Schneeballsystem

“Snowball system,” the house-of-cards finance company operated from 2006 until its collapse in 2011 by a guy now awaiting trial in the USA which ate $117 million of one Venezuelan businessman’s money and the at least $500-million pension fund, for 25,000 workers, of the Venezuelan state oil company PdVSA. Reporting the story on 04 Apr 2013, the ICIJ wrote that the financier appeared to have started the pyramid scheme after suffering a $5 million loss in 2005.

A bankruptcy administrator (Konkursverwalter) or receiver appointed by a US federal court said inter alia that a very well-connected Caracas stockbroker apparently got fees as high as $10 million per transaction for diverting large amounts of money into the pyramid scheme to keep it going, and an investments and insurance manager at the oil company collected $37.5 million for sending PdVSA pension money to Connecticut. The receiver has recovered $230 million from a bank in the Netherlands and is still hunting for the rest, writes the ICIJ. When the SEC started investigating in 2010, they discovered “intricate financial transactions and virtually zero bookkeeping.”

(SHNAY boll zyss dem.)

Blaupause

To this foreigner, Blaupause looks like “blue break,” which might indicate a nice use of free time in a well-situated beer garden because “blue” means drinking in Germany. But the word actually means “blueprints.”

New ESM head Jeroen Dijsselbloem angered some small countries whose economies are dependent on a large banking sector or at least threatened by large bank failures when he indicated that elements found to work in what the EU does in Cyprus—reduction of a banking sector that had grown to 7x the size of the country’s economy, reregulation of the remaining banks—could be applied to other Member States that get in too much trouble.

About Cyprus: German news reports that, during the past fortnight of negotiations when large transfers from Cypriot banks were supposed to be frozen, over a billion euros were nevertheless transferred off the island by foreign banks, mostly in London. A whistleblower list has appeared containing names of parliament members, local officials and associated companies and organizations that received millions in loans between 2007 and 2012 from the country’s two largest banks (Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank, plus Hellenic Bank in only one instance so far) but did not have to pay the full loans back. The only Cypriot political parties not represented on that list were a social democratic party and an environmental party, fwiw. A second whistleblower list is expected to appear containing names of large deposit holders who managed to get their money off the island just in time.

The corruption details cited in the Spiegel article were reported by the Cyprus news portal 24h.com.cy, Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis, and the Greek newspapers Ethnos and Kathimerini.

(Bl ow! Pow! Zah.)

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