Bank of Slovenia’s response to publication of the answer sent by the State Prosecutor General to the President of the ECB
The Bank of Slovenia’s response to yesterday’s publication of the answer sent by the State Prosecutor General, Zvonko Fišer, to the President of the ECB, Mario Draghi:
In his response to the President of the ECB, Mario Draghi, the State Prosecutor General, Zvonko Fišer, stated (as he previously asserted at the news conference) that the “house search at the Bank of Slovenia was conducted based on available information in accordance with the relevant order. Any request will thus be rejected. The prosecutor’s office says that no house searches would have been conducted if the Bank of Slovenia had handed over the requested documentation.” (source: Slovenian Press Agency).
As we already stated in our rejection of statements made by Head of Specialised State Prosecutor's Office Harij Furlan at the aforementioned press conference: “The Bank of Slovenia never refused to deliver any documents requested by the police. Mr Furlan’s assertion at the press conference that the Governor will invoke the right to immunity is erroneous. An attorney did advise that he enjoys certain immunity as a member of the ECB’s Governing Council, and proposed that the police verify the Governor’s status before initiating a house search.
Mr Furlan’s assertion that the police repeatedly requested (and received) certain documentation from the Bank of Slovenia, without the latter invoking its right to immunity, is misleading. The Bank of Slovenia handed over all requested documentation. These were Bank of Slovenia documents in connection with the performance of the AQR and stress tests, and the issue of decisions regarding extraordinary measures. Invoking the right to immunity was thus not necessary. The police never made an issue of the handover of documents. During the most recent handover, the police did not request additional documents, either in writing or orally, nor did it express any reservations about the extent and method of that handover. The police did not even disclose who it was investigating or which suspects were the focus of its investigation until 6 July 2016. During house searches, Bank of Slovenia employees raised concerns about those seized documents and data, in written and electronic form, that relate to the subject of the investigation, in particular those documents and data for which the rules of the ESCB’s confidentiality protection system apply.
The Bank of Slovenia emphasises that the problem lies in the way information was seized, which was random and breached the confidentiality of ECB documents.”
We re-emphasise that the Bank of Slovenia handed over more than 100 documents (the precise number cannot be given due to the seizure of the personal computers of persons who prepared documents for handover) following interviews with Bank of Slovenia employees during pre-trial proceedings, and responded in writing and orally to all questions received, and never declined to answer questions or handover any document. The Bank of Slovenia also offered to organise meetings with other employees whose specific knowledge could help in understanding the matter at hand. The police did not respond to that offer.
We therefore request that the State Prosecutor General provide a list of documents that we failed to deliver or hand over, and that were the subject of the house search (the police also seized personal computers and information from the server relating to persons referred to in the order which, as previously stated, constitutes a random seizure that also breached the confidentiality of ECB documents).
We also request that the State Prosecutor prioritise all proceedings, as it is important for the work of the Bank of Slovenia that all doubts about that work are dispelled as soon as possible and that the unhindered work of employees whose computers were seized is restored.
Public Relations Department
Bank of Slovenia