Sat Dec 1st, 2012 at 05:33:27 AM EST
Reuters: ECB right not to disclose Greece-related documents: court
Bloomberg News asked the ECB in August 2010 to disclose two documents entitled "The impact on government deficit and debt from off-market swaps. The Greek case" and "The Titlos transaction and possible existence of similar transactions impacting on the euro area government debt or deficit levels".
The ECB refused access to the documents. Bloomberg News challenged that decision in the General Court.
"In today's judgment, the General Court dismisses that action," the court said in a statement.
The judges agreed with the ECB that it could not disclose the first document because the information it contained was outdated, posing a substantial risk of severely misleading the public in general and financial markets in particular.
"In a very vulnerable market environment, that disclosure would affect the proper functioning of the financial markets. Thus, disclosure of the information contained in that document would undermine public confidence as regards the effective conduct of economic policy in the EU and Greece," the statement said.
The court also found that the content of the second document was closely connected with the first, and that the ECB had not made a mistake in assessing that its disclosure too "would undermine the economic policy of the EU and Greece"
This obviously stinks to high heaven...
front-paged by afew
Back in June when Blomberg first sued the ECB for this information, the European Central Bank refused, claiming that:
Disclosing the files when Bloomberg News first sought them in 2010 would have "fueled negative perceptions about Greece's ability to honor its debt," ECB lawyer Marta Lopez Torres said at a hearing of the European Union's General Court in Luxembourg today. "It's the same now with Spain" which "isn't able to borrow money," she said. "Markets are reacting in very volatile ways. It's affecting the euro economy."
We had run into Titlos here at Eurotrib, in the beginning of the crisis, in February 2010, when Zero Hedge had run a story on it. Le Monde had a story about the dealings between Goldman Sachs and Greece a month later.
As the Guardian reports:
Georg Erber, a specialist in financial market regulation at the German Institute for Economic Research, told Bloomberg: "The courts are bending the rules to legalise the policies of the European institutions and help stabilise the region. It reveals implicitly that the EU was well informed about what was going on and didn't take steps to avert the crisis."
If ECB and EU inaction is documented in these transactions, it is more than a small wonder why the Greek government is doing nothing to aid Bloomberg in its request. It would certainly show that the escalation of the debt crisis was permitted by the powers that be in Brussels and thus would allow Greece a stronger negotiating hand. In fact, it would seem quite likely that the Greek government and the Bank of Greece could have in their ownership similar documents, that might show the exact same thing.
Finally: whose interests is the General Court protecting here supposedly? Their statement that "disclosure of the information contained in that document would undermine public confidence as regards the effective conduct of economic policy in the EU and Greece" is laughable. Given the actual economic policy that followed, public confidence as regards the effective conduct of economic policy in the EU and Greece should have been undermined. This is a political call they are making, and quite obviously contrary to the interest of public transparency and democracy in the EU. I hope Bloomberg takes the ECB to the ECJ. And European institutions and organizations should support and aid them...