Monday, April 18, 2011

Goldman Sachs, Interest Rate Swaps caused Greece, Iceland and State defaults.

What if TARP was never passed? What if the banks were allowed to fail?

Swap cancellations in the municipal market accelerated after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, as the filing triggered the termination of all of its derivative contracts, including hundreds with municipal bond issuers.







What taxes have you paid to your locality?

§ income

§ sales

§ property (and much more than you should have since the real estate was artificially inflated)

§ gas

§ food?

§ fines/penalties

§ license and registrations

Where did all of that money go?

Where the heck is the balance sheet for your locality/muni?

What else are they taxing?

§ NJ is imposing a bike licensing and registration + fees + penalties.

§ Bezerkley is issuing out traffic tickets for bikers.

§ Illinois just hiked their taxes up 66%.

§ Minor traffic violations in California cost $450/ticket

Since we already paid our taxes, we're paying probably more than twice to receive the benefits we supposedly agreed to.

Interest Rate Futures Contract

An agreement to buy and sell a debt obligation at a certain date at a certain price. For example, Investor A may make a contract with Creditor B in which A agrees to buy a certain number of B's bonds at a certain date for a certain amount. The value of an interest rate futures contract varies according to changes in the interest rates. For example, if interest rates rise, the value of the futures contract falls because a potential buyer will be able to buy another interest rate futures contract with a better interest rate. See also: Plain vanilla swap.

Interest Rate Swaps are not welfare. They're not unions.

If anyone remembers the Bush "economy", it was technically stagflation since it was real estate inflation + no job growth. There was no legitimate reason why real estate was that expensive. Inflation and price hikes also adds to the GDP growth which during the Bush presidency, the "$14 trillion" GDP gave a rosier picture of the economy than it really was. It was never there.

Anyone with any clue of econ and finance knew this (like bank execs).

So the predatory banks went after municipalities and localities and sold them these bonds, the politicians who signed the deals didn't think that with no job growth the foreclosures would drag the economy down so hard.

So when the foreclosure crisis happened, real estate values CORRECTED (they were way too expensive in lieu of wages in their areas)... so of course property tax revenue dropped.

Then the income tax revenue dropped when 8 million jobs were lost. Then sales tax revenue dropped. And the rating agencies downgraded the muni/localities- and according to the agreements these localities/munies now OWED on this debt. Which is why they all went into default.

It's not the unions, welfare (although CA is a handout haven)... it was the banks. The republican talking heads avoid mentioning this hoping no-one will notices, the dems keep shilling more reasons to tax and spend.

All of your tax dollars are going to the banks, not for community purposes.

Why do the taxpayers LOSE OUT on the money they invested?

Credit Derivatives, Interest-Rate Swaps

For the past two years, JP Morgan Chase has been the focus of a federal investigation into practices in the municipal swaps business. Most recently, an SEC investigation centered on JP Morgan�s handling of interest-rate swaps for the Bethlehem Area School District.

Interest-rate swaps are complex financial instruments and tied to variable interest rates. If interest rates remain favorable, purchasers like a municipality benefit. If market conditions create an unfavorable interest rate environment, however, the bank responsible for initially selling the swap receives higher payments from the purchaser. Adding to JP Morgan�s legal issues is the Bernard “Bernie” Madoff affair. In January 2009, JP Morgan admitted that it had pulled its own money out of two hedge funds connected to the Wall Street money manager while leaving hundreds of European clients exposed. Ultimately, those clients lost at least an estimated $30 million after news of Madoff�s alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme came to light.

Of course the states are going broke.

Illinois owed $4.4 BILLION on "investments", most likely interest rate swaps (derivatives).

NJ paid $22,000/DAY on interest rate swaps, $2 BILLION to cancel the agreement

Los Angeles paid $20 million/yr on interest rate swaps

They paid it with public funds, aka. tax dollars. Not that you'll see roads, schools or other services for what you paid...

We know that these products are "complex in nature and difficult to understand", but maybe these idiots called politicians should've considered that before they robbed the taxpayers and tossed that money into a black hole.

Executive Summary

• The notional value of derivatives held by U.S. commercial banks increased $804 billion in the third

quarter, or 0.4%, to $204.3 trillion.

