Court blocks release of Greek accounts
The EU’s general court has blocked an attempt to force the European Central Bank to release files showing how Greece used derivatives to hide its debt in the run-up to the financial crisis. The case was brought by Bloomberg News under the EU’s freedom of information rules in August 2010 but was thrown out on Thursday by the court in Luxembourg.
“Disclosure of those documents would have undermined the protection of the public interest so far as concerns the economic policy of the EU and Greece,” the EU’s general court said.
Goldman Sachs and other investment banks have been criticised by European leaders over claims that they helped Greece disguise the true scale of its debts over several years. German chancellor Angela Merkel said in February 2010: “It’s a scandal if it turned out that the same banks that brought us to the brink of the abyss helped to fake the statistics.” Read more.
Julia Kollewe and Martin Farrer | The Guardian | 29th November 2012
Anwar al-Awlaki ‘had been in US custody’
Anwar al-Awlaki, the US-born Islamic cleric killed in a US drone attack in Yemen last year, had been in American custody at least twice but was released, according to a human rights group.
Judicial Watch, an accountability watchdog group, said it had learned this through Freedom of Information lawsuits it filed with the US government.
It said documents from the US embassy in Yemen indicate Awlaki was held for at least eight months between late 2006 and mid 2007. But the documents do not say how long he was held or why he was he was freed.
Back in October 2002, Awlaki was detained at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on a warrant for passport fraud, a felony that can be punished with up to 10 years in jail. Read more.
The Telegraph | 29th November 2012
NEWS CORP CLS B : FOX Business Achieves Additional Victory in Treasury Lawsuit over Freedom of Information Act Requests
FOX Business Network (FBN) has achieved another victory in its lawsuit against the United States Treasury Department over documents that the Treasury improperly withheld in response to FBN’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, announced Kevin Magee, FBN Executive Vice President.
The decision was delivered earlier this week by United States Magistrate Judge Frank Maas, who ordered the Treasury to release the documents it had withheld regarding the bailout of American International Group (AIG). The records include internal communications among Treasury officials discussing AIG bonuses, media requests, dealings with Congress, and investor relations. Judge Maas has scheduled a telephone conference for December 3rd to discuss the case followed by a scheduling of the document delivery date.
In making the announcement, Magee said “This is another proud day for FOX Business as we once again have earned a victory for the American public in the fight for enhanced transparency”. Read more.
4-Traders | 29th November 2012
Council ‘sorry’ for blacking out all 425 pages of FOI request
BUNGLING council officials have apologised after staff wasted hours producing a “flabbergasting” Freedom of Information response with every one of its 425 pages blacked out.
The pointless document is as thick as a TELEPHONE DIRECTORY when printed but contains page after page of large black rectangles blocking all the key information.
The bumper piece of paperwork was put together by staff at Brentwood Council in Essex after they received questions about a multi-million pound deal to build a cinema next door to The Only Way is Essex nightspot The Sugar Hut. Read more.
Emily Nash | The Sun | 29th November 2012