Draghi in Group of Thirty Not an ECB Conflict, Watchdog Says

Mario Draghi’s membership in the Group of Thirty, a policy group with members from both private and central banks, doesn’t undermine his independence as governor of the European Central Bank, the ombudsman for the European Union said.

Draghi’s membership in the group doesn’t affect the “independence, reputation and integrity” of the Frankfurt-based ECB, the ombudsman said in a report on his website. The investigation followed a complaint from Corporate Europe Observatory, a group that aims to curb the influence enjoyed by corporations in EU policy making, according to its website.

The “agendas and diversity of the speakers” at Group of Thirty meetings mean it “should be characterized as a discussion forum, rather than an interest group or a lobby seeking to promote private interests,” the ombudsman, Nikiforos Diamandouros, said in the report.

The Group of Thirty brings together senior executives at private banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Banco Santander SA, central bank governors, politicians and academics to discuss financial policy. Draghi’s predecessor at the ECB, Jean-Claude Trichet, is the group’s chairman.

The ombudsman, who investigates complaints about lapses in administration at EU institutions, also said the ECB should mention Draghi’s membership in the group on its website “in the interests of transparency.”

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