Former Czech PM is backed by Russia

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Josef Tosovsky, a former Czech central bank governor and prime minister, is a well respected banker with a good reputation among his peers.

Mr Tosovsky, 56, interrupted a seven-year tenure as Czech National Bank governor during the 1990s to hold a six-month tenure as caretaker prime minister.

Vaclav Klaus, then prime minister and current president, resigned over a campaign financing scandal in late 1997, and the non-partisan Mr Tosovsky was appointed prime minister by Vaclav Havel, the former president, to calm the turbulent political situation.

Despite a premiership of just six months, Mr Tosovsky was instrumental in laying the foundations for several reforms and paving the way for talks which would lead to the country’s accession to the European Union five years later. He also began the process of banking privatisation.

Mr Tosovsky was president of the State Bank of Czechoslovakia and later oversaw the currency crisis of May 1997 as governor of the Czech National Bank. In July 1998, he resumed the post of governor for two more years.

He belongs to a group of economists who implemented the economy’s transformation on market principles, contributing to anti-inflationary monetary policy, exchange rate stability and the introduction of the convertibility of the Czech koruna. In 1993 he was named central banker of the year by Euromoney magazine, and in 1996 European banker of the year by leading EU journalists.

Tall, elegant and charismatic, he commands respect among his peers both in the Czech Republic and in international banking circles for his knowledge and carefully thought-out professional approach. But he is dogged by controversy too.

Earlier this year a Czech daily newspaper claimed he had co-operated with the StB communist secret police in the late 1980s.

The newspaper focused on Mr Tosovsky’s role as adviser for the then head of the State Bank of Czech-oslovakia. Mr Tosovsky denied the collaboration allegations.

He studied foreign trade at the Economics University in Prague. He worked in London for Czech bank Zivnostenska Banka during the 1980s.

He is currently head of the Financial Stability Institute within the Bank for International Settlements in Switzerland.

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