NETHERLANDS - Eureko, the Dutch insurer which owns pensions firm Achmea, is to sue the Polish State Treasury for an infringement of its personal rights.

It's the latest round of an ongoing row over the Polish state-owned insurer PZU.

The latest salvo was sparked by a July 12 statement from Polish finance minister Pawel Szalamacha. He accused Eureko of making "unjustified claims" against the State Treasury and being guided by "ethically dubious" rules in the PZU privatisation agreement.

Eureko bought 30% of PZU in co-operation with the local BIG Bank Gdanski in late 1999 on the understanding that it would have operating control. But successive governments have shown themselves reluctant to cede control of the group.

The dispute is currently the subject of an arbitration procedure between the State Treasury and Eureko. Eureko alleges that "the Republic of Poland had violated Polish-Dutch Treaty for the protection of investments by frustrating Eureko's investment in PZU".

Eureko says the ministry has shown "total disregard for the right of all minority shareholders" by publishing the amount of dividend to be paid at the last shareholders' meeting -  before the shareholders had begun discussions on the issue.
Eureko responded by abstaining from voting on the dividend issue and demanded a public apology from the Treasury.

When no apology was forthcoming, Eureko opted to "protect its good name" by filing a law suit.

In the statement Szalamacha claimed that Eureko abused its power to harass the Polish State Treasury and that it conducted so-called "black PR".

The July 12 statement has since been withdrawn from the ministry website. However, in a new release on the site Szalamacha responded to Eureko's suit by accusing the company of showing a "lack of respect for the country in which it wants to conduct business".

He added that "Eureko is selective as far as the provisions of the privatisation agreement are concerned, choosing the ones which suit Eureko and rejecting the ones which are inconvenient."