Polish court says founders of financial scam guilty of fraud

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The two founders of a notorious pyramid scheme in Poland were found guilty of fraud on Monday for cheating thousands of people out of their savings, worth $219 million, in one of the nation's biggest financial scandals.

The Provincial Court in Gdansk, northern Poland, also found the two individuals, identified only as Marcin P. and his former wife, Katarzyna P., guilty of misleading clients by advertising as a savings bank, only to them cause them losses. It said they failed to obtain the required permits. The two convicts have pleaded not guilty.

The court was reading lengthy details of the conviction and said the final verdict will not be announced Monday, as previously scheduled, but at a later date.

The scam, called Amber Gold, cheated some 19,000 investors out of over 850 million zlotys between 2009 until 2012, when it was revealed. Critics say Poland's government at the time, led by Donald Tusk, failed to warn Poles against the scam.

Almost 800 witnesses testified in the case, which opened before the court in 2016, and on Monday the court was reading out the names of the victims.

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