Speaking to reporters during a visit to the eastern town of Novska, Plenković said he had spoken with HNB Governor Boris Vujčić on Tuesday, unaware that the central bank governor would appear in the prime-time evening news programme on HTV public television shortly afterwards.
“That’s when I heard again most of what he had told me on the news programme,” the prime minister said, adding that the chair of the parliamentary Finance and Budget Committee, Grozdana Perić, had formally asked the HNB to present its view on the situation.
“We will see what happens after that. At this point I have as much information on this matter as you do,” Plenković told the press.
He added that the Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency (HANFA) would most likely look into the matter as well. “After that, we will have a fuller picture. Right now we do not have any other information.”
Recalling that the HNB was under the authority of Parliament and under HANFA’s supervision, Plenković said: “This matter is not directly connected with the government, but we will be informed.”
The Index news website said on Monday that in the last 20 years over 40 HNB officials and staff, including Governor Boris Vujčić and his deputy Sandra Švaljek, had traded in securities of commercial banks which are supervised by the central bank, citing more than 400 transactions whose value exceeded HRK 10 million (€1.3m).
The HNB said in its reaction on Tuesday that Vujčić and Švaljek had not violated any legal provisions, stressing the need to distinguish stocks and shares from corporate bonds.
Vujčić told HTV on Tuesday evening he had not used inside information for personal gain and that he had no knowledge of other HNB staff doing so. He called on anyone with proof of such allegations to notify the HNB and HANFA.