Monday

21st May 2018

EU investment bank rejects MEPs' plea for VW fraud report

  • The European Investment Bank building in Luxembourg (Photo: European Investment Bank)

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has refused to release a report about how it was misled into lending money to Volkswagen Group, despite a request from MEPs to publish it.

On Friday (2 March) the EIB replied to an access to documents request from EUobserver, filed in January, about an investigation into a €400m loan to VW in 2009.

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When applying for the loan, the German carmaker had withheld from the bank that it was producing millions of diesel cars with illegal emissions-cheating software.

"While the EIB is committed to a policy of presumption of disclosure and transparency, it also has a duty to respect professional secrecy in compliance with European laws, as well as legislation to protect personal data," the EIB told EUobserver.

The EIB said that it had consulted with EU anti-fraud agency Olaf, which it said was "the author and the owner of the requested report".

It concluded that the EIB was not able to publish the report, "as its disclosure would seriously undermine the protection of i) the privacy and the integrity of individuals, ii) ongoing court proceedings, iii) the purpose of investigations".

The EIB also said that it could not release internal emails and exchanges about the report for the same reasons, as well as "to protect the bank's decision-making process".

The EIB's response is politically relevant. Between the date of EUobserver's request and the bank's reply, a majority of MEPs adopted a resolution about the bank's activities, in which they specifically called on the EIB to release the report. By refusing EUobserver's request, the EIB is also rejecting that political call.

EUobserver has appealed the decision.

MEPs want Volkswagen EU loan fraud report published

The European Investment Bank has kept a report explaining how it was tricked into giving Volkswagen Group a €400m loan secret. MEPs want to make it public, plus a paper with recommendations on how to prevent future deceptions.

EIB silent on report into 'fraudulent' VW loan

European Investment Bank vice-president Taylor tells EUobserver the fraud investigation into a €400 million EIB loan to Volkswagen had 'considerable ramifications', but didn't want to explain why the report was kept secret.

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EU probe into VW loan remains opaque

EU anti-fraud agency and European Investment Bank tight-lipped on report that said Volkswagen deceived the bank when acquiring a €400 million loan.

EIB 'more sensitive' to fraud after Dieselgate

The president of the European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer, said the bank had high standards - but did not explain why an anti-fraud report on a loan to Volkswagen was being kept secret.

Secrecy of VW fraud report 'unacceptable', says MEP

Finnish MEP Heidi Hautala won a trailblazing court case two decades ago for the right of EU citizens to receive 'partial access' to documents. Now she says it is "outrageous" the European Investment Bank is refusing to release Volkswagen documents.

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Linking EU funds to 'rule of law' is innovative - but vague

Defining what constitutes 'rule of law' violations may be more difficult than the EU Commission proposes, as it tries to link cohesion funds in east Europe to judicial independence. A key question will be who is to 'judge' those judges?

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The EU's budgetary muddling through might not be enough when the next crisis hits.

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