POLAND

Justice, interior ministers resign over ‘Blackjack-gate’

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk (photo) said the country’s justice and interior ministers had submitted their resignations Wednesday over a gambling bill corruption scandal dubbed “Blackjack-gate”.

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AFP - Poland's liberal Prime Minister Donald Tusk on Wednesday announced the departure of the interior and justice ministers in a cabinet reshuffle linked to a graft scandal.

He said that the two men who have been implicated in a gambling scandal had resigned.

Justice minister "Andrzej Czuma submitted his resignation ... to clear any doubts he is involved in this matter ... which must be examined completely," Tusk told reporters in Warsaw.

The Interior minister and deputy prime minister Grzegorz Schetyna, one of the premier's closest political allies, had also stepped down "in order not to give credence" to those who have implicated him in the scandal, Tusk said .

The government shake-up comes amid a graft scandal tied to gambling legislation that had already claimed one ministerial scalp, that of sports minister Miroslaw Drzewiecki, who stepped down Monday.

Poland's CBA anti-corruption agency has the government in its sights over the alleged used of political influence to modify draft legislation on gambling, allegedly to enable casino owners to duck a requirement to help finance sports events.

Schetyna has been criticised over private meetings with a businessman who was lobbying for changes in the original draft.

Czuma, meanwhile, has been accused by the CBA of failing to take action against political horse-trading in the legislative process.

Drzewiecki, a personal friend of one of the lobbyists, denied corruption claims, but said he resigned because he did not want the scandal to harm preparations for the 2012 European football championships, which Poland is set to host along with neighbouring Ukraine.

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