Apr 082011
 April 8, 2011  Posted by  Court, Non-U.S.

Eric Kelsey reports:

A German millionaire’s complaint that publishing his net worth on a magazine’s rich list was an invasion of privacy has been dismissed by a judge on grounds of public interest, the court said on Friday.

The attorney for one of Germany’s richest men told the judge in the Bavarian capital of Munich his client’s wealth was incorrectly stated, adding that an individual’s financial affairs were a private matter.

But the judge dismissed the case, ruling the public has a legitimate interest in knowing about the wealth of billionaires and millionaires, as well as its origins, media reports said.

Read more on Reuters.

This decision surprises me as Germany has been very privacy-protective in other respects. If an individual has great wealth from private sources or their own work (i.e., not public salary), then the public may well be curious, but how does that translate into a legitimate right to know? I don’t see how you even get to a public right to know the origins of a private individual’s wealth.

I don’t know if this ruling can be appealed (I assume that it can), or whether it will be appealed, but on some level, I hope that it is appealed.

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