Live feed from Bloomberg today:
The European Central Bank said it can’t release files showing how Greece may have used derivatives to hide its borrowings because disclosure could still inflame the crisis threatening the future of the single currency.
Disclosing the files when Bloomberg News first sought them in 2010 would have “fueled negative perceptions about Greece’s ability to honor its debt,” ECB lawyer Marta Lopez Torres said at a hearing of the European Union’s General Court in Luxembourg today. “It’s the same now with Spain” which “isn’t able to borrow money,” she said. “Markets are reacting in very volatile ways. It’s affecting the euro economy.”
….. “Markets will perform better when they have transparency,” Timothy Pitt-Payne, lawyer for Bloomberg News, told the court. “The question is who knew what; and when did they know it?”
Bloomberg’s lawsuit, filed in December 2010, requested access to two internal papers drafted for the central bank’s six-member Executive Board. They show how Greece used swaps to hide its borrowings, according to a March 3, 2010, note attached to the papers and obtained by Bloomberg News.
The first document is entitled “The impact on government deficit and debt from off-market swaps: the Greek case.” The second reviews Titlos Plc, a securitization that allowed National Bank of Greece SA, the country’s biggest lender, to exchange swaps on Greek government debt for funding from the ECB, the Executive Board said in the cover note.
These documents “played a role” in shaping policy and “highlighted there were issues” when the ECB undertook a review of its eligibility criteria for collateral in its funding operations, the ECB lawyer told the court.
… Spokesmen for Goldman Sachs in London couldn’t immediately comment after the hearing.