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SWIFT Says No Transfers until Parliament Votes

FINANCIAL PRIVACY—EU & U.S.

February 3, 2010

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Transactions (SWIFT) says it will not share European banking data with U.S. officials, pending further action by the European Parliament, reports Handelsblatt. On February 10, Parliament will vote whether to accept the SWIFT agreement reached between U.S. authorities and the EU Council of Ministers late last year, prior to the Lisbon Treaty going into effect. The agreement allows for the sharing of European citizens' transaction data with the U.S. Justice Department for counterterrorism efforts. Under the deal, SWIFT was to have resumed the data sharing as of February 1, but the society now says it will not engage in such transfers until Parliament has had its say. It is widely expected that Parliament will vote against extending the agreement next week. "This shows that companies in the EU take Parliament seriously," says Henriette Tielemans, a partner in the Brussels office of Covington & Burling LLP.  "It also shows that Parliament has every intent to use the powers that it received under the Lisbon Treaty." (Story in German.)
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