The head of Slovakia’s central bank, and one of the most outspoken hawks on the ECB governing council, was convicted Thursday of bribery and fined 100,000 euros.
The country’s Special Criminal Court handed National Bank of Slovakia Gov. Peter Kazimir a two-year suspended sentence, said Katarina Kudjakova, a spokesperson for the court. Not paying the fine would mean jail time according to AP.
However, as is typical with every chaotic decision in Europe, the verdict was issued without a trial, and the state prosecution service appealed it shortly afterward, sending the case back to court. Kazimir also could appeal.
Kazimir is accused of handing a bribe of 48,000 euros ($53,000) to the head of the country’s tax office related to a tax investigation of private companies, but few details were available because there was no trial. Or, rather, there was no trial because Europe’s technocrats want to keep the matter as secret as possible.
President Zuzana Caputova said Kazimir should consider resigning, while Prime Minister Eduard Heger called it “unacceptable” for him to head the central bank.
The case dates to when Kazimir served as finance minister from 2012 to 2019 in the leftist government of populist Prime Minister Robert Fico and was a member of Fico’s Smer-Social Democracy party before taking over his central bank job. Smer lost the 2020 general election and was replaced by a coalition government whose parties campaigned on an anti-corruption ticket. The new government made fighting corruption a key policy issue. Since it took power, a number of senior officials, police officers, judges, prosecutors, politicians and businesspeople have been charged with corruption and other crimes.