One Greek bailout the Germans are happy to pay for

Deutsche Telekom, which is 32% owned by the German government, in turn has a 40% stake in the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization – or OTE as it is generally known in Greece. OTE is down for €4.9 billion of debt…roughly what the Athens Coalition is short of an austerity programme. Or put another way, a great deal of money.

But this is investment, shareholders, profits, dividends, bonuses and business we’re talking here – not citizens. Thus, different rules apply.

It seems DT is about to take over OTE’s Bulgarian business (or so Chief Financial Officer Timotheus Hoettges suggested yesterday). It will probably also lend to OTE from next year onward…in exchange for a whopping pound of flesh collateral, aka shares.

Hoettges said that we in the media “shouldn’t overstate OTE’s financial troubles. Asserting that OTE is up to its neck in debt isn’t based on reality.”

Well, to each man his own reality, that’s what I say. Or as Churchill once remarked about Britain, “Some neck”.

13 thoughts on “One Greek bailout the Germans are happy to pay for

  1. Not sure if this is totally OT, but it is on the other side of the Adriatic. I wonder if one of our favourite left-wing tussies, Ms Polly Twaddle of the Grauniad, is perhaps having problems with her pile in Tuscany?:

    “Italy: Holiday homes subject to expropriation?

    Gerhard Wisnewski

    Whether you are touring in Italy by car or have a holiday home there: even with a low to moderate infringement of the law or state demands there is a risk of expropriation of vehicles or forced mortgages on real estate. Responsible for this is the mafia-like tax collection authority Equitalia.

    Just imagine you are a property owner. Further imagine, you have one day negotiated with your bank for, say, a loan. Unexpectedly, the bank calls you and informs you that there are “difficulties”: A mortgage has been registered on your property. But, you don’t know anything about it. Impossible? Utopia? Not at all – the financial crisis makes it all possible.

    The financial crisis makes it possible.

    We still feel secure at present here in Germany. We still notice relatively little of the € 2.1 trillion national debt. Nor of the additional 400 billion euros in guarantees and sureties to other euro countries either. This is because all of these liabilities, amounting to at least 2.5 trillion euros, have not yet fallen due. At the moment the German government is funding itself in a style similar to the famous rotating plates number in the circus: (…) However,the more plates there are, the harder it is – until eventually the first plate falls off and crashes.

    In real life, the plates are German government bonds. Currently, they can be kept in motion by constantly rolling over and issuing new government bonds and other debt securities. But watch out when this trick no longer functions. And take cover when the guarantees and sureties for the other euro countries become due. Because then it is payday, and the state will acquire the money it needs from somewhere. And where? Why, the citizens of course. How it works is shown by the example of Italy.

    ‘Inland Revenue Brutal’

    There, the state has long-since abandoned constitutional actions. And that applies not only to Italians themselves, but to anyone who is travelling in the country or has property there. In the centre of the action is the state collection agency Equitalia – a sort of ‘Inland Revenue Brutal’. “Equitalia had registered a mortgage on my house. For over a year I knew absolutely nothing about it,” said the well-known constitutional lawyer and journalist Professor Michele Ainis in the BR broadcast ‘Radio Patrol’ on 5 August 2012. “I only learnt about it by chance, because I had been negotiating with my bank over something else. One day an employee at the bank called and told me, `Herr Professor, we have a spot of difficulty here, because your house has a registered mortgage on it. A mortgage to the benefit of Equitalia.´ The man was ‘totally flabbergasted´, it said in the broadcast. Only in the following weeks and months did he get to know about the `shadowy realm of Equitalia´. “Hours of queuing in overcrowded waiting rooms. Counters which close again at eleven clock in the morning. In the corridors, security guards and police officers. Before the building, the military.”

