PRAGUE (Reuters) – Slovak central bank Governor and European Central Bank governing council member Peter Kazimir has been charged with bribery but denies wrongdoing and will defend himself against the charges, Kazimir and his lawyer said on Tuesday.
“I do not feel guilty of any crime,” Kazimir, who served as finance minister before taking the central bank post in 2019, said in an emailed statement that followed a media report that he had been charged.
Slovak news website, citing several unidentified sources, reported that Kazimir was charged in a case related to an alleged bribe for the country’s former head of tax administration who has been charged in several cases and is now cooperating with investigators.
Kazimir’s lawyer Ondrej Mularcik confirmed to Reuters by phone that Kazimir had been charged with bribery and would appeal the decision, but gave no further details.
“The state of facts in the resolution is untrue and in the reasoning itself lacks confirming evidence,” Kazimir said.
“I do not have any information nor I am aware of breaking the law, nor did I ever have any interest in influencing any proceedings.”
ECB Governing Council members can be removed if they have been found guilty of serious misconduct or authorities provide sufficient evidence that they have engaged in such misconduct.
The ECB declined to comment.
(Reporting by Robert Muller and Jan Lopatka; Additional reporting by Balzs Koranyi in Frankfurt; Editing by Alex Richardson and Mark Potter)