KARLSRUHE, Germany (AP) -- A top European Central Bank official is defending the bank's key financial crisis backstop against a legal challenge in Germany's constitutional court.
Joerg Asmussen says the ECB's plan to purchase bonds issued by indebted governments helped ward off financial disaster.
He says the program — which has never been used — does not violate the EU treaty, which bans the ECB from financing governments.
The Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe is considering arguments that the ECB's program is illegal and exposes taxpayers to potential losses.
Asmussen downplayed those potential losses. He said that if bonds were not repaid, the losses would first be absorbed by the central bank.