The Slovak governor is stuck in a net. He refuses to resign, and he cannot be revoked

The prosecutor accuses former high-ranking politician of the Smer party, Petr Kažimír, of bribery. According to the server Aktuality.sk has charges related to tax proceedings. In a corruption case, Kažimír was to play the role of a “courier” and bring the then head of the financial administration, František Imrecz, a bribe of 50,000 euros, in terms of 1.27 million crowns.

Imrecze, who is accused in several cases and cooperates with the police, pointed a finger at Kažimír in his statements. Other Slovak media write about the matter as indirect corruption. At the beginning of it was Kažimír’s demand to speed up financial controls of selected companies, the television said OUCH. Neither the prosecutor’s office nor the police provided details of the case.

From the Ministry of Finance to the head of the National Bank

Former longtime vice-chairman of the Robert Fico party, Peter Kažimír, was the Minister of Finance in 2012-2019. He left politics directly to the National Bank in July 2019 and is now in about a third of his term. Kazimir’s election as governor in parliament was pushed by then-Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, despite criticism that the finance minister would not be independent in his new role.

At the end of his political career, Kazimir was close to Pellegrini. Direction President Robert Fico blames Kazimierz for “plotting treason,” the split in the party after which Pellegrini founded the new Voice Party. Pellegrini’s party has long been at the forefront of preference research, although it has recently strengthened Fic’s Direction at its expense.

Up to nine parties in parliament

Pellegrini’s vote would now win the election with 18%. Behind them is the governing party SaS with 14.5% and Smer with 13.8%. The OLaNO movement of Igor Matovič would now be elected by 9.2% of people. A total of up to nine parties could now get into parliament. The figures come from a survey by AKO for TV Joj published on Thursday.

Peter Kažimír denies the allegations of corruption and has already announced that he will file a complaint against him. “I have not committed any crime and I will continue to fulfill my role as governor,” he said in a written statement. According to Kažimír, the justification for the allegations is missing, among other things, confirming the evidence.

Despite declarations of innocence, however, his reputation undoubtedly suffered. Due to his position, Kažimír regularly meets abroad with other European governors and supervises, among other things, the activities of commercial banks and influences monetary policy throughout the euro area.

Čaputová: I would consider resigning

However, government politicians and, indirectly, President Zuzana Čaputová called on Kažimír to resign from the bank. “What is happening here in Slovakia is an important cleansing and correction in the right direction,” the president told reporters. She named dozens of allegations of corruption and more than 20 confessions. According to the Slovak head of state, this is an inevitable cleansing process that must continue.

Fish in an anti-corruption network

Allegations of corruption or other criminal offenses have affected a number of Slovak celebrities in the last two years. For example, Vladimír Pčolinský, the head of the Slovak secret SIS service, ended up in custody and soon resigned. Dušan Kováčik, the head of the elite prosecutor’s office, also resigned, and the court sent him to prison for corruption. The accused police president Peter Kovařík also ended up.

Former director of the Slovak state material reserves administration Kajetán Kičura was released from custody on Wednesday. Direction nominee has been behind bars since last April for corruption and money laundering.

Kažimír Čaputová added to the case that she respects the presumption of innocence. “Guilt and punishment must be decided by a court, not a politician. But if I was in his (Kazimirov) situation (…) I would very seriously consider resigning from the position for protection of the reputation of the institution I represent, “added Čaputová to the address of the Governor of the National Bank.

Kazimir does not bother with the words of the president and in response he stated that the accusations were not related to his activities in the bank. He added that he values ​​the values ​​that Čaputová represents and understands her position, but perceives the accusation as a “huge injustice”.

The governor was defended by his former colleague Peter Pellegrini. “In his place, I would remain in the post of governor, because in this way they could deprive anyone of the position,” said the former prime minister and party leader Hlas. The governor was also defended by the head of the Fico Direction.

According to the law, Kažimír can be prosecuted because he has immunity only to statements and decisions made in connection with the performance of his function.

Daily SME noted that the issue of prosecuting a member of the Governing Council of the European Central Bank, of which Kazimir is a member, had already been addressed in the case of Latvian Governor Ilmārs Rimšévič. In 2018, Latvia faced charges of accepting a bribe, which prevented it from leaving the country to attend meetings of EU governors. However, he was defended by the EU court, according to which the evidence of corruption was not enough for Rimshevich to lose his office.

Irrevocable Governor

According to Slovak law, the governor can be removed only in a situation if he ceases to meet the preconditions for the performance of his function or is seriously in doubt. The government’s proposal is voted on by parliament and the governor is then removed by the president. This would be possible, for example, after a final conviction. “I realize that it is irrevocable,” commented Igor Matovič, Minister of Finance and head of the ruling OLaNO movement.

The Prime Minister Eduard Heger from OLaNO also commented on the case in general: “It is important for me that every body that is responsible for this acts legally and objectively. The point is to have justice in Slovakia, to restore confidence in the rule of law. “

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