Slovenia's finance minister resigns after police raid
By Blaz Zgaga
Slovenia's finance minister Dusan Mramor resigned on Wednesday (13 July), a week after police raided the country's central bank office.
Mramor, who had been minister since September 2014, said he resigned for personal reasons. Local media cited health issues.
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On Tuesday, during a trip to Brussels for an EU finance ministers meeting, he condemned last week's police raid as a "direct attack on the institution".
On 6 July, the headquarters of the central bank and of the state-owned bank Nova Ljubljanska Banka as well as offices of consultancy firms Deloitte and Ernst & Young were searched over allegations of abuse of office and official duties during a bank bailout in 2013.
More than €4.5 billion of public money were injected into several banks in 2013 and holders of subordinated bonds lost €257 million in what Slovenia's prosecutor believes was a scam by which bonds were unduly considered as bad loans towards which banks had no obligation.
The raid sparked a letter from European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi to the European Commission and Slovenia's prosecutor, saying it was an “unlawful seizure of ECB information”.
Mramor said on Tuesday that the raid showed that someone wanted to "kill the messenger", referring to the central bank, which assessed the disputed bad loans in the banking system.
Mramor, who managed to get Slovenia out of an EU excessive deficit procedure in June, was considered a strong supporter of German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble's austerity policies.
Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said Mramor was the first to propose Greece's exit from the eurozone during a Eurogroup meeting last year.
Mramor's right-hand man, finance secretary of state Metod Dragonja, resigned at the same time. He was involved in a controversy over the management of the Port of Koper, Slovenia's main port.
During a recent blockade of the port by workers, Dragonja was accused of being one of the masterminds of a concealed plan to privatise the port. He was also accused of providing false information on the port's business results to parliament.
Alenka Bratusek, an MP who was Slovenia's prime minister during the 2013 bank bailout, reacted to the resignations by saying that there were "much larger reasons than the Port of Koper issue".