Press release - Handover of minutes of the governor’s internal meetings
In light of inaccurate reporting in several parts of the media, the Bank of Slovenia has issued the following clarification with regard to the lawsuit filed with Ljubljana Administrative Court.:
1. Just last year the Bank of Slovenia handed over more than 23,000 pages of documentation containing information on Bank of Slovenia findings and measures in banking supervision to the commission of inquiry for identifying abuses in the Slovenian banking system and determining the causes and parties responsible for the second recovery of the banking system in independent Slovenia, the documentation having been requested by the commission of inquiry. The documentation handed over was described in detail in two press releases (press release 1, press release 2).
2. The Bank of Slovenia has also handed over minutes of the governor’s internal meetings ("ožji kolegij guvernerja - OKG") to the commission of inquiry, which means that they are now in the possession of the commission of inquiry (the commission of inquiry requested the minutes of meetings of the OKG for the period of 1 January 1997 to 24 April 2015). In the opinion of the Bank of Slovenia’s Legal Department, the proceedings before the District Court, which ordered the Bank of Slovenia to hand over the minutes of the OKG, raised certain legal issues, and there are certain process deficiencies identifiable in the proceedings. The Bank of Slovenia therefore turned to the Administrative Court, to rule whether the proceedings have been carried out properly. The decision to file a lawsuit to clarify the legal issues raised was taken by the governor, after consultations with legal experts, acting in line with his own powers, as the power to take such decisions does not rest with the Governing Board of the Bank of Slovenia. Here it should be reiterated that all of the required minutes of meetings of the OKG were handed over to the court and the commission of inquiry on 19 July 2016 on the basis of the court order.
3. The Bank of Slovenia is of the opinion that, in connection with the issue of the ruling ordering the Bank of Slovenia to hand over the minutes of the OKG, the District Court failed to allow the Bank of Slovenia to be fully briefed on the request by the commission of inquiry, and to explain to the court the significance of the request from the perspective of the safeguarding of confidential information before its ruling on the request. Only by taking account of all facts and circumstances could the court rule as to whether the request by the commission of inquiry is lawful and justified. In the proceedings to rule on the request by the commission of inquiry, the court thus failed to uphold for the Bank of Slovenia its constitutionally protected right to equal treatment under Article 22 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia, its right to judicial protection under Article 23 and its right to legal remedies under Article 25.
4. It is a fact that meetings of the OKG are advisory meetings convened by the governor (this practice was not instituted by the current governor, but was in place before his term). Meetings of the OKG are devoted to expert debate, and to the detailed examination of individual matters and issues within the Bank of Slovenia’s remit, including its actions within the framework of the ECB and the ESCB. The OKG is therefore merely an advisory body of the Bank of Slovenia, and does not take decisions on the basis of the Bank of Slovenia Act; under the Bank of Slovenia Act decisions are taken exclusively by the Governing Board of the Bank of Slovenia or the governor, depending on the powers defined by law. All the requested minutes of the Governing Board of the Bank of Slovenia have already been handed over to the commission of inquiry in line with its request.
It should be reiterated that the Bank of Slovenia has been cooperating with the commission of inquiry since the very outset, and has handed over all the requested documentation, including the minutes of the OKG. The Bank of Slovenia supports all the efforts of the competent authorities in connection with the identification of abuses in the Slovenian banking system, and it is also in the Bank of Slovenia’s interest that the commission of inquiry do its job.