Slovakia’s central bank boss rejects call to resign after bribery ruling

Slovakia’s central financial institution governor has rebuffed a name by the nation’s management for him to resign after a decide fined him in a bribery case.

Peter Kažimír, who has run Slovakia’s central financial institution and sat on the European Central Financial institution’s foremost curiosity rate-setting physique since 2019, mentioned in an announcement emailed to the Monetary Occasions that he was harmless and would battle the decide’s determination.

The assertion got here after Eduard Heger, the prime minister, informed a information convention in entrance of the central financial institution headquarters on Thursday that it was “unacceptable for an individual to be convicted of bribery by a courtroom to carry the publish of governor of this revered establishment.”

The nation’s president, Zuzana Čaputová, backed the prime minister’s calls.

A prison warrant was made in opposition to Kažimír on April 3, Reuters reported, including that the ruling was primarily based on proof submitted throughout an investigation and never a full trial. The decision was made public on Thursday, in line with Reuters, which added that the choice had not taken impact pending potential appeals. The decide additionally fined the central financial institution governor €100,000.

“I’m harmless,” Kažimír mentioned within the emailed assertion. “I’m but to obtain the courtroom’s determination and order. I didn’t commit any crime and I’m assured I’ll show my innocence throughout the primary trial or an attraction in Slovakia or within the EU.”

In response to the requires his resignation, he mentioned: “I cannot react nor touch upon politicians’ statements in the course of the ongoing pre-election marketing campaign. I consider within the presumption of innocence. I’m executing all my duties responsibly and honourably.”

Kažimír, who’s attending the IMF and World Financial institution annual assembly in Washington this week, has been among the many hawkish members of the ECB’s governing council. He not too long ago referred to as for it to lift rates of interest once more at its assembly subsequent month to deal with excessive eurozone inflation.

The ECB declined to remark. The heads of eurozone nationwide central banks are appointed and dismissed by their very own governments. A dismissal may be challenged by the central banker themselves or by the ECB on the European Court docket of Justice.

The cost in opposition to Kažimír was a part of a broader sequence of investigations into alleged corruption amongst Slovakia’s enterprise and political elite that have been set in prepare after the homicide of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová in 2018.

Police linked the killings to Kuciak’s work investigating corruption, and the case despatched shockwaves by the central European nation, resulting in the resignation of then prime minister Robert Fico in 2018 and finally to the ousting of his Smer occasion in parliamentary elections in 2020.

Kažimír was initially charged in October 2021 in a case regarding an alleged bribe for a former senior tax official. The case dates again to his time as Slovak finance minister earlier than he took over on the Nationwide Financial institution of Slovakia.

The web site wrote on the time of the unique prices that Kažimír was alleged to have performed the position of a “courier” in bringing a bribe of about €50,000 to a former official.

The Slovakian prosecutor mentioned final June that they had dropped corruption prices in opposition to Kažimír and ordered a evaluation of the case in opposition to him after a witness was charged individually. However Slovak police later revived the case in opposition to him.

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