WARSAW (Reuters) - Former Polish transport minister Slawomir Nowak was convicted on Thursday of failing to disclose while in government that he owned a luxury Swiss wristwatch, and a judge fined him $6,000.
Members of parliament and ministers in Poland must file income declarations and reveal belongings with a value exceeding 10,000 zlotys (1,908 pounds), a transparency measure meant to ensure public servants do not use their office for personal gain.
Nowak denied wrongdoing but said after Thursday’s verdict he would give up his seat in parliament. “Obviously I will appeal the verdict and will defend my good name until the end,” he said on his Twitter account.
Nowak stepped down a year ago after prosecutors said he may have broken the law by failing to declare ownership of a wristwatch the prosecutors estimated to be worth about $6,000.
Nowak, once a close ally of ex-prime minister and the next president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, later left the ruling Civic Platform party but until Thursday was still a member of the party’s caucus in parliament.
The court ruled that Nowak had committed a crime by not revealing in several income declarations that he owned an Ulysse Nardin wristwatch worth over 10,000 zlotys.
Nowak said he had never aimed to intentionally mislead anyone and file incomplete or untrue income statements.
Reporting by Marcin Goettig; Editing by Christian Lowe and Mark Heinrich