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JOHANNESBURG - A non-executive director of listed Echo Polska Properties (EPP), the Polish property group in which JSE-listed Redefine Properties owns a 39.59% stake, has resigned after being detained by the Polish central anti-corruption bureau.

EPP reported yesterday that Przemyslaw Krych had been detained on Tuesday this week on the orders of the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Katowice.

Katowice has through his attorneys denied any wrongdoing.

Redefine reported that it had requested Krych’s resignation as a non-executive director of EPP “in the interests of good corporate governance and as a material shareholder in EPP”.

Redefine added that in terms of Polish law, details of the allegations were limited they understood that the investigation related to Krych in his personal capacity and not as a non-executive director of EPP.

In addition, as a non-executive director, Krych was not involved in any of the day-to-day activities of EPP, the company said.

Redefine added that Andrew Konig, the chief executive of Redefine, and Marc Wainer, the executive chairperson of Redefine, were both “confident with the levels of corporate governance that are applied within EPP and have no reason to believe that there are any transactions, to which EPP is a party, that have in any manner transgressed the law”.

EPP announced late yesterday that Krych, in light of the recent charges alleged, had in the best interests of the company resigned as a non-executive director of the company with immediate effect.

EPP had reported earlier that it had received a statement from Kyrch’s attorneys about his detention.

In the statement Kyrch declared that he had not committed any crime and intended to prove his innocence “in a manner resulting from the law”.

EPP said it did not know the content of the charges alleged against Krych, because it was a matter that was being heard behind closed doors.

“If it is established that these charges relate to activities involving the company’s business, the company will conduct an independent investigation and take any other actions as it deems necessary to protect the company and its shareholders.

“The board will monitor the situation closely and will update the market as appropriate. The board remains confident that its corporate governance policies and procedures are robust and that best business and governance principles have been adhered to by the company,” it said. EPP’s portfolio comprised 14 retail, nine office and two retail developments valued at 1.9 billion (R28.6bn) at end-September.

The company earlier this month reported continued growth in distributable earnings to 59.2 million and a distribution a share of 8.41 euro cents for the nine months to September and that it was making progress with its strategy to become the leading retail landlord in Poland.

In the nine-month reporting period, the group acquired Solna in Northern Poland, opened phase three of Outlet Park Szczecin, which added 3330m² to the centre and 0.7 million of annual net operating income.

Following this reporting period, EPP agreed to acquire the M1 portfolio comprising 12 retail properties for 692 million and to dispose of three office properties.

Shares in EPP dropped 20.10% on the JSE yesterday to close at R13.95.

-BUSINESS REPORT