Slovak court fines ECB's Kazimir in bribery case, subject to appeal

By - Reuters

PRAGUE (Reuters) - A Slovak court said on Thursday it had convicted national bank governor and European Central Bank (ECB) policymaker Peter Kazimir in a bribery-related case and fined him 100,000 euros ($110,200).

Kazimir, currently attending the World Bank and International Monetary Fund spring meetings in the United States, has previously denied wrongdoing.

The indictment concerned "suspicion of corrupt criminal activity in connection with tax audits against several commercial companies" when Kazimir was finance minister in a previous government, prosecutors said in February.

In October 2021 the euro zone country's special prosecutor's office charged Kazimir with a "corruption-related crime" but withdrew the charge last June pending a review. Slovak police revived the charge last November.

The decision announced on Thursday has not taken legal effect and can be appealed, the court said in a statement.

The court decision was made by a criminal warrant - based on evidence submitted during the investigation - and not in a full trial, which would follow any appeal.

The central bank declined to comment, referring questions to Kazimir's lawyer. The lawyer, Ondrej Mularcik, also declined to comment until he received the court's ruling.

The ECB declined to comment.

In October 2021 Slovak news website, citing several unidentified sources, reported that Kazimir was charged in a case related to an alleged bribe for a former Slovak tax administration chief, who had been charged in several cases and was then cooperating with investigators.

The news website said Kazimir was accused of being a "courier" who carried a bribe of some 50,000 euros related to unspecified tax proceedings to the tax chief. It was not clear from the report where the money allegedly came from.

Kazimir was finance minister from 2012 to 2019 before being nominated as central bank governor by the leftist SMER party that lost power in 2020.

($1 = 0.9074 euros)

(Reporting by Robert Muller, Jason Hovet and Jan Lopatka; additional reporting by Balasz Koranyi in Washington; editing by Alison Williams and Mark Heinrich)

Open in the App