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Former Polish President Lech Walesa gestures during a conference organised by Poland's government-affiliated Institute of National Remembrance, in Warsaw, Poland January 20, 2017. Agencja Gazeta/Slawomir Kaminski/via REUTERS(reuters_tickers)
WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's leader of the Solidarity movement Lech Walesa said on Tuesday documents suggesting he cooperated with the communist secret police were falsified and that such allegations were humiliating.
A government-affiliated history institute said late in January that handwriting experts proved the authenticity of documents suggesting that Walesa had been a paid informant of communist secret police in the 1970s.
"None of these texts are my texts," he said at his first news conference in Poland since the disclosure of the documents.
Walesa, who led protests and strikes that shook communist rule in the 1980s, said communist secret police eavesdropped on his conversations and fabricated documents trying to destroy his reputation.
"They could not break me, they could not bribe me," he said, referring to the communist secret police.
The Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) said Walesa, a Nobel Peace prize winner and Poland's former president, had provided at least 29 reports to communist secret police.
IPN's study, based on documents retrieved last year from the house of a late communist interior minister, also showed Walesa signed 17 cash receipts from communist secret police.
"It's so humiliating for me to have to explain myself to the secret service, to a policeman whom I had fought," he said.
Walesa said he could name 100 handwriting experts who would give an opposite verdict to that of the IPN experts.
Walesa, now 73, has acknowledged once signing a commitment to inform, but he insists he never fulfilled it, and a special court exonerated him in 2000.
The issue has flared up again since the conservative, nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, also a former anti-communist activist who fell out with Walesa in the 1990s, won power in 2015.
(Reporting by Marcin Goettig and Anna Koper; Writing by Lidia Kelly and Marcin Goettig; Editing by Alison Williams)