WARSAW Ė The founder of a citizenís movement against the Polish government was on Tuesday accused by the Warsaw prosecutorís office of falsifying bills in order to divert funds from members to his company.
The charges, which carry prison sentences of up to eight years, were brought against Mateusz Kijowski and the Committee for the Defense of Democracyís (KOD) former treasurer, who had both resigned last year after accusations were first leveled against them.
According to the prosecutorís office, Kijowski diverted some 121,000 zlotys ($36,000) that were collected from the movementís members to his company.
In the past, he has acknowledged that he used KOD funds to pay for services carried out by his company but he has always denied falsifying the bills and claims the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS) is trying to discredit him for political reasons.
The PiS was the first party in Polandís democracy to win an absolute majority in an election, but its reforms, including a highly controversial overhaul to the countryís judiciary system, have since profoundly divided society and raised concern and criticism for the European Union.
The KOD was created in 2015 to unite the opposition under one banner and has managed to mobilize thousands of people against the PiSí policies, often holding mass protests in Polandís largest cities.