PM Comments on HNB Insider Trading during Question Time in Parliament

By 19 January 2022
PM Comments on HNB Insider Trading during Question Time in Parliament

ZAGREB, 19 Jan 2022 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Wednesday that the insider trading case involving Croatian National Bank (HNB) employees had nothing to do with his Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party.

"This thing at the HNB has nothing to do with the HDZ," Plenković said in response to a question from Sandra Benčić (We Can!) during Question Time in Parliament. She accused the prime minister that he had made it possible through rules and regulations for HNB employees to trade in bonds and shares of banks supervised by the central bank and thus allowed the elite to exploit the majority.

"We have requested that these allegations be checked and the HNB has been requested to present its observations, and I expect this matter to be discussed," Plenković said, adding that he has no reason not to believe what HNB Governor Boris Vujčić said.

Plenković questioned the timing of the HNB issue, which comes during Croatia's preparations for accession to the euro area. "Should the possible damage to the HNB's reputation compromise Croatia's euro area membership?" he asked.

He reiterated his view that attempts had been made in the last 12 months to destabilise the institutions of the state by claiming that nothing was good and there was no future in Croatia.

Benčić likened the prime minister's views to conspiracy theories, saying that shifting responsibility to others was not a characteristic of a leader. "I call on you to accept criticism sometimes and announce changes accordingly, including a change of some of the people sitting here."

Agriculture Minister Marija Vučković said that the government had responded to all the previous crises and that it would equally respond to the present increases in food and energy prices.

"Food prices are increasing in the world because of disruptions to supply chains caused by COVID, because of increased demand and bad weather. Energy prices are also increasing, which is affecting all sectors of the economy, including agriculture," Vučković said, recalling financial aid to Croatian farmers, direct payments in agriculture and aid to the livestock sector.