    War against the citizen

    Because, in the crisis country Italy, which is ruled by a Bilderberger and Goldman Sachs adviser, the war against its citizens has already begun. And this war does not just affect Italians. Firstly, because it will eventually also come to us. Secondly, because, of course, many thousands of Germans already own property in Italy, on which a mortgage may have already been registered. And thirdly, because many German are travelling in Italy as tourists and motorists. A speeding infringement of eleven kms an hour (ca. 7 mph) on the motorway rapidly costs 160 €. Those who do not pay within 60 days, they can shell out the double: 320 €. Anyone driving and making a telephone call without a hands-free phone: 155 €. Letting the engine run while stood still: 200 to 400 €. Picking up a prostitute: 40 days withdrawal of the vehicle and up to 2,000 €. But life can get much harder. Another example from the enlightening transmission: with a blood alcohol level of more than 1.5 per mille, the state can even expropriate the vehicle. True, drinking and driving is a deadly danger. But firstly, here the principle of proportionality is being violated, so that a drive after drinking alcohol can, depending on the value of the car, cost 10,000, 50,000 or even 100,000 €. And secondly, the principles of a prohibition of arbitrariness and equal treatment are also being flouted, because one and the same offense can, depending on the value of the vehicle, cost almost nothing or tens of thousands of dollars.

    State-sanctioned theft

    Whether an Italian or a foreigner, the Italian State couldn’t care less. Also, the German automobile club ADAC knows of “some cases from circles of our members, who have been handled in this way. The vehicle is confiscated, it is then sold at a compulsory auction and you, as the owner, do not have the possibility to buy the vehicle back.” Truthfully, this is nothing more than officially sanctioned theft. “One becomes the firm suspicion that the Italian authorities are targetting vehicles,” said the radio contribution.

    In the case of unpaid demands, the collection agency Equitalia is merciless. And unpaid demands crop up quickly in Italy. Above all, because of the miserable postal system. After endless visits to the authorities, the professor with the forced mortgage learned that the State demanded 3,000 euros from him, which was composed of about ten claims for parking offences or other unpaid bills. “Actually, some of the demands for payment had not reached me,” claimed the professor in the programme. And even if paid – punctual payment often does not help if the payment is simply ignored by the authorities. Because some of the claims had long since been settled by the professor. “Had Michele Ainis not engaged a lawyer and filed suit against Equitalia, his house would sooner or later have been written over to the debt collection company and then auctioned off,” said the radio show about “the struggle of the state against its own people”. During the past couple of years Equitalia has registered about half a million mortgages on real estate.

    Are you already being threatened by an expropriation?

    Does it all ring a bell with you? For many Germans in particular, the recent reintroduction of property tax in Italy is “a ticking time bomb”. Without knowing it, they could already have become tax-debtors. It could be, “that in Equitalia one or the other higher official is already rubbing his hands.” After all, the German holiday homes are often in the best locations, such as in Tuscany or by Lake Garda. Or you have perhaps not paid a minor fine. Caution: you may already be under the threat of expropriation.

    That with this game the objective is not “the solidary repayment of state debt”, instead it is about redistribution towards criminal elites, can be easily proved. Thus there was an internal instruction issued at Equitalia that, in regard to the three largest political parties in Rome, they were “not to proceed, even though they owe large sums to the treasury.” So, while ordinary citizens can have their house and home taken off of them for debts of a few hundred or thousand euros, the political negative-elites have absolutely nothing to fear.

    And what have you – apart from this worthy exception – learnt about this in our media? The result of a quick search with the keyword “Equitalia” in Google News: No hits. No returns. Only at Zeit-Online can one find a report. However, it is not so much about the plundered citizens as much more about the poor Equitalia employees, who have “a dangerous job”. “Unknown persons threw Molotov cocktails at an Equitalia branch in Tuscany. In Rome, a letter bomb injured an employee. Eggs, bottles and stones were thrown against the front door of another office. A group of left-wing anarchists has called for violence, but ordinary citizens are also protesting in their hundreds ” The conclusion of Zeit: “On the pillory are, of all people, the ones trying to balance the budgets – to cut and to save, or, like Equitalia, wanting to collect more taxes.” With that you can well imagine what attitude our media in this country will adopt in such an emergency.”

