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Report on the European Ombudsman´s meeting in case OI/1/2018/AMF

OII Reference: OI/1/2018/AMF

Case title: The Single Resolution Board’s handling of requests for access to documents from former shareholders of the Spanish bank Banco Popular considering themselves to be interested parties under the Single Resolution Mechanism Regulation 806/2014

Date: Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Location:  Luxembourg Room-03/111 - VC (Brussels)

Present

Representatives from the Single Resolution Board:

1) Staff Member, Legal Expert

2) Staff Member, Legal Expert

Representatives from the European Ombudsman:

1) Mr Fergal O’ Regan, Head of Strategic Inquiries Unit 2

2)Staff Member, Legal Officer, Inquiries Unit 4  

3) Trainee, Inquiries Unit 3

Purpose of the meeting

Background information

The Ombudsman has decided to open an Own Initiative Inquiry (‘OII’) following the large number of complaints received from former shareholders of the Spanish bank ‘Banco Popular’ concerning their requests to be given privileged access as interested parties under Article 90(4) of the Single Resolution Mechanism Regulation 806/2014 (“the SRB Regulation”)[1] to documents related to the SRB’s decision of 7 June 2017 to put Banco Popular into resolution. The complainants disagree with the SRB’s decision to deal with the complainants´ requests for access on the basis of the EU rules on public access to documents[2] and the SRB’s Public Access Decision[3] and not on the basis of Article 90(4) of the SRB Regulation.

Purpose of the meeting

The purpose of the meeting was to meet with relevant officials of the SRB to clarify whether the SRB’s reply to the complainants is appropriate.

Information about the meeting

The Ombudsman’s inquiry team outlined the purpose of the meeting. They briefly explained the legal framework governing information gathering in the course of an Ombudsman inquiry (Article 3(2) of the Statute of the European Ombudsman and Article 4 of the European Ombudsman’s Implementing Provisions).

The SRB asked for clarifications about the Ombudsman´s complaint handling procedure.

The SRB noted that the scope of the OII opened by the Ombudsman falls within the scope of the ongoing General Court case T-16/18[4]. It stressed that this case concerns the response of the SRB of 8 November 2017 to a request for access to the file related to the resolution of Banco Popular under Article 41(2) of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 90(4) of Regulation 806/2014. The subject-matter of this pending Court case thus corresponds with the subject-matter of the Ombudsman’s OII.

The Ombudsman’s inquiry team asked the SRB for a copy of the application in the above case to check whether the scope of the Court case corresponds with the scope of the Ombudsman’s OII.

The SRB stressed that former shareholders and bondholders of an entity are not considered as subject of the Board’s decisions in the sense of Article 90(4) of the SRB Regulation.

Information exchanged

The Ombudsman’s inquiry team obtained a copy of the application in General Court case T-16/18. The SRB requested that this document be treated confidentially.

 

 

[1] Regulation (EU) No 806/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 July 2014 establishing uniform rules and a uniform procedure for the resolution of credit institutions and certain investment firms in the framework of a Single Resolution Mechanism and a Single Resolution Fund and amending Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010, OJ L 225, 30.7.2014, p. 1–90.

[2] Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents, OJ L 145, 31.5.2001, p. 43–48.

[3] Decision of the Executive Session of the Board of 9 February 2017 on public access to the Single Resolution Board documents (SRB/ES/2017/01).

[4] http://curia.europa.eu/juris/liste.jsf?language=en&jur=C,T,F&num=T-16/18&td=ALL