DUTCH COURT UPHOLDS SNS EXPROPRIATION, EXCEPT FOR FUTURE CLAIMS

     (The following press release issued by Dutch Council of State was obtained 
from www.raadvanstate.nl) 
Press release Council of State: 25 February 2013  
Minister of Finance was entitled to expropriate SNS securities and loans, but 
not future claims    
The Minister of Finance was entitled to expropriate the securities, including 
shares, subordinated bonds and participation certificates, and the subordinated 
private loans of SNS Bank and SNS REAAL on 1 February 2013, but not future 
claims. This was the conclusion of the judgment given today by the 
Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State. Numerous 
organisations and private individuals from the Netherlands and other countries 
had lodged an appeal against the expropriation with the Council of State. They 
included the Investors Association VEB, the SNS Bondholders Organisation, the 
Trade Union Confederation FNV and many individuals. There is no appeal against 
the judgment.  
Stability of financial system
The Council of State, the highest administrative court, held that the minister 
was entitled to expropriate the securities and subordinated private loans of 
SNS Bank and SNS REAAL. This was partly based on the consideration that SNS 
Bank was unable by itself to overcome the capital shortage arising mainly from 
losses on its real estate portfolio. In addition, De Nederlandsche Bank (the 
Dutch central bank) had demanded that a long-term solution to the capital 
shortage be found by 31 January. However, this proved impossible. Without the 
minister’s intervention, SNS would most likely have gone bankrupt, which would 
also have entailed the bankruptcy of ASN Bank and Regio Bank. Due to the 
deposit guarantee system, a bankruptcy would also have had major consequences 
for other Dutch banks and the State. In view of this situation, the minister 
was entitled to conclude that the stability of the financial system faced a 
serious and immediate threat.
Many objections were raised to the fact that the minister had based his 
decision on Cushman & Wakefield’s valuation report on the real estate 
portfolio. The Council of State held that the minister was entitled to base his 
decision on that report.  
Future claims
The Council of State quashed the minister’s expropriation order in respect of 
any claims that former shareholders and bondholders might make in the future. 
The expropriation of these claims, which are unsecured, is at odds with his own 
decision to exclude these claims. Expropriation of these future claims is also 
hard to reconcile with the compensation system under the Financial Supervision 
Act. 
Expropriation
On Friday 1 February, the Dutch State nationalised SNS Bank and SNS REAAL. The 
expropriation order was based on the Financial Supervision Act, which since 
2012 has allowed the Minister of Finance to intervene in banks that get into 
difficulties.
 
 
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