22nd Oct 2016

'Gorilla' taints EU oversight of Greek bailout

  • Commission HQ: Brussels is trying to wash its hands of the affair (Photo:

The resignation of a Slovak official installed by the EU to help oversee Greek state sell-offs has posed questions over its selection procedure.

The official, Anna Bubenikova, stepped down last Thursday (9 August) from her post as one of three EU advisors on the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (Hradf), a Greek-government-owned firm set up in July to auction up to €50 billion of assets - including the state lottery, real estate and shares in Greek banks - in line with EU bailout demands.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Her decision came after a Slovak TV channel, Markiza TV, revealed on 2 August that she got the Hradf post despite being implicated in the so-called Gorilla scandal.

Gorilla is the codename of a Slovak secret service wiretap operation in 2005 and 2006.

Transcripts of the wiretaps were leaked on the Internet last December, alleging that Bubenikova, a former director of the National Property Fund (NPF), a Slovak privatisation agency, used her post to help one of her husband's companies.

Bubenikova lost her NPF job over the affair in January.

But the then government of former prime minister Iveta Radicova recommended her anyway for the Hradf post to the EU Council's working group on the eurozone, which gave her the Hradf job.

The Markiza TV report prompted the Slovak finance ministry on 6 August to publicly ask the Eurogroup, the Brussels-based club of euro-using countries, to reconsider her appointment on "ethical" grounds.

For her part, Bubenikova said in a press release that she resigned in order to protect Hradf from "untrue assertions ... made by some media and some Slovak politicians."

Meanwhile, the European Commission is trying to distance itself from the situation.

A commission official in its Bratislava delegation, Ingrid Ludvikova, said in a statement to Slovak press the whole thing is "the responsibility of the employer, which is [Hradf]. It is not for the European Commission to rule on this matter."

The commission's delegation in Athens said in a communique that Bubenikova was selected due to "her professional experience and expertise in the field of privatisation."

It added that "to the commission's knowledge, the Slovak authorities have not started any legal proceedings or any formal investigation" against her and that "it subscribes to the fundamental principle of 'innocent until proven guilty'."


Cyprus seeks EU support on reunification

EU states should be "more vocal" with Turkey and play a more political role on reunification, Cyprus' EU ambassador told EUobserver.

News in Brief

  1. Canada and Wallonia end talks without Ceta deal
  2. Juncker hopes for Canada accord in 'next few days'
  3. Romania drops opposition to Ceta
  4. Difficulties remain on Ceta deal, says Walloon leader
  5. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  6. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  7. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  8. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity