You need to be careful with your contract because even a notary will not discover every fraud – this is the message of a recent ruling by the Supreme Court.

D. was interested to buy land. To this end, D. met with S., a lawyer, who showed a power of attorney from a company which was allegedly offering a suitable lot for sale, and also showed the company’s business registration certificate and documents relating to the land from the local authority. S. wanted to have the deal notarised by a notary known to him. The closing was to be effected in the presence of the current CEO of the company. Having checked that the company did exist and the property was not mortgaged, D. made a prepayment of PLN 20K to S., who then secured the documents necessary for the notarisation. All of those involved appeared at the notarial office for closing. The notary checked ID documents of the claimant and of the alleged CEO. There were no reasons to doubt their authenticity, although the CEO’s signature was illegible. The contract was signed and D. paid the “sellers” more than PLN 300K in cash, of which the attorney took PLN 150K, including the prepayment, and the rest was taken by the sham CEO.

After some time, the true CEO came to the notary. He had noticed the sale when reviewing the property’s title register. He was using his US passport after he had lost his Polish ID document.


For the full text of the article by Łukasz Lubaszka, attorney-at-law and Sendero partner, see Rzeczpospolita on-line.