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16 Δεκ 2015

The stealing of the Greek banks

By Dr. Anastassios Retzios, 

Occasionally, I wonder why I try.  There is no easy answer to this, as most of you do not seem to care.  In that context, many of you are not really different from the vast majority of the Greek populace which is absolutely numb currently, apathetic, and totally demoralized.  Greeks do not do well in defeat; it is a kind of cultural thing.  But to those who have not lost all will to fight, I want to remind them of the famous saying by Winston Churchill: In war: Resolution, In defeat: Defiance,In victory: Magnanimity,In peace: Good will. With this preamble, I would like to discuss now the biggest crime committed since the signing of the memorandum; there were many others, but this is certainly the worse.  And what makes it all that more painful is that none of you even know about it or even care.  Maybe I am wrong, but, somehow, I do not think so.

I will not go into the details of the criminal activities of members of the current government (which would go unpunished, at least for the time being).  I will only highlight the extent of the crime.

(a)   The Greek public lost €24.5 billion, or about 98% of its investment in the banks while it must still provide these banks with an additional €10 billion.  Thus, the overall losses are 140% of investment in current prices (and we do not even discuss here the massive losses of the state in 1st and 2nd recapitalizations)
(b)   A few foreign investment funds got full control of all 4 Greek banks (National, Piraeos, Alpha, and Eurobank) for the laughable sum of €4.4 billion
(c)    The share prices of these banks in the Athens stock exchange were destroyed
a.      National Bank: From €4.29 to €0.02!!
b.     Piraeos: From €1.7 to €0.003
c.      Alpha: From €0.44 to €0.04
d.     Eurobank: From €1.54 to €0.01
(d)   The state share of the banks stock decline precipitously (because of the millions of worthless shares issued, the diluted current holders)
a.      National Bank: From 57.25% to 33%
b.     Piraeos: From 67% to 22%
c.      Alpha: From 66.3% to 11%
d.     Eurobank: From 35.4% to 2%

In other words, all the money that the Greek public has put in these banks has disappeared.  Private investors including Greek pension funds “took a bath”. 

Without your outrage, nobody is going to pay for this crime.  Key suspects: the prime minister and key ministers of the current government

And now, for the frightening scenario: These banks that have slipped out of Greek control to Wall Street vulture investment funds now hold €100 billion in non-performing (red) loans. With the control of these banks in foreign hands for a laughable sum (just petty cash in Wall Street terms), these loans will be auctioned for a tiny percentage of their nominal value. 

The “die Welt” yesterday stated in an editorial that “Greece lacks a government”.  I say that the country fully gets what it deserves. 


Anastassios Retzios, PhD
San Ramon, California