WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Handwriting analysis confirms that Lech Walesa, who later founded the pro-democracy Solidarity movement, collaborated with Polish communist-era secret police for money from 1970 to 1976, experts said Tuesday.
The analysis of communist-era files signed by agent “Bolek,” who is believed to be Walesa, “indisputably” proves that Walesa signed an agreement to collaborate with the secret police, officials with the state-run Institute of National Remembrance said. It also shows that he wrote reports on co-workers who opposed the regime and signed 17 receipts for money in return, officials said.
The 73-year-old Walesa, who won the Nobel Peace prize in 1983 for leading the peaceful Solidarity dissent movement, wasn’t immediately available for comment on the handwriting analysis. But he has strongly denied allegations which he has faced for years that he collaborated with communist-era secret police. He insists that the documents were forged, a claim that led experts to make the handwriting analysis.
The documents surfaced recently at the house of a late former communist-era official and became the focus of attention under the conservative government, which is critical of Walesa and insists on exposing his past.
The head of the institute, Jaroslaw Szarek, said the findings don’t change the fact that in the 1980s and ’90s Walesa was the symbol of Poland’s freedom movement and one of the world’s most recognizable figures.
Poland’s first popularly chosen president after communism, Walesa was cleared by a court of the allegations in 2000 because of a lack of evidence, but the accusations continue to resurface.