    For Sloggers with longer memories, I submitted a piece about expropriations/confiscations, but with a German bent, to this blog entry: its about two-thirds of the way down.

    Could it be that the ideas/suggestions of the Boston Consulting Group are now having an experimental phase in Italy, prior to general application throught the Eurozone?


  2. @ VJ
    Hans-Paul Bürkner (*1952 in Varel, Germany) has been President and CEO of The Boston Consulting Group since 2003. He began his career in corporate finance at Commerzbank and joined BCG, then predominantly a US consulting firm, in 1981. He was a member of the team that opened BCG’s Düsseldorf (1982) and Frankfurt (1991) offices. Before becoming the firm’s first CEO from Europe, he was head of BCG’s global Financial Services practice and was a Senior Vice President in the firm.

    Bürkner has studied numerous subjects, including economics, business administration, and Chinese, at various universities. He has received a diploma from the University of Bochum, an M.A. from Yale University, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford between 1978 and 1981, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

    Today he is based in both Frankfurt and New York, and travels extensively among BCG’s 74 offices around the world.

    The people have already had enough – and any more of this CRACKPOT SOCIALIST NONSENSE will signal the start of hand to hand combat in the streets.


  3. Polly Twaddle …. LOL
    The archetype hypocrite.

    The Internet is invaluable for compiling a list of names that may be required at a future date. What kind of a life is it when one is forever looking over one’s shoulder?


  4. A very nice life if you are on Lake Guardia surrounded by guards,whose families are probably scraping a living.At the moment the “guards”are the target,wait until Google is put to its real usefulness,tracking the elite.


  5. Yer, likes beddiebiies. Trolls go bed. Wot cage do yer sliep in den? If yer is on the top den yer dont gets wet from uvvers.


  6. I believe that expropriation has already been spoken of in the Bundestag, some time last year I recall.
    Yes, I think that it’s coming, similar to The Gold Confiscation Of April 5, 1933 by the US. That could come about again IMHO, well in Europe anyway. When the price is right I am going to sell all my gold, I have no intention of giving those greedy scumbags a penny more than I have to.


  7. In real life, the plates are German government bonds. Currently, they can be kept in motion by constantly rolling over and issuing new government bonds and other debt securities. But watch out when this trick no longer functions.

    Germany believes in earning money, not printing it. Since they can earn money by exporting, that is not such a bad idea. There are problems: other countries think otherwise and think borrowing it is much more fun. The other side to your comment is that this scenario is also true for any country currently printing their way out of trouble. They too will find life hard when reality comes knocking at their doors.

    The big problem for the Eurozone is that the members were expected to export as much as the Germans. That is no easy thing with the likes of China about the place. Competitiveness is not an easy thing to do, especially if there is cheap money sloshing around in the system. Thanks a bundle, America!

    As to tax collecting – this again is a problem in the Eurozone: there are countries who do collect taxes (I need not tell you which ones) and countries who do not (again, you need no telling!). That is part of the problem here and emergency measures such as the BCG have dreamt up need to be put in place simply because nothing else works.

    In short, any sensible economist would have looked at these sorts of things when choosing to set the system up. Not ten years after its inception.


  8. Well caveat emptor if you buy property in foreign countries. The Brits already got their fingers burnt in Spain, which is one of the reasons there is no market for Spanish property anymore.

    You get a big fine for picking up hookers in Italy because it was rife in Italy before the crackdown. the Via Navarra in Milan was notorious for naked TS running around showing their plastics tits. It really was a bit of a disgrace.

    Drink driving was another serious problem in Italy. Can’t say a big crackdown on that in Italy is not overdue, but in my experience the police don’t take it very seriously.


  9. It works both ways – It helps US to make a list of those responsible and when KFC gets his back-order of Piano Wire fulfilled then we can have a hanging party, no shortage of candidates or lamposts :-)


  10. I would love to see the German export stats for the last 10 years. Who exactly was it that bought the fruits of Teutonic labour? Nuff said.


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