Posted on Oct. 13, 2021, 10:46 a.m.Updated Oct 13, 2021, 11:26 AM
The governor of the Slovak Central Bank, Peter Kazimir, who is in this capacity a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB), has been charged with corruption in his country. “I do not feel guilty of any crime,” said the former Slovakian finance minister, reacting to press reports.
The corruption charges are linked to his former role as finance minister in the government of ex-Prime Minister Robert Fico. The news site www.aktuality.sk had reported that Peter Kazimir had been indicted in a case relating to corruption charges against a former director of the tax administration. The latter, indicted in several cases, is now cooperating with investigators.
“The facts reported in the decision are wrong and the reasoning itself lacks evidence,” said Peter Kazimir. “I have no information and have no knowledge of any information regarding a breach of the law, and have never had any interest in influencing any proceedings,” he added.
The lawyer for the governor of the central bank, Ondrej Mularcik, has confirmed that Peter Kazimir has been charged with corruption and that he will appeal the decision, without providing further details.
The ECB does not comment. Members of its Board of Governors may be dismissed from their duties if they are found guilty of serious misconduct or if the authorities provide sufficient evidence of such misconduct.
Kazimir is the second central bank governor of an Eastern European eurozone country to face corruption charges. In 2018, Latvian prosecutors indicted Ilmars Rimsevics, then a member of the ECB’s Governing Council, for soliciting bribes from a bank.
Wave of anger
In Slovakia, ex-Prime Minister Fico’s record reign ended in a wave of public anger after the assassination of an investigative journalist who had written about the links between crime and politics. Anti-government protests ended up overthrowing Fico in 2020.
After the new government came to power, a series of officials were arrested, including a former deputy justice minister, a special prosecutor and a police chief. Peter Kazimir is the most senior member of the former Slovak cabinet to be implicated in this fight against corruption.