Official Journal of the European Union
Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 15 March 2022 (request for a preliminary ruling from the Cour d’appel de Paris — France) — Mr A v Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF)
(Case C-302/20) (1)
(Reference for a preliminary ruling - Single Market for financial services - Market abuse - Directives 2003/6/EC and 2003/124/EC - ‘Inside information’ - Concept - Information ‘of a precise nature’ - Information relating to the forthcoming publication of a press article reporting a market rumour about an issuer of financial instruments - Unlawfulness of the disclosure of inside information - Exceptions - Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 - Article 10 - Disclosure of inside information in the normal exercise of a profession - Article 21 - Disclosure of inside information for the purpose of journalism - Freedom of the press and freedom of expression - Disclosure by a journalist, to a usual source, of information relating to the forthcoming publication of a press article)
Language of the case: French
Cour d’appel de Paris
Parties to the main proceedings
Applicant: Mr A
Defendant: Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF)
Operative part of the judgment
Article 1(1) of Directive 2003/6/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2003 on insider dealing and market manipulation (market abuse) must be interpreted as meaning that, for the purposes of classification as inside information, information relating to the forthcoming publication of a press article reporting a market rumour about an issuer of financial instruments is capable of constituting information ‘of a precise nature’, within the meaning of that provision and of Article 1(1) of Commission Directive 2003/124/EC of 22 December 2003 implementing Directive 2003/6 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the definition and public disclosure of inside information and the definition of market manipulation, and that the fact that that press article mentions the price at which the securities of that issuer would be purchased in the context of a possible takeover bid and the identity of the journalist who authored that article and of the media organisation that published it are relevant factors for the purpose of assessing that precise nature, in so far as they were disclosed before that publication. As regards the actual effect of that publication on the prices of the securities to which it relates, while it may constitute ex post evidence of the precise nature of that information, it is not sufficient, in itself, in the absence of an examination of other factors known or disclosed prior to that publication, to establish that precise nature.
Article 21 of Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on market abuse (market abuse regulation) and repealing Directive 2003/6 of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Directives 2003/124, 2003/125/EC and 2004/72/EC must be interpreted as meaning that the disclosure by a journalist, to one of his or her usual sources of information, of information relating to the forthcoming publication of a press article authored by him or her reporting a market rumour is made ‘for the purpose of journalism’, within the meaning of that provision, where that disclosure is necessary for the purpose of carrying out a journalistic activity, which includes investigative work in preparation for publication.
Articles 10 and 21 of Regulation No 596/2014 must be interpreted as meaning that a disclosure of inside information by a journalist is lawful where it must be regarded as being necessary for the exercise of his or her profession and as complying with the principle of proportionality.
(1) OJ C 313, 21.9.2020.