The SRB Appeal Panel decides on access to SRB documents with respect to the Banco Popular case
The SRB Appeal Panel confirms that full disclosure of the Provisional Valuation Report would raise financial stability concerns. At the same time, it decided that the SRB should make public elements of the Valuation Report it considers to be of a non-confidential nature.
The SRB is now analysing the steps that need to be taken in the coming days following 6 decisions of the SRB Appeal Panel.
On 28 November 2017, the Appeal Panel of the SRB released its decisions on the cases 38/17 to 43/17. These cases related to the review of decisions of the SRB with respect to the Appellants’ requests for access to SRB documents, including the SRB Decision concerning the adoption of a resolution scheme in respect of Banco Popular, the related Valuation Report, the 2016 version of the Resolution Plan in respect of Banco Popular, documents emanating from the ECB concerning the situation of Banco Popular, internal SRB documents, as well as documents relating to the competitive process for the sale of Banco Popular.
The SRB Appeal Panel, after balancing the interests involved, has decided that certain further parts of the Resolution Decision could be disclosed, although it welcomed the publication of a non-confidential version of the Resolution Decision by the SRB. In addition, the SRB Appeal Panel upheld the stance of the SRB that the disclosure of parts of the Valuation Report could “pose a threat to such protected interests”, “could have an impact on other market participants and/or resolution actions in the future” and “could objectively raise actual concerns either of financial stability or of protection of commercial interests”. Nevertheless, the SRB Appeal Panel stressed the need for the SRB to identify the non-confidential content of the Valuation Report that shall be disclosed. With respect to the 2016 Resolution Plan for Banco Popular, the SRB Appeal Panel considered that since disclosure of this Resolution Plan would now take place several months after the adoption of the Resolution Decision, some parts of this Resolution Plan could be made public. In the view of the SRB Appeal Panel, in preparing the non-confidential versions of these documents, the SRB “enjoys significant discretion, provided that it complies, mutatis mutandis, with the principles stated in [its] decision[s]”. As regards other internal SRB documents, the SRB Appeal Panel stated that access to such documents can be legitimately refused by the SRB to the extent that the Appellants did not show an overriding public interest in the disclosure of the documents. With respect to documents emanating from the ECB, the SRB Appeal Panel confirmed the SRB’s stance regarding the non-disclosure of such documents. Finally, the SRB Appeal Panel considered that the refusal to provide full access to documents relating to the competitive process for the sale of Banco Popular “was duly substantiated and was duly justified by the applicable exceptions invoked by the Board”.
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