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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 12 - The French private banks hid their losses resulting from the fiasco of their expansion into Greece from the public - There was an alternative to the Troika scenario

The French bankers also made sure not to attract public attention to the losses they suffered in Greece due to their adventure with the private debt bubble, which they actively contributed to creating.

Société Générale, for example, lost €7 billion with the Greek bank Geniki, which it had purchased in 2004… and then re-sold for a symbolic one euro to the Piraeus bank… Who heard about it? What major French newspapers headlined it? Not one. But everyone read all about the 4.5-billion-euro loss for which Société Générale’s trader Jérôme Kerviel was supposedly solely responsible. And of course everyone also heard about the problems Greece was supposedly causing for the French banks and France’s population…

On 17 October 2012, the French bank Crédit Agricole sold off Emporiki’s total capital to Alpha Bank for a symbolic euro. The Emporiki adventure cost Crédit Agricole over €10 billion. But it should be pointed out that the cost of those losses was ultimately borne by the personnel of the banks through massive job cuts. Did anyone hear about that?

The ECB, then, purchased Greek securities for a total of €56.5 billion in 2010-2012. Officially, this was done to come to Greece’s aid. In reality, the ECB was pursuing a different goal.

From whom did it purchase the Greek securities? Answer: BNP Paribas, Société Générale, BPCE, Crédit Agricole, ING, Hypo Real, Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank, Dexia, etc. Why did it make these mass purchases? To prevent the private banks from taking even bigger losses should the price of the securities drop too low due to a lack of massive buying. So the ECB alone bought €56.5 billion worth, whereas the Eurozone banks in question together held a maximum of between 70 and 80 billion at the start of 2010.

If the ECB had not purchased them from the big private banks, the Greek securities would have had to sell for 15% or even 10% of their value.

As a matter of fact, in such a context, if the Papandreou government had shown a modicum of courage in defending the interests of the population, it would have declared a suspension of repayment of the debt and conducted an audit. That is what Ecuador did in 2009. Its declaration of suspension of payment threw a scare into the bankers in New York and they began to sell off Ecuador’s government bonds at cut-rate prices. At one point they were selling for 20% (or less) of their value. Ecuador then entered into an agreement with Banque Lazard under which the latter purchased the securities at the lowest possible price. Then, Ecuador bought them back after having issued an official buy-back offer on all the securities. Defending the interests of the population against the sharks of the financial world takes guts. Ecuador did it by playing one of those financial sharks, Banque Lazard, against the other sharks, and it worked out very well. Conversely, in the case of the Greece, Lazard played against Greece and participated in preparing the restructuring of the debt in 2012, which had a crushing impact on the population and earned a juicy commission for Lazard.

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