Slovakia has a systematic corruption problem. FinTelegram reported that the National Criminal Agency (NAKA) in Slovakia charged Peter Kažimír, the sitting National Bank of Slovakia (NBS) governor and former finance minister, in a corruption case. Actually, an unremarkable report but hundreds of Russians got nervous about it. Within less than an hour, the article was read by hundreds of people in Russia. Why are Russians interested in a Slovakian corruption case? Good question, isn’t it?
The Kazimir Case
The accusation that I should have bribed a senior [tax] official is an absolute lie,” “I have not committed any crime.”Peter Kazimir in a statement from the National Bank of Slovakia.
In December 2019, the Slovakian National Council approved Peter Kazimir as the successor of Jozef Makúch in the office of the president of the National Bank of Slovakia. He took up the post on 1 June 2019. As a Governor of a Eurozone Central Bank, he sits on the boards of the European Central Bank and the European Systemic Risk Board.
Kazimir was initially charged in 2021 with corruption. He allegedly acted as an intermediary in giving Frantisek Imrecze a bribe of nearly €50,000. The case was initially dropped, but prosecutors decided to go ahead now.
The Mytnik Case & Systematic Corruption
Corruption has been an issue in Slovakia for many years. In 2018, Slovakia was ranked one of the most corrupt countries in the EU. In August 2019, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) urged Slovakia to take action against its systematic corruption.
Over the last couple of years, many Slovakian public officials have been accused of corruption. Among them is Frantisek Imrecze, the former head of the tax administration, who is being prosecuted in several cases and is cooperating with the police.
Frantisek Imrecze resigned from his post as head of Slovakia’s financial administration in 2018 after the EU’s anti-fraud office, Olaf, uncovered alleged fraud involving undervalued textile imports entering the EU from China. The losses are thought to have cost the EU millions of euros in underpaid customs fees and sales tax. Law enforcement charged eight people, including businessman Miroslav Výboh and former head of the Financial Administration Lenka Wittenbergerová, who has confessed to having accepted bribes.
Imrecze’s direct subordinate, Daniel Cech, confessed to accepting a bribe of €200,000 from Imrecze. Cech has also testified about allegations that the former prime minister Peter Pellegrini, accepted a bribe from businessman Michal Suchoba and his company Allexis. The bribe was linked to the so-called Mytnik case, corruption connected to the procurement of large IT systems for the Slovakian financial administration.
Imrecze has now asked for police protection after a tracking device was found under his car. Slovak media said he feared for his life.
The Secretive Igor Wollner
The mysterious former IT entrepreneur and real estate investor Igor Wollner also plays a leading role in the procurement of IT systems for Slovak authorities. He is said to have laundered money for top Slovak politicians via Switzerland. It is not known at this time whether Wollner and his family are under investigation or facing charges.
The Wollner family is behind the development of luxury properties in Bratislava. They are developing the old hospital building into luxurious apartments, civic amenities, and short-term accommodation facilities.
The young investigative journalist Jan Kuciak wrote about the corruption case and was murdered in 2018. The killing of Jan Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kusnirova, triggered protests that triggered the downfall of Slovakia’s prime minister, Robert Fico, and the chief of police.
If you have any information about Slovak corruption cases, please let us know through our whistleblower system, Whistle42.