WARSAW — Lew Rywin, producer of Oscar-winning films “The Pianist” and “Schindler’s List,” was charged with corruption in his native Poland over the weekend.
Warsaw prosecutors allege that Rywin demanded a $17.5 million bribe from newspaper publisher Agora last summer in return for lobbying government to change a proposed Broadcasting Law in its favor.
These changes would have allowed Agora to buy the Polsat TV station. Allegedly, Rywin demanded the prexy job at the station and intended to pass the bribe money onto the ex-communist SLD party.
He faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison.
The prosecutor began collecting evidence in December after Agora-owned newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza blew the whistle on the scandal.
The prosecutor has called top-ranked politicians as witnesses, including President Aleksander Kwasniewski and the Prime Minister Leszek Miller, and is preparing a separate investigation against Miller for not informing the judiciary of the corruption attempt.
Rywin, whose passport has been confiscated, has refused to give testimony throughout the probe. He denies any wrongdoing.
(Associated Press contributed to this report).