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Capital Markets

Debt collector's default spooks Polish financial markets

Former CEO of private equity-owned firm arrested; regulator looks to curb bond sales to retail investors.

The default of debt collector GetBack and the arrest of its former chief executive have dealt a body blow to retail participation in Poland’s capital markets, according to bankers in Warsaw.


Konrad Kakolewski,

Konrad Kakolewski was detained by the country’s Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CAB) at Chopin Airport on June 17 on charges including fraud, mismanagement and misinformation. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

The news came less than a year after GetBack completed an IPO on the Warsaw Stock Exchange that raised Zl370 million ($99.6 million) in new capital and the same amount for its shareholders, a private equity consortium led by funds owned by Abris Capital Partners.

GetBack, which has operations in Romania as well as Poland, was also a prolific issuer of short-dated bonds targeted at retail investors. At the time of its default in mid-April, the firm had around Zl2.6 billion of notes outstanding, with the majority held by more than 9,000 individual investors.

Things began to unravel on April 16 when GetBack announced that it was in negotiations with Polish state-controlled bank PKO BP and development fund PFR about a Zl520 million funding facility.

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