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Judgment of the Court (UE) 19 June 2018

1.      Article 54(1) of Directive 2004/39/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on markets in financial instruments amending Council Directives 85/611/EEC and 93/6/EEC and Directive 2000/12/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and repealing Council Directive 93/22/EEC must be interpreted as meaning that all information relating to the supervised entity and communicated by it to the competent authority, and all statements of that authority in its supervision file, including its correspondence with other bodies, do not constitute, unconditionally, confidential information that is covered, consequently, by the obligation to maintain professional secrecy laid down in that provision. Information held by the authorities established by the Member States to perform the functions laid down by that directive that is information (i) which is not public and (ii) the disclosure of which is likely to affect adversely the interests of the natural or legal person who provided that information or of third parties, or the proper functioning of the system for monitoring the activities of investment firms that the EU legislature established in adopting Directive 2004/39, is to be so classified.

2.      Article 54(1) of Directive 2004/39 must be interpreted as meaning that the confidentiality of information relating to the supervised entity and communicated to the authorities established by the Member States to perform the functions laid down by that directive must be assessed at the time of the examination which those authorities must undertake in order to decide on a request for disclosure relating to that information, irrespective of how that information was classified at the time when it was communicated to those authorities.

3.      Article 54(1) of Directive 2004/39 must be interpreted as meaning that information held by the authorities established by the Member States to perform the functions laid down by that directive that could constitute business secrets, but is at least five years old, must, as a rule, on account of the passage of time, be considered historical and therefore as having lost its secret or confidential nature unless, exceptionally, the party relying on that nature shows that, despite its age, that information still constitutes an essential element of its commercial position or that of interested third parties. Such considerations have no bearing in relation to information held by those authorities the confidentiality of which might be justified for reasons other than the importance of that information with respect to the commercial position of the undertakings concerned. view more