Finnish court rules against secrecy surrounding Greek bailout loan guarantees

Documents relating to guarantees sought by Finland during the bailout of Greece agreed in early 2012 cannot be held secret, according to a ruling from Finland’s Supreme Administrative Court today.

Publication of the information had been resisted by Finland’s Ministry of Finance.

However, the Court ruled that it was not legal for the Ministry to deny publication of the documents apart from information that could identify individual banks.

The case stems from decisions made in October 2011, when the eurozone member states agreed loans for Greece. Finland demanded additional guarantees for the loans. Finnish minister of Finance at the time Jutta Urpilainen and her Greek counterpart Evangelos Venizelos signed an agreement in February 2012. This tied Greece to executing the decision of the eurozone members, but there were also an additional five agreements signed that involved Finland and Greek banks and an international investment bank.

A clause in the documents meant the details were meant to be kept secret, including the terms signed with the banks.

The Ministry of Finance pointed to the clause as the reason it would not release the documents.

However, the Court rejected that argument, but did agree that publishing the names of the banks could result in confidential business information being released, and hence said their names could remain secret. The Court added that its decision underlined the importance of the principle of transparency that is written into Finnish basic law.

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