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”.