29.11.2023 - Following the takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS, several applications for access to information were submitted to the General Secretariat of the Federal Department of Finance (GS-FDF) and the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF). Following the refusal of access, the FDPIC received requests for mediation of varying content. Insofar as the documents fall within the scope of the Freedom of Information Act, the FDPIC recommends the deferral of access until the Parliamentary Investigation Commission PInC has completed its work if their disclosure could significantly harm the free opinion-forming and decision-making process of the PInC.
29.11.2023 - Freedom of Information Act: The FDPIC publishes his recommendations on takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS
Freedom of Information Act: The FDPIC publishes his recommendations on takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS
In view of the severe market turbulence with which Credit Suisse was struggling in March 2023, the Federal Council issued an emergency ordinance based directly on the Federal Constitution. On this basis, it adopted a package of measures to stabilise the Swiss economy, which enabled the takeover of Credit Suisse by UBS and included guarantees from the Confederation and the SNB totalling CHF 209 billion.
Subsequently, several people applied under the Freedom of Information Act for access to documents from the GS-FDF and SIF relating to the takeover mentioned above, which the latter refused, invoking a special provision in the emergency ordinance which excludes access under the Freedom of Information Act. As a result, the Commissioner received requests for mediation from individuals who did not agree with the grounds of the GS-FDF and the SIF to refuse access.
By issuing nine recommendations, the FDPIC concluded the mediation proceedings, which were conducted in writing. The Commissioner concludes that documents which were issued by or communicated to the authority after the emergency ordinance came into force are excluded from access under the Freedom of Information Act on the basis of the special provision mentioned above. As far as the documents which have been issued before this date and are subject to the Freedom of Information Act and are therefore generally accessible are concerned, the Commissioner recommends the deferral of access to those documents whose disclosure could significantly harm the free opinion-forming and decision-making process of the PInC until after the Parliamentary Investigation Commission "Management of the Authorities – CS Emergency Merger" has completed its work.
As the authorities have not provided sufficiently detailed justifications for other interests invoked against granting access as required by case law, access to these documents must also be granted once the PInC has completed its work.
If the requestees for mediation do not agree with the FDPIC's recommendations, they may request a ruling from the GS-FDF or the SIF. The GS-FDF and the SIF can issue a ruling ex officio.
Last modification 11.12.2023