Minister avoids 'legal swamp', no probe into what went wrong at SNS
Tuesday 26 February 2013
The government will not order a far-reaching inquiry into what went wrong at financial services group SNS Reaal, which was nationalised at the beginning of this month.
Finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem told RTL Z on Tuesday he did not favour a legal inquiry. 'I think the company should now look to the future. I do not believe in a legal swamp,' the minister said.
The investors' association VEB had urged the minister to commission an inquiry in an effort to find out what went wrong. Only shareholders can request an inquiry at the company court and the state is now the sole shareholder in SNS.
Dijsselbloem also said it would be difficult to prove the company had been mismanaged. 'Investment decisions were taken which worked out badly but ... the question remains, can you make the executives legally responsible?' the minister said.
The VEB, which represents hundreds of investors who lost money when their shares were taken over by the government without compensation, can also try to force a fact-finding investigation at the company court in Amsterdam.
On Monday, the Council of State ruled Dijsselbloem was within his rights to expropriate all the shares in SNS Reaal in order to ensure the stability of the Dutch financial system. But the minister was wrong to try to pre-empt any compensation claims, the court said.