So sorrymäßig es mir auch leidtut, die guten EU-Polit-Infos kommen immer von den Grünen, speziell von Sven Giegold, und nicht von den Humanisten. Diesmal (30.3.) geht es um die Fragen des Journalisten Harald Schumann, der "die Institutionen" (vormals Troika – das abgebildete OpenClips-Bild liefert pixabay bei der Suche nach Troika) mit unbequemen Fragen konfrontierte: Warum wurden die zypriotischen Banken beim Verkauf ihrer griechischen Zweige um 2 Mrd. Euros betrogen? Warum wurden bei der portugiesische BPN Geld gewaschen und Staatshilfen von Privat abkassiert? Warum wurden die vom Staat rekapitalisierten griechischen Banken zu Ramschpreisen an Investoren verkauft? Das Skandalpotential dahinter ist enorm; gewöhnungsbedürftig ist allenfalls das vorangestellte ? bei den Euro-Angaben. Ob das ? als Anzeige für die Fragwürdigkeit des Euros gelten soll, wird aber nicht überliefert. Sven Giegold:
Der Journalist Harald Schumann hat mit seinem Film über die Troika wieder ein starkes Stück investigativen Journalismus abgelegt (Harald Schumann On The Trail). Im Zuge der Recherchen haben EZB und EU-Kommission die Beantwortung seiner Fragen verweigert. Die EU-Kommission hatte ihm die Antworten sogar zweimal zugesagt und dann doch der Mut verlassen.
Nachdem er im Film die Verweigerung der Antworten beklagte, habe ich Harald Schumann angerufen und nun seine Fragen als schriftliche Abgeordneten-Fragen eingereicht. Dabei habe ich mein Kontingent für elektronisch einreichbare Fragen überschritten und musste – heilige Bürokratia! – die Fragen persönlich einreichen, was ich mit Vergnügen gemacht habe.
Hier dokumentiere ich die Fragen und bin nun gespannt auf die Antworten!
As a condition for the emergency loans given by the ESM and the IMF to Cyprus in March 2013 the Cypriot banks were forced to sell their Greek branches to the Greek bank Piraeus. In order to agree a price representatives of the Cypriot and the Greek governments and Central Banks and the two delegations of the Troika met in Athens on March 11th. But they could not agree. The matter was then taken over by the GD Competition whose officials prepared a term sheet on the deal. This was presented in the Eurogroup to the Cypriot government which was given no choice but to accept it.
According to our sources in this term sheet the DG Competition set an extremely low price at only about a fifth of the net asset value of the Greek branches of the Cypriot banks. As a consequence the Piraeus bank had to pay the Cypriot banks only ? 524 Million for their Greek business while the GD Competitions experts themselves had calculated the value (assets minus liabilities) even after a hefty discount for future possible losses according to an adverse scenario developed by the advisor Pimco at ? 2,45 billion.
- Why did the GD competition set the price so low and by this favor the Greek buyer?
- One reason for the low price set in the Commission's term sheet was that the vendor had to pay the buyer part of the regulatory capital needed for the increase in assets on the side of the buying bank. How did the GD competition legitimize such an unusual approach?
- Being forced to sell the Greek branches at such a low price the Bank of Cyprus was forced to turn potential losses of ? 2 billion in realized losses. Only by this the bank became insolvent and was taken in dissolution and its depositors were made to pay via a bail-in. Why did the DG competition not try to avoid this outcome by proposing another solution, for example a simple ring-fencing of the Greek branches or at least a fairer price for the sale?
- The forced sale at the price set by the EU commission transferred a huge amount of wealth from Cyprus to the Greek bank Piraeus. Piraeus was according to its balance sheet insolvent at the time. But after the acquisition of the Greek branches of the Cypriot banks it reported an increase in equity of ? 3,4 billion as consequence of a the negative good-will accounted for this acquisition. Why did the GD competition allow this to happen? Has it not been a forbidden state aid, if only paid by Cypriot bank's depositors?
- (=4a) According to undisputed reports by Reuters and the New York Times Michalis Sallas, the former CEO and current chairman of Piraeus group had borrowed from the Cypriot Laiki bank via offshore companies formally owned by his children more than ? 100 Million, which according to investigations undertaken by auditors in Cyprus had not been paid back until Piraeus bought Laiki's business in Greece.How did the GD Competition make sure that Mr. Sallas did not personally benefit from the acquisition of Laikis business in Greece?
In 2008 the Portuguese state nationalized the Bank BPN. After having transferred all of the banks loss making assets to "bad banks" the Portuguese government in March 2012 sold the bank to the Portuguese branch of the Angolan bank BIC at a price of only ? 40 million. But just before this sale the Portuguese state had injected another ? 600 million in the bank, and by this lifted the Tier 1 capital ratio of the bank to 16% of its risk weighted assets. And additionally the Portuguese state took the obligation to compensate the buyer for all losses, which might result from differences between the interest rate the old BPN had agreed with long term depositors and the actual market rate, a subsidy which had cost only in the first half of 2013 ? 8 million.
- (5.) Why did the GD competition allow such a huge amount of state aid to a private bank without conditions for the buyer to compensate for this distortion of competition?
- (6.) The main shareholder of the buying bank BIC is the daughter of the Angolan dictator dos Santos. Dos Santos and his family are known to have stolen state money for their personal business and laundering their illicit money with their enterprises including the bank BIC. Did the GD competition investigate this?
- (6a.) What did the GD competition do to avoid that state aid is given to a bank which is suspected to be involved in money laundering?
As a consequence of the PSI the Greek banking system was broken. So the Greek state had to borrow ? 50 billion in order to recapitalize the Greek banks. By injecting nearly ? 40 billion so far the Greek state became the owner of the 4 remaining banks. But at the same time, the Greek state was obliged to re-privatize the banks within three years. The consequence is that the banks are sold at bargain prices way below the price the state had to pay and by this imposes high losses for the Greek state coffers.
- (7.) Why the Greek state was not allowed to follow the American model and stick with the banks until they can be sold at a profit for the tax payer?
- (8.) In April 2014 the Euro bank after having been recapitalised by the Greek state with more than ? 6 billion Euros issued new shares in order to cover a capital need of another ? 2,8 billion. These were sold to American and Canadian investors, among them the Fairfax and WRL for 30 Cents per share while the state had paid ? 1.54 per share. As a consequence that states share of the bank will not only be diluted from 96 to less than 35 percent. At the same time the transaction also produces a loss for the Greek state of 2/3 of its investment. Why did the GD competition allow this indirect state aid for foreign buyers of a state owned bank?
PS: Die Fragen an die EZB werden folgen.