The National Bank invested in high-risk stock trading and lost EUR 2 billion – Minister of Finance Brunner has political responsibility
Vienna (OTS/SK) – The Austrian National Bank has increasingly invested in the high-risk share business. “That cannot be talked away, not even by National Bank Governor Holzmann. On the contrary, he even confirmed it,” said SPÖ budget spokesman Jan Krainer on Saturday in response to Holzmann’s statements in the ORF-Ö1-Journal. The National Bank has thus said goodbye to the basic political consensus that the state is not allowed to speculate with taxpayers’ money – “and lost 2 billion euros,” says Krainer. “The National Bank manages Austria’s iron reserve. Austrians must be able to trust that their funds will be handled with particular care. Unfortunately, the opposite is the case, because the risk was deliberately increased,” says Krainer, who emphasizes that Finance Minister Brunner bears the political responsibility for this. ****
Up until now, it has been indisputable custom to place the absolute focus of investments on government bonds – “the core business of the National Bank”. Now, however, the risk has increased with increased investments in the much more volatile stock market. The SPÖ has indications that the OeNB director Thomas Steiner, who is close to the ÖVP, has made these changes to the investment rules in recent years. This is against the explicit advice of National Bank experts, who explicitly pointed out the high risk of loss.
Finance Minister Brunner was confronted with the problem in an urgent request. “The answer is still pending. But it is already clear to us: the National Bank is not a casino. There is no place for high-risk business! That is why we asked for an audit by the Court of Auditors. The questions that Brunner did not want to answer will have to be answered by the Court of Auditors, which will finally shed light on the National Bank’s share transactions.” (End) up