Will the bad bank be managed by a bankster who has been suspected of controversial transactions in the past?

Foto: STA

Last week, the government, acting on a proposal by the Slovenian Ministry of Finance, appointed Mitja Križaj as one of the two new non-executive directors of the Slovenian bad bank. Križaj, former director of the companies Hypo Leasing, HETA Asset Resolution Slovenia, and Triglav Nepremičnine, had already been one of the main candidates for the position of chief executive officer at the end of last summer, but at that time the Chairman of the Board of Directors Marko Simoneti had chosen the Hungarian Imre Balogh.

Križajs appointment has received a lot of publicity it is very controversial because of his connections with the current NLB President of the Management Board Blaž Brodnjak. Some time ago, the latter brought Križaj both to Triglav and back to Hypo Leasing, and the question arises how responsible the dealing between NLB and DUTB might be in the future, particularly considering that the Court of Auditors already identified several inefficiencies in the transfer of claims during a recent performance audit concerning the management of unprofitable claims and contracts in the period from the beginning of 2013 to 2 September 2016.

It should be recalled that a criminal investigation was conducted in 2012 regarding the financing of the unfortunate residential complex in Komenda. Hypo Alpe Adria Bank Slovenia had been taken in, loaning €5 million, and individuals from the management of the HYPO group had also participated in the transaction in one way or another. As reported by Dnevnik at the time, Urban Stojans company Urbano KC had obtained loans from Hypo which had been approved by the then director of Hypo Leasing Mitja Križaj, who had also signed a credit agreement worth €5 million in January 2007.

Križaj continued to move to different managerial positions, later becoming the director of Triglav Nepremičnine when his friend Brodnjak was a representative of the management board. At the time the rumour was spreading in public that the company was doing very badly, and that there was growing dissatisfaction among the employees as well. But this is not all. Later Brodnjak (when working in the Hypo bank in Klagenfurt) succeeded in bringing Križaj back to Hypo Leasing and later to HETA (bad bank of the Hypo bank), but Križaj had to leave it in 2014 under unexplained circumstances. Minister Vrančičar has justified his appointment as the non-executive director of DUTB with the comment that he is qualified for the position because of his excellent work at the above-mentioned Austrian bad bank. Therefore, we have been curious as to why Križaj had to leave HETA in the first place.

L. S.