Saga of former gangster starts new chapter

Jarosław S., better known as Masa, was arrested on Wednesday on charges of extortion. Photo: TVP Info/PR

Jarosław S., better known as Masa, was arrested on Wednesday on charges of extortion.

Among the detained people is also a policeman and a customs officer. The charges against the men include extortion of loans to the tune of PLN 668,000 (EUR 167,000), giving and accepting bribes by public officials and interfering in the workings of the police department.

The charges Masa is currently facing are not related to the activities that granted him the status of a star witness back in 2000, eventually putting him on a state witness program. He is often interviewed on television, and his large stature, balaclava-covered head and electronically-modulated voice have made him a household name in Poland.

Masa was a prominent member of the so-called Pruszków Mafia, which name derives from a town on the suburbs of Warsaw where the vast majority of the members came from.

The notorious Pruszków Mafia together with its nemesis, Wołomin Gang fought over the influence in Poland throughout the 1990s. Masa’s testimony that granted him the status of the star witness also put many key member of the mob behind bars.

Masa has been regularly featured by the media since 2004. He made a number of appearances on TV as well as becoming a bestselling author in a cycle of books on Polish mafia.

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