STOURNARAS Bank of Greece SCANDAL: An example of the drivel he sponsors

dixonDixon…recipient of Stournaras bollocks

What a profoundly bent load of old crap the New York Times has become

Yesterday I posted – based on very sound Athens sources – the story that Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras had been caught red-handed briefing a senior journalist about how to disseminate negative-spin bollocks about Greece’s fiscal and Troika negotiation positions.

Today there have been frantic attempts to play down the story, with Stournaras himself denying it. But the fact remains that finance ministry, Syriza and other well-connected sources all had the same story without collusion: Stournaras’s involvement in spreading mendaciously negative fictions to both Greek National and international media, with the documentation to prove it.

One of the global media outlets I fingered specifically was Reuters. Reuters ‘Journalist’ Hugo Dixon has posted a number of ill-informed and downright spuriously negative stories about Syriza. Yesterday, his column popped up at the New York Times, renowned publisher of desk-bound European stories it usually fails to check. It is, let’s not beat about the bush, a disgracefully biased and almost entirely fictitious account of the Athens Government’s past and current situation.

Some extracts will suffice to illustrate:

‘When Mr. Tsipras took office in January, he seemed to have thought he could extract more cash from his creditors as well as secure relief on Athens’s debts without undertaking serious reforms. This was pie in the sky’.

Varoufakis went out of his way to say that Syriza DID NOT want any further money…just breathing space to restructure and stimulate the economy.

‘The government also didn’t initially factor into its calculations how badly the economy would be damaged by months of political uncertainty and a liquidity crisis. In November, the European Commission was predicting growth of 2.9 percent this year. Last week, it cut that to 0.5 percent, and even that could prove optimistic.’

The bare-faced invention in that paragraph beggars belief. Every single EC forecast for Greece has proven to be utterly wrong and devoid of reality. The idea that two months of Syriza government have substantively changed anything is complete rubbish: worse, it is bending the truth out of any recognisable shape.

‘Given such a gloomy prognosis, it is important to examine alternatives. There are two: default and leave the euro, or default and stay in the single currency.’

I do not know how many more times I need to call out this lie, but for one more time at least: there is no such choice. Greece cannot leave the euro…no mechanism exists. Dixon is an international economics journalist and he doesn’t understand that? Don’t make me laugh.

‘Mr. Tsipras hopes he can persuade his eurozone creditors to lend Greece some cash in the next few weeks to stave off bankruptcy. But that will only be possible if he crosses his own red lines on matters like pensions, labor laws and value-added taxes.’

I mean, really. That is bogstandard Troika/eurogroupe bombast: it could’ve been dictated word for word by Schäuble and Draghi.

There are journalists in this world trying to tell the truth. There are even bankers in this world trying to do the best for their citizens. Dixon and Stournaras are clearly neither: they are whores, peddling the arse-covering, save-our-beloved-euro bilge ad nauseam. And the BoG destabilisation scandal is not going away. The sooner both these spineless Ministers of Truth are jobless the better the world will be.

All that said, Stournaras remains this morning, inexplicably, in his job. Who or what has brought pressure on Syriza to save this traitor’s neck?

Stay tuned.

Last night at The Slog: Drama in the Garden

13 thoughts on “STOURNARAS Bank of Greece SCANDAL: An example of the drivel he sponsors

  1. ‘Who or what has brought pressure on Syriza to save this traitor’s neck?’
    Washington or the Fed, actually not much to choose between them. Make your own minds up.


  2. Cyprus is in the same boat. But as I understand it, the Central Bank is an independent body and the Government and cannot literally ‘fire its Governor’ – as stated in your previous headline.

    What the Government can do is to drag up enough dirt to make their position untenable, but whether they step down or not is another thing. The Cyprus Governor is similarly accused of a ‘conflict of interests’ and there is also a scandal of alleged blackmail.

    The spat between the President and the Central Bank has been going on since the bail-in. As you know, the Central Bank is charged with overseeing local banks, something it singularly failed to do in the case of the Laiki bust, which triggered the Eurogroup’s trashing of Cyprus. The Governor’s ex-husband is defending the former Chairman of Laiki and Draghi has been protecting the Central Bank.

    These people are very difficult to shift.


  3. The Eurozone Central Bank governors serve two masters – the ECB and the nation state. They are appointed by the nation states, not the ECB, but of course with ECB approval. Therefore the governments have the power to ask for a resignation.

    In Cyprus’ case I suggest that it is because Anastassiades is PM of a right wing party (there have been plenty of issues with Anastassiades & cronies!) rather like Greece under the right wing Samaras coalition. There may be serious wear & tear between his government & BoC but essentially they are on the same side.

    Most likely in both cases there is a lot of pressure behind the scenes from the ECB – SYRIZA has in some ways a freer hand in through having no crony interests to protect and perhaps, eventually, a willingness to throw in the towel.


  4. John, we have an expression in Greece of which i don’t know the English equivalent, so i will try to translate directly.

    “walking naked in the cucumber field”

    That’s Syriza unfortunately, and the whole country following

    Kind regards

    Nick Markakis CTO, logitel


  5. Here’s a helpful American publication that outlines why there should be the right of exit:

    By outlining why there should be such a right, it obviously reinforces the point you make in that no exit mechanism can exists currently. It also identifies that there whilst there’s no right to exit the Euro, there is the irrevocable right to exit the EU as a whole written into the current Treaty, which rather makes whether you’d still have to operate the Euro when you’re not in the EU a moot point.


  6. @NickM
    At least Syriza could be bothered to walk into the cucumber field (which is more than the lost bunch of crooks did) and so what if they care to show their concombre? At least Syriza has shown that they have concombre if not ballons.


  7. It’s all very well saying that there is no [legal] mechanism for leaving the euro, or forcing a country to leave. This is perfectly true, but misses the point, which is that when the EU decides to do something, normal legality tends to go out of the window. For example, under the glorious Fiscal Pact of 2012, which all the Eurozone members (including Greece, incidentally) signed up to, all committed themselves to cutting their government debt/GNP ratio to 60% in 20 years, with semi-automatic fines for countries which were not on path to do this. Of course this was economic lunacy, but they all signed and ratified a solemn treaty. Three years on, they are almost all well off track. Has anyone been fined?


  8. @mark dickinson

    Very true. The mechanism for forcing Greece to leave the Euro is obvious: the ECB pulls the plug on the Greek banks. Left with no Euros, the Greeks will have a choice of an economy based on barter or introducing a new currency.


  9. @ copydude

    The ECB as an institution is not answerable to any body elected or not. The fundamental question to ask is in whose interest the officials of the ECB are working. I believe Draghi used to work for Goldman Sachs.


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