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A (not so) brief “criminal” history of the ECB – POLITICO

Racket Rimšēvičs: Currently fighting to have his prison sentence overturned, former Latvian central bank chief Ilmārs Rimšēvičs was convicted last December of accepting bribes and a fishing trip to Russia from share of the shareholders of a now defunct bank. Rimšēvičs, who always maintained his innocence, was sentenced to six years in prison and confiscation of his property. The ECB initially weighed heavily on Rimšēvičs’ side, defending one of its own in the name of protecting the central bank against political interference. But after winning an initial victory, he was defeated in 2021 when the European Court of Justice ruled that his actions were “clearly not committed in his official capacity” and were therefore not covered by institutional immunity.

Rimšēvičs was not immediately imprisoned, but rather was released (somewhat despondently) pending his appeal. In addition to his appeal, he now faces two separate criminal charges, for pressuring a witness to give false testimony and for the alleged purchase and use of a Covid-19 vaccination certificate. Rimšēvičs denies any wrongdoing. He claimed he was the victim of a concerted campaign by several banks to have him removed because he pushed for more transparency in Latvia’s outsized non-resident banking sector, which was once a conduit for money laundering on a large scale in the former Soviet Union. Union.

Kazimír’s appeal to the court: In 2023, a criminal judge ruled that Slovak central bank chief Peter Kazimír offered bribes while finance minister, sentencing him to a two-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of €100,000. The decision was made without a trial. The prosecution and Kazimír appealed the decision, demanding a full trial. This process is currently underway and the outcome is not yet known. Kazimír served as finance minister from 2012 to 2019 during Robert Fico’s second term. His appointment was criticized by the opposition as an attempt to extend government control over the central bank. Slovak politics have become increasingly polarized in recent years, as illustrated by the assassination attempt on Fico earlier this month.

All that Jazbec: In 2013, the former president of the Slovenian central bank, Boštjan Jazbec, was investigated for “criminal abuse of power” after his restructuring of Nova Ljubljanska banka (NLB), one of the most major companies in the country, ended up wiping out its shareholders and many of its creditors. , some of whom had very good political connections. NLB had previously been suspected of money laundering for Iran, among other lax practices.

An initial investigation into the central bank’s actions in 2013 failed: Slovenian police overstepped the mark by raiding Jazbec’s offices in 2016, confiscating documents containing inside ECB information. The ECB’s archives benefit from the same protection as those of any European institution, a court ruled in 2020. Slovenian prosecutors thus lost the evidence they needed to defend their case.

By then, Jazbec – who had received death threats after the recapitalization of NLB and another institution – had left the bank. In 2018, he joined the EU’s Single Resolution Board based in Luxembourg, an implicit vote of confidence from European institutions in the face of personal danger. He leaves the SRB in 2023.


Sara Adm

Aimant les mots, Sara Smith a commencé à écrire dès son plus jeune âge. En tant qu'éditeur en chef de son journal scolaire, il met en valeur ses compétences en racontant des récits impactants. Smith a ensuite étudié le journalisme à l'université Columbia, où il est diplômé en tête de sa classe.Après avoir étudié au New York Times, Sara décroche un poste de journaliste de nouvelles. Depuis dix ans, il a couvert des événements majeurs tels que les élections présidentielles et les catastrophes naturelles. Il a été acclamé pour sa capacité à créer des récits captivants qui capturent l'expérience humaine.
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