EU Sues Slovenia for Seizing ECB Documents in Central Bank Raid

(Bloomberg) -- The European Commission is suing Slovenia for seizing European Central Bank documents in a raid at its own central bank three years ago as investigators looked into its role in bank bailouts.

The Commission said Thursday in a statement that it’s “decided to refer Slovenia to the Court of Justice of the EU for the violation of the inviolability of the archives of the ECB.” Attempts in 2016, 2017 and 2018 to clarify the facts and circumstances were unsuccessful, it said.

The central bank raid came three years after the government spent 3.2 billion euros ($3.6 billion) on rescuing state-owned lenders to avoid seeking international aid. The investigation focused on Governor Bostjan Jazbec, who stepped down last May, and his team, amid criticism that capital valuations of banks that were later rescued were inappropriate.

Jazbec took charge as Slovenia was struggling to avoid a Greek-style international bailout after years of mismanagement and political meddling pushed state-owned lenders to the brink of insolvency. The 2013 bank rescue was accompanied by so-called burden sharing that wiped out around 600 million euros of bondholder debt, prompting debate in the euro-area member whether that decision was lawful.

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