-shirt with "I am with the SLD" ("Jestem z SLD") on the front and "I am gay" ("Jestem gejem") on the back. He later stated that he wanted to highlight the role PO should play in contemporary politics - as defenders of minorities.[3]

On 24 April 2007, he produced a gun and a dildo at a press conference about alleged rape by a few police officers from Lublin. Palikot presented the objects as modern "symbols of law and justice" (a pun referring to the socially conservative Law and Justice Party) in Poland and the Lublin's police.[4]

On 23 July 2008 Palikot said in an interview "I consider the President to be an oaf" ("Uważam prezydenta za chama"), a potentially illegal act under Poland's anti-defamation laws. An investigation was launched,[5] then dropped.[6]

In October 2008 during a TV interview about the PZPN (Polish Football Association) Palikot produced a butchered pig's head, a Godfather-style sign of declaring war against what Palikot called "corrupt" PZPN officials. [7]

In January 2009 Palikot caused further controversy when he wrote in his blog questioning whether the Polish President's brother, Jarosław Kaczyński, is gay: "I – unasked – declare unequivocally that I prefer women. And you, Mr Jarosław?"[8] As a result Donald Tusk, the leader of Palikot's party, the Civic Platform, launched an investigation into his behaviour.

On 5 July 2010, one day after the second round of the 2010 presidential elections Palikot announced that the late president Lech Kaczyński "has blood on his hands", blaming Kaczyński for the presidential airplane crash in Smolensk.[9]

On 20 January 2012, Janusz Palikot threatened to smoke a joint in Parliament in an attempt to get softdrugs legalized in Poland.[10]

Criticism[edit]

In April 2009, National Prosecutor's office announced that it would look carefully into financing of the 2005 electoral campaign of Janusz Palikot. At that time, he managed to collect 856,000 zlotys, but, according to the prosecutor's office, among sponsors of his campaign were students and pensioners, who handed over to his campaign office the sums reaching up to 20,000; the money they otherwise could never afford. Dariusz Piatek of local office of the Civic Platform in Lublin stated afterwards that Palikot's campaign was "illegally financed", but the case was never highlighted due to Palikot's influences.[11] In summer of 2011, authorities of Central Anticorruption Bureau announced that Palikot was suspected of tampering with his property statements in the years 2005 - 2010. Palikot allegedly reported lower wealth than he actually possessed, by millions of zlotys. His ex-wife supported the Bureau's efforts, stating that the politician provided false information.[12] In an investigation, which was initiated by Maria Nowinska, prosecutor's office asked the government of The Netherlands Antilles for help, as Palikot is suspected of transferring part of his money to that country, which is a tax haven.[13] In October 2010, internet portal www.niezalezna.pl wrote that Palikot owes large sums of money to different companies, institutions and people. Among others, he owes 40,000 zlotys to a private contractor, Andrzej Kwapis, who renovated his office, but was never paid for the work. Palikot did not pay the money to a company that maintained his webpage, nor did he pay Piotr Tymochowicz, a public relations specialist, who helped with creating his image.[14] In October 2011, Electoral Committee of Palikot Movement lost a court case against Pawel Tanajna, who had stated in Wprost weekly, that Palikot and his party act "like a mafia", paying people who service them only "50 percent or nothing". Justice Tomasz Wojciechowski said that refusing to pay bills was not "accidental, but rather a frequent practice". Wojciechowski emphasized that Palikot had planned "to gull people who trusted him", citing an e-mail, written by Palikot to chairwoman of his office, in which he mentioned "building the capital at the expense of suppliers".[15]

In May 2009, Michał Majewski and Wojciech Cieśla of Dziennik Polska-Europa-Świat daily established that Palikot had received millions of zlotys in loans from anonymous companies, established in different tax havens. The politician owed back then 2 million euros to a company called Central European Private Investments (CEPI), which had belonged to him. CEPI had been founded by him in March 2007, with capital of 100,000 euros, but in the following months, Palikot borrowed from it 2 million euros. CEPI itself used to borrow money from a company called Decleora, whose address was a mail box in Limassol, Cyprus. It is not known where Decleora's money came from, because Cyprus law allows to hide information about financial transactions of companies registered there. When asked about Decleora, Janusz Palikot stated that he did not know who owned the company from Cyprus. Michał Majewski and Wojciech Cieśla further established that Decleora's shares had been owned by New Age Private Foundation from Curacao, whose address was the same as the address of JP Family Foundation - a company, through which Palikot had allegedly transferred money out of Poland in 2004. Furthermore, all mentioned companies were serviced by ATC, a managing company from Amsterdam.[16]

Publications and books[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]