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Saturday, November 5, 2016

Death Of An Oligarch

Aged only 63, Andreas Vgenopoulos, the principal behind the Marfin Group, died earlier today. The question now is how many enterprises will cease to exist in the wake of his death.

A couple of years ago, I spent quite a bit of time researching the activities of the Marfin Group, the group's dealings with its principal bank (Piraeus) and the dealings of important Greek businessmen who were directly or indirectly associated with Mr. Vgenopoulos (such as George Provopoulos, the former governor of the Bank of Greece).

It often happens that large business groups which have the characteristics of a house of cards are held together only by the presence of an almighty founder, the person who can hold the group together by his sheer presence. In the presence of such a 'leader', all others become followers. If the 'leader' is a crook, the followers become accomplices. None of them has the courage to stand up and be counted.

When such a 'leader' suddenly disappears (sometimes because he has to go to jail), all hell can break loose. Suddenly, all the former followers find the courage to report about all the bad things which have been going on and which they always knew would drive the group into the ground. The classic Saul-Paul conversion.

The only trouble with the Marfin Group is that the skeletons which may come out from its closets could be rather huge, so huge that there could be consequences and threats to stability for other areas. Marfin and Piraeus Bank recorded transactions where the outside observer can only marvel how they came about (like the 3,4 BEUR profit which Piraeus took on the purchase of Greek branches of Cypriot banks). There seem to have been quite a few 'quid's'. The questions will be what were the 'quo's' and who received them.

12 comments:

  1. So now Troika is interested in auctioning off the Marfin group too? Is Troika is also interested in sniffing the underwear of all Greeks? Because for a small fee I could arrange such.

    But let's agree on something: Vgenopoulos met the final solution. 10 more million Greeks to go and Troika could be finally happy.

    I hear the next crisis for incompetent europe is the Italian referendum on December 4th. This would make Brexit look as mild case of indigestion.

    Within the next year the EU house of cards would finally begin to disentigrate rapidly and we will pop up the champagne corks to celebrate.

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    1. Quote: "Within the next year the EU house of cards would finally begin to disentigrate rapidly and we will pop up the champagne corks to celebrate."

      Will that be the day the Greeks will start to care for themselves and stop to ask other nations for money?

      Urs

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    2. Urs:

      Why would we ever do this? Stop ask cheap money from europeans who have all kinds of different problems to hide and therefore they need diversions pretending to be lenders when in fact they are destroyers of everything decent in this world and love to lend because this hides their crooked nature?

      Make sure you keep lending until I give the "enough" signal.


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    3. Quote: "Why would we ever do this?"

      Because after you have "popped up the champagne corks to celebrate" you may notice that you not only party the desintigration of the EU house of cards but unfortunately the derailment of the gravy train from Brussels. Tough luck, Greeks.
      Urs

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    4. Urs:

      There is no gravy train from Brussels; only a sour train. We would gradly depart from the meager funds to see the rest of europe sink. A very small price to pay for big satisfaction.

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  2. Irrate Irish consider IREXIT:

    "A Freedom of Information request by an Irish councillor revealed the nation’s contribution will rise by almost 25 per cent by 2021.

    Councillor James Charity of Galway County Council believes the shocking figures, provided by the Department of Finance (DoF) and exclusively seen by Express.co.uk, show the country must urgently assess whether it would be better off following the UK’s lead and quitting the bloc.

    The figures show Ireland’s EU budget contribution has grown rapidly from €1.529bn in 2006 to €1.952bn last year, and is set to further grow.

    Estimates put forward by Irish ministers show the contribution will continue to expand, from €2.075bn this year to an eye-watering €2.425bn in 2021.....

    Cllr Charity concluded: “As huge demands are now placed on Irish taxpayers to fund the EU’s plans for expansion, it’s clear that the European Union is perhaps the largest ponzi scheme that has ever existed.

    “With its disdain for the democratic process, over-bureaucratic, and indeed increasingly autocratic, approach, together with the reality that Ireland does not in fact receive any direct funds from the EU Budget, but rather is funding its expansionist movement towards an enlarged Federal Europe and a system of tax harmonisation designed to promote the interests of mainland European States, we should be prepared to discuss the pros and cons of our own continued membership of the EU in Ireland.”"

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  3. @ Kleingut:

    According to Wikipedia MIG lost already 95% of it’s value. But you can not only lose money with Greek banks or Investment Funds. Here is a story how you can lose it with Swiss banks:

    http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/verschwundener-goldschatz-wie-ein-unternehmer-40-millionen-euro-verloren-hat-a-1119866.html

    Urs

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  4. Parallels are often made between the Brexit referendum and Italy’s referendum. Some supporters of the Yes camp, for example, insist that a No vote would have negative economic consequences for Italy, like Brexit for the UK (and there is rather a lot of scaremongering in mainstream Italian media these days). However, while it is easy to see why leaving the EU or the European single market would have an impact on the British economy, it is not clear at all why refusing to concede so much power to the executive should have negative economic consequences.

    As we have seen, a well-established theoretical and empirical literature would instead suggest that excessive executive power is typically associated with worse, not better, economic outcomes. It is true that a No vote could trigger a government resignation and that a general election could follow but, again, why an election should have a negative effect on the Italian economy, beyond the very short term, remains a mystery.

    Much like in the EU referendum, where the views of foreign leaders were one-sided against Brexit, most EU leaders (and President Obama) have come out in support of Renzi’s constitutional reform. It is clear why foreign leaders may want to voice their support for keeping the EU single-market intact, since their own interest is at stake. It is entirely legitimate to ask your trading partner not to leave, even if you acknowledge that it is their choice. But it is much less clear why foreign leaders should be interested in the way Italians pass their laws.

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    1. Quote: "it is not clear at all why refusing to concede so much power to the executive should have negative economic consequences."

      A yes vote would not concede excessive power to the the executive in Italy. It would rather establish manageable executive structures in Italy for the first time since 1945.

      Quote: "As we have seen, a well-established theoretical and empirical literature would instead suggest that excessive executive power is typically associated with worse, not better, economic outcomes."

      Singapore, South Korea.

      Quote: "But it is much less clear why foreign leaders should be interested in the way Italians pass their laws."

      Because Italy is still the 3rd. largest economy in the EU yet in deep trouble because much needed reforms were not executed not at least because of the way Italiens pass their laws.
      Urs

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    2. Urs:

      If it is as you say then the only small item remaining is convincing the Italians themselves about the merits of your position. And by all counts such vote is already lost. So what is your Plan B?

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    3. Quote: "If it is as you say then the only small item remaining is convincing the Italians themselves about the merits of your position."

      If it is as I say it would be in the Italiens own self-interest to vote yes.

      Quote: "And by all counts such vote is already lost. So what is your Plan B?"

      I don’t need a plan B. The question is, what will the Italiens do, if they can not get their economy running.
      Urs

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    4. Urs:

      I am not sure what the Italiens would do; on the other hand I almost certain that the Italians would kick Brussels in the butt by voting a deciding No on their referendum.

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