The Blind Spot Surrounding the 2005 'Major Restructuring' of the Goldman/Greek Secret Loan
The EU Commission was at the forefront of the response to the revelation in 2010 of irregularities in Greece's government statistics and in particular the 2.8 billion Euros secret loan it received from Goldman Sachs in 2001 (see this article at Bloomberg).
Has it delivered and has parliamentary oversight been adequate?
We tried to answer in a December 2011 article by comparing the results of a thorough audit from Eurostat with initiatives from legislative bodies in the EU and the UK and Goldman Sachs' communication (see MarketOracle). In short, there were serious lapses that point to a deception.
We revisit the issue based on additional material, an April 2010 hearing in the EU parliament (video footage included in this article) and the work of the special committee in charge of studying the causes of the financial crisis, CRIS.
The time is opportune following Nick Dundbar's recent report which reveals important details about the imbalanced relationship between Greece's debt agency and the bank (see Bloomberg). That reinforces our case that EU's officials have limited their reach to regularizing the accounts, not investigating the actions of the parties involved.
The ECB-G30 conflict
In November 2011, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), a Brussels based lobby watchdog, asked Mario Draghi to withdraw from the group of G30 because it conflicts with his duties as ECB President. According to them the ECB's press office dodged their criticism and, in February 2012, they referred the matter to the ethics officer of the ECB.
This referral comes as it is uncovered that Draghi stated in writing that there were no relevant personal factors to be taken into account in considering his nomination in June 2011. It is misleading because it fails to disclose a conflict of interest (Nouvel Observateur). Specifically, his son has been working for some years as an interest rate trader at Morgan Stanley (LinkedIn). The code of conduct of the ECB warns against "potential advantage for [the] families [of the Governing Council]". It's a real risk. In January 2012 the president of the Swiss National Bank was forced to resign after it was found his wife traded on insider knowledge, reported The Telegraph.
Irregularities in the nomination of Mario Draghi
The Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs was in charge of evaluating Mario Draghi's credentials on behalf of the European Parliament. Keep in mind that, while independent,the European Central Bank is accountable to the European parliament via this Committee. The view of the Committee was described in a 36 pages report concluding to a favourable opinion to appoint Mario Draghi as President of the ECB. 75% of the MEPs approved, resulting in his appointment for a term of office of eight years with effect from 1 November 2011 by the European Council. The report ignores some strong reservations of some Committee members about his alleged role in the falsification of Greek debt. This, and other evidence, indicates a possible ethical failure. The contentious transactions were engineered by Goldman Sachs International in 2001. They were subsequently managed while Mario Draghi held the position of vice chairman and managing director of the bank's London office (European headquarter), and a member of the firm-wide management committee, from 2002 to 2005. In particular, a significant increase in the debt hiding scheme, engineered in 2005, has yet to be addressed in relation with this nomination.
Greek/Goldman 2001 deal, overlooked aspects, and open questions
In 2001 the Greece ministry of finance hired Goldman Sachs to enhance its books using derivatives. This became known in 2003. Two noticeable events occurred in 2010.
First, the EU mandates audits into Greece’s national accounts, uncovering huge irregularities, including those related to the 2001 deal. This received financial media coverage (Wall Street Journal…). It was suspected, then, that, in addition, Goldman Sachs shorted Greek debt which, on the face of it, is a market abuse. The final audit, however, came at a time when the media coverage had dissipated: we will see that it's unfortunate.
Second, Goldman Sachs’ wrongdoing in the subprime crisis was made official by the SEC and congressional investigations. The EU authorities and the UK (Gordon Brown) declared that they would carry out due diligence checks on this issue, in cooperation with the US.
Most read in the last 20 days:
- Gold and Gold Stocks – It Gets Even More Interesting
Technical Backdrop If only we could get a dime for every bearish article on gold that has been published over the past two weeks...but one can't have everything. When a market is down 83% like the HUI gold mining index is, we are generally more interested in trying to find out when it might turn around, since it is a good bet that it is “oversold”. Of course, it if makes it to 90% down, it will still be a harrowing experience in the short term. We like these catastrophes because...
