#Slovak Central Bank Chief Charged with Corruption

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Slovakia’s central bank chief and European Central Bank governing council member Peter Kazimir has been charged with corruption, the prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.

“On October 8, 2021, a prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor’s Office filed charges against P.K. for a corruption crime,” Jana Tokolyova, a spokesperson for prosecutors, said in response to a question about criminal proceedings against Kazimir.

Slovak officials do not give the full names of criminal suspects.

Following media reports, Kazimir had said in a statement on Tuesday that he “does not feel guilty of any crime”.

Quoting several unnamed sources, local press had reported that Kazimir, who is also a former deputy prime minister and finance minister, was charged with bribery.

Local media said that the accusation is linked to testimony given by former tax office head Frantisek Imrecze, who was charged with corruption last year.

According to the Aktuality.sk news website, Kazimir allegedly played the role of an intermediary in a corruption case, funnelling about 50,000 euros ($57,600) to Imrecze.

High-level corruption has marred public life in Slovakia, a former communist state of 5.4 million people that joined the EU in 2004 before becoming a member of the eurozone in 2009.

Many current cases are linked to appointees during the government of former PM Robert Fico, whose populist left Smer-SD party was ousted from power in 2020 elections.

OLaNO, an anti-graft party promising to tackle corruption in public life, won that ballot.

Dozens of high-ranking officials have been charged with corruption since it took power in March 2020.

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