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Reply #15: Wall St. Helped Greece to Mask Debt Fueling Europe’s Crisis [View All]

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tpsbmam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-14-10 08:20 AM
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15. Wall St. Helped Greece to Mask Debt Fueling Europe’s Crisis
Source: NY Times

Wall Street tactics akin to the ones that fostered subprime mortgages in America have worsened the financial crisis shaking Greece and undermining the euro by enabling European governments to hide their mounting debts.

As worries over Greece rattle world markets, records and interviews show that with Wall Street’s help, the nation engaged in a decade-long effort to skirt European debt limits. One deal created by Goldman Sachs helped obscure billions in debt from the budget overseers in Brussels.

Even as the crisis was nearing the flashpoint, banks were searching for ways to help Greece forestall the day of reckoning. In early November — three months before Athens became the epicenter of global financial anxiety — a team from Goldman Sachs arrived in the ancient city with a very modern proposition for a government struggling to pay its bills, according to two people who were briefed on the meeting.

The bankers, led by Goldman’s president, Gary D. Cohn, held out a financing instrument that would have pushed debt from Greece’s health care system far into the future, much as when strapped homeowners take out second mortgages to pay off their credit cards.

It had worked before. In 2001, just after Greece was admitted to Europe’s monetary union, Goldman helped the government quietly borrow billions, people familiar with the transaction said. That deal, hidden from public view because it was treated as a currency trade rather than a loan, helped Athens to meet Europe’s deficit rules while continuing to spend beyond its means.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/business/global/14deb...



I'm speechless at this point. It just never ends -- is the US now destined to not only bring its own downfall but that of countries it's enveloped in our boundless greed, corruption, shortsightedness & stupidity? Look at what the enrichment of a few in the US has done and is doing to the world. I want to love my country, but it's pretty tough these days.
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