You are here: 

FMA repudiates the repeated false factual statements or misinterpretations of facts by Meinl Bank

Release Date: |

The Financial Market Authority FMA wishes to correct the repeated false factual statements and misinterpretations of facts made by Meinl Bank to the media:

Peter Weinzierl, Member of the Management Board of Meinl Bank, claimed in an interview with the weekly magazine “News” (No. 29/08 of July 17, 2008, page 46ff) as follows: “MEL coordinated both its prospectuses and the share buybacks with the FMA. Now they don’t seem to remember any more what they promised.”

With regard to the prospectuses we wish to state:

The law stipulates that the FMA, for it to approve a prospectus, must have verified the completeness of the statutory information, and also that the presentation is free of contradiction and comprehensible to an informed investor. Only the issuer is liable for ensuring that the information is correct and that no significant details have been omitted. This does not require “coordination” with the Authority. If the three criteria are met, the issuer is legally entitled to the approval of its prospectus by the FMA.

With regard to the share buybacks we wish to state:

In the course of a share buyback scheme, Austrian law does not stipulate facts that would have to be approved by the FMA in advance. In addition, the FMA does not have to be informed in advance either. Therefore, there was no advance coordination between the FMA and MEL. The FMA only learnt about the certificate/share buyback scheme after it had been carried out. Answering a lawyer’s abstract legal enquiry can in no way be interpreted as the Authority having granted its approval, also for lack of a legal basis. Besides, the FMA expressly pointed out that Austrian laws would of course have to be adhered to and made a particular reference to the Austrian Stock Exchange Act (BörseG).

In an APA-OTS press release dated July 14, 2008 Meinl Bank claimed: “One year of intensive investigations by the Oesterreichische Nationalbank and the FMA did not reveal any breaches by Meinl Bank. The only administrative penalty issued by the FMA against the bank so far, owing to misleading advertisements, was repealed by the Independent Administrative Tribunal.”

This factual statement is false. The OeNB and FMA investigations into Meinl Bank came up with breaches, which is why the FMA issued several administrative penalties against members of the Meinl Bank Management Board. Furthermore, extensive statements of the facts were submitted to the state prosecutor’s office.

Furthermore, Meinl Bank makes the following incorrect factual statements in an advertising campaign entitled “The Truth. Part 1”, which were placed in several Austrian dailies:

“According to the Austrian Stock Exchange Act, MEL was not obliged to provide information about investments in its own certificates. This can be found in every prospectus audited by the FMA.”

The prospectuses only contain a note that the provisions of Article 91 BörseG (reaching, exceeding or falling below the reporting threshold and/or related information and publication obligations) do not apply as MEL is headquartered on Jersey. However, this information does not mean in any way that MEL is not obliged to provide information about “investments in its own certificates”.

“Like every other Austrian bank, Meinl Bank is obliged to inform the FMA about each individual purchase of securities by customers. These reports have been properly made on a daily basis.”

It is correct that institutions subject to reporting obligations are obliged by law to report every securities transaction to the FMA. Only these reports must be made in an anonymous form as to the customer behind the transaction. The identity of the customer must only be subsequently disclosed in the event of investigations. Such reports cannot in any way be interpreted as constituting official consent or any other form of approval. In 2007, the FMA received a total of 19.7 million such reports on transactions. These reports serve, legally and practically, to investigate possible irregularities after the fact. No agreement regarding the transaction on the part of the Authority can be derived from an anonymised report made.

For further information please contact
Klaus Grubelnik (FMA Media Spokesperson)
+43/(0676)/882 49 516

Next news entry: »