- The Greatest Racket of All Time
The Successes of the Global War on Terror One would think that the so-called “Global War on Terror”, which has been given fresh impetus by the Paris attacks, must be going swimmingly. What else could explain the great enthusiasm with which it is pursued? It may be recalled that it started in earnest after the WTC attack – also a declaration of war, as it was put at the time. As is often the case when Islamist fundamentalists strike, the actual attackers immolated themselves on...
- The Long, Cold Winter Ahead
Not Immune Cold winds of deflation gust across the autumn economic landscape. Global trade languishes and commodities rust away like abandoned scrap metal with a visible dusting of frost. The economic optimism that embellished markets heading into 2015 have cooled as the year moves through its final stretch. Photo credit: David Byrne If you recall, the popular storyline since late last year has been that the U.S. economy is moderately improving while the...
- How Do People Destroy Their Capital?
There is no Santa Claus I have written previously about the interest rate, which is falling under the planning of the Federal Reserve. The flip side of falling interest rates is the rising price of bonds. Bonds are in an endless, ferocious bull market. Why do I call it ferocious? Perhaps voracious is a better word, as it is gobbling up capital like the Cookie Monster jamming tollhouses into his maw. There are several mechanisms by which this occurs, let’s look at one...
- Junk Bonds Under Pressure
While the Stock Market is Partying ... There are seemingly always “good reasons” why troubles in a sector of the credit markets are supposed to be ignored – or so people are telling us, every single time. Readers may recall how the developing problems in the sub-prime sector of the mortgage credit market were greeted by officials and countless market observers in the beginning in 2007. Photo credit: Getty Images At first it was assumed that the most highly...
- The Plane Incident in Syria
A Strange Event The topic of the SU-24 Russian plane shot down by Turkey over the weekend in Syria has been discussed all over the media ad nauseam by now, but we want to add a few observations and suggestions of our own. Some have perhaps not received the attention they possibly deserve. Image of Russian jet shortly after it was hit by a Turkish missile. Luckily someone was promptly at hand to make a qualitatively acceptable video of the incident. As is well known, cameramen...
- Angry Belgian Muslims and the Price of Welfare Statism
Ill-Tempered Mohammedans in the Socialist Paradise In the wake of recent revelations about the identities of the morons involved in the horrific Paris attacks (happily, most of them shuffled off the mortal coil as well, thereby improving the aggregate degree of moral clarity and intelligence in the world), a friend pointed us to an article at Unz Review that asks: “Why Does Belgium Have Such Angry Muslims?” Our instinctive, immediate reaction was to argue that the bland, boring...
- Can Investors Trust the New Gold Fixing?
Statistical Analysis of the New Gold Fixing Since 20 March 2015 a new gold price fixing organized by the London Bullion Market Association has been in operation. It has replaced the previous price determination process, which was in place for more than a century and became subject to criticism as it was highly vulnerable to manipulation. Has manipulation now ceased? Gold fixing at N.M. Rothchild and Sons offices in London. The first fixing took place there on 12 September...
- Giant “Green Energy” Boondoggle Flops in Spain
$29 billion Vaporized As is well-known, Spain is one of the countries in the euro area's periphery that has been thoroughly bankrupted by its decision to join the euro area and enjoy an artificial credit expansion-induced boom as its interest rates initially collapsed. This was aided and abetted by the ECB, which sat idly by as the euro area's true money supply exploded into the blue yonder with annualized growth rates ranging from 6% to 18% during the boom years. Tower at...
- US Money Supply Growth Finally Begins to Crack
Breaking Below the Shelf In our recent missive on junk bonds, we inter alia discussed the fact that the growth rate of the narrow money supply aggregate M1 had declined rather noticeably from its peak in 2011. Here is a link to the chart. As we wrote: “We also have confirmation of a tightening monetary backdrop from the narrow money supply aggregate M1, the annualized growth rate of which has been immersed in a relentless downtrend since peaking at nearly 25% in 2011....