The Troika’s Policy in Greece: Rob the Greek people and give the money to private banks, the ECB, the IMF and the dominant States of the Eurozone
On 20 August 2018, the Greek government of Alexis Tsipras, the IMF and the European leaders celebrated the end of the Third Memorandum.
On this occasion, the major media and those in power spread the following message: Greece has regained its freedom, its economy is improving, unemployment is on the decline, Europe has lent Greece 300 billion and the Greeks will have to start repaying that debt in 2022 or in 2032.
The main claims are completely unfounded as Greece remains under the control of its creditors. In compliance with the accords that the Alexis Tsipras government signed, the country must imperatively achieve a primary budgetary surplus of 3.5% which will force it to continue brutal policies of reduction of public spending in the social sector and in investment. Contrary to the dominant message that Greece will not begin to repay its debt until some time in the future, it should be clearly understood that Greece has been repaying considerable amounts constantly all along to the ECB, the IMF and to private creditors, and this prevents it from responding to the needs of its population.
by Eric Toussaint
Part 18 - Disastrous results of the Fund for recapitalizing Greek banks (the Hellenic Fund for Financial Stability)
The Hellenic Fund for Financial Stability is in charge of recapitalizing banks. It was set up in 2010 to guarantee the stability of the Greek banking system. Among other missions it is expected to provide credit institutions with capital, to monitor and supervise the implementation of restructuring plans proposed by credit institutions that benefited from the Fund’s resources, as well as to facilitate the management of non-performing loans.
The results are disastrous for the Greek people. It has not cleansed the Greek banking sector. The tens of billions of euros that were injected onto Greek private banks increased the burden of the Greek debt and made major private shareholders much richer.
The Board of the recapitalization fund for Greek banks:
The case of Anastasia Sakellariou, general director of the HFFS from 2013 to 2015, is quite emblematic. In May 2015, Sakellariou was told by the Greek government to quit her position since she was charged with fraud and money laundering, along with 25 other former executives of the Hellenic Post Bank. Charges against Anastasia Sakellariou are related to the approval, in 2012, of a loan that made it possible to extend two of the bank’s credit lines to a famous local tycoon. Yet instead of demanding her dismissal until the end of the enquiry, the director of the Bank of Greece, Yannis Stournaras, and the board of the HFFS supported Sakellariou.
Among the members of the General Council of the Financial Stability Fund as set up by the Troika in 2010, we can find, as late as April 2016, (http://www.hfsf.gr/files/announcement_20160418_en.pdf) Pierre Mariani, who shares responsibility for the failure of the bank Dexia and the resulting financial disaster. This Belgian-French-Luxembourg bank has had to be bailed out on three separate occasions by the Belgian, French and Luxembourg authorities. The heavy losses posted by Dexia between 2008 and 2012 did not prevent Mr. Mariani from ensuring he was granted substantial increases in his emoluments. Even so the ECB saw no problem with appointing him to be one of the directors of the Financial Stability Fund in charge of recapitalizing the Greek banks.
It is downright outrageous that someone who is largely responsible for the disaster of a major bank like Dexia be appointed to head the entity in charge of managing the recapitalization of the Greek banks.
Dexia sold billions of euros’ worth of toxic loans to French public bodies and its failure had a highly damaging impact on public finances in Belgium, France and Luxembourg. Is it prudent to continue to trust Pierre Mariani? When Dexia was bailed out by the Belgian government, Pierre Mariani was forced to leave on account of his catastrophic management; and yet he walked away with a million-euro “golden parachute.” For the year 2012, Dexia paid him €1.7 million. Now he shows his nose in Greece to participate in cleaning up the Greek banks.
Among the other members of the Fund’s General Council is Wouter Devriendt. This adviser to Belgium in banking matters has held important posts at two banks which had to be bailed out in 2008: Fortis, rescued by the Belgian government and re-sold to BNP Paribas, and ABN-Amro, nationalized by the Dutch government. Like Pierre Mariani, Wouter Devriendt is one of the people who are responsible for the banking crisis in Europe.
It would be a shame to conclude this assessment of the membership of the General Council of the HFSF without mentioning Steven Franck, who held high positions at the North American bank Morgan Stanley, then at BNP Paribas between 2006 and 2009 – during the period when that bank was actively contributing to the creation of a private-credit speculative bubble in Greece and becoming entangled in the subprime and structured-products market in the US. Note also that Steven Franck has also worked for the US President at the White House and served in US naval aviation.
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