Slovenia central bank confirms investigation of Governor Jazbec

Deutsche Welle
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Slovenia’s central bank has confirmed that Governor Bostjan Jazbec is under investigation as part of the probe into alleged irregularities at the bank in 2013. The ECB has threatened legal action.
Slovenia’s central bank confirmed on Thursday that Governor Bostjan Jazbec (photo) was being investigated by police as part of a probe into alleged irregularities during Slovenia’s bank overhaul in 2013.

A central bank spokeswoman confirmed that Jazbec, who also sits on the European Central Bank’s Governing Council, was under investigation.

Slovenia’s General State Prosecutor Zvonko Fiser said on Thursday that a police raid on the country’s central bank was legal. He said he could not act on the European Central Bank (ECB)’s claim that it infringed legal privileges and immunities.

The ECB has threatened to take legal action against Slovenia after police seized documents from the country’s central bank on Wednesday. Fiser told a news conference that the operation had been ordered by an investigative judge as part of a probe into alleged irregularities during Slovenia’s bank overhaul three years ago.

ECB calls for intervention

ECB chief Mario Draghi has called on European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to intervene following the police raid. Bank chief Jazbec has rejected allegations of wrongdoing.

Police on Wednesday had confiscated documents in the raid at the Bank of Slovenia – one of the European Central Bank’s (ECB) network of euro-zone central banks. Jazbec was questioned by local prosecutors over alleged abuse of office.

“Seized equipment contains ECB information, and such information is protected under directly applicable primary EU law,” Draghi said in a letter to the Slovenian State Prosecutor General Zvonko Fiser. The ECB will also explore possible appropriate legal remedies under Slovenian law, Draghi said.

Police however rejected Draghi’s call, arguing that central bank employees do not enjoy privileges which would exempt them from investigation in pre-criminal procedures.

The case is a rare fight with the ECB. The EU Commission said that it was awaiting the results of the investigation and that it was too early to comment further.

jbh/jm (Reuters, AFP)

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