• U.S. commercial banks reported trading revenues of $5.7 billion trading cash and derivative instruments

in the third quarter of 2009, up 11% from $5.2 billion in the second quarter.

• Net current credit exposure decreased 13% to $484 billion.

• Derivative contracts remain concentrated in interest rate products, which comprise 84% of total

derivative notional values. The notional value of credit derivative contracts decreased by 3% during the quarter to $13 trillion.

At least they're not trading unsecured Credit Default Swaps this time. BTW, this is the same @#$* that happened to Greece, Iceland and Ireland. :-)

New Jersey Swap for Unsold Bonds Costs $22,000 a Day (Update2)

"Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- New Jersey taxpayers are being saddled with a bill of about $657,000 a month from Bank of Montreal for an interest-rate swap approved by state officials and linked to bonds that were never sold....

...New Jersey isn’t alone. Borrowers from Massachusetts to California are struggling with billions of dollars in swap penalties and losses at the same time that budget deficits expand to an estimated $350 billion in 2010 and 2011, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

New Jersey paid $21.3 million last year to end three derivative contracts connected to bonds for business-incentive grants, the River Line Light Rail project from Trenton to Camden and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. On Nov. 18, the Delaware River Port Authority, a bistate agency that runs toll bridges and a rail line to Pennsylvania, agreed to give Zurich-based UBS AG $111 million if the authority can’t issue variable-rate debt to make use of an existing swap by February.

The state Transportation Trust Fund Authority is paying almost $1 million monthly to Goldman Sachs Mitsui Marine Derivative Products LP, a partnership of the New York-based bank and Japan’s Mitsui tomo Insurance Group Holdings Inc., under a swap agreement made during McGreevey’s administration in 2003. The derivatives were linked to $345 million in auction-rate bonds sold to finance road and rail projects. "

JPMorgan May Be Sued by SEC Over Alabama Bond Deals (Update2)

The potential sanctions by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, disclosed yesterday in two sentences of a 162-page quarterly regulatory filing, relate to a series of bond and interest-rate swap sales in 2002 and 2003 for sewers in Jefferson County, which covers about 1,125 square miles including Birmingham, the state’s largest city with more than 240,000 residents.

This is fun.

So here's how it started:

"Banks sold as much as $500 billion of interest rate swaps in the $2.8 trillion municipal bond market before the credit crisis, benefiting greatly, according to the article. Banks received fees to underwrite municipal bonds for public projects, and additional fees if the borrower used a swap with the transactions. The banks’ swap fees were not publicly disclosed because the contracts were unregulated and privately negotiated, according to the article.

Wall Street targeted some of the riskiest credits in the municipal market with its swaps pitch, and wrote teaser checks to lure borrowers into swaps according to the article. “The arrangements were akin to Goldman Sachs giving Greece $1 billion in off-balance-sheet funding in 2002 through a currency swap, helping the nation mask budget gaps to meet a European Union debt target,” McDonald wrote.

Banks that sold Jefferson County, Alabama $5.8 billion of swaps in 2002 and 2003 received $120.2 million in fees, as much as $100 million more than it should have based on prevailing rates, according to the article, citing James White, an adviser hired by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The Jefferson County situation led to a $722 million settlement by JPMorgan with the SEC in November 2009, after an SEC probe and the conviction of a county commissioner who steered business to bankers in exchange for bribes.

Nonprofits such as hospitals also got whipsawed by interest rate swap contracts. "Financial engineering by Wall Street has been a huge part of hospitals’ financial problems and has even translated into a lack of hospital beds," said Brian McGough, a managing director of health-care investments at Bank of Montreal Capital Markets in Chicago. A number of hospitals have filed lawsuits alleging that the Wall Street banks misled them.

California’s water resources department this year paid Morgan Stanley and other banks $305 million to unwind interest-rate swaps.

North Carolina paid $59.8 million, the equivalent of the combined annual salaries of 1,400 full-time state employees.

Reading, Pennsylvania paid $21 million, equal to more than a year’s worth of real-estate taxes.

Bay Area Toll Authority, a state agency, paid Ambac Financial Group, Inc. $105 million to end $1.1 billion of interest-rate agreements, the equivalent of more than two months of revenue on seven bridges the authority oversees around San Francisco.

The New Jersey agency that makes college-student loans and grants paid tens of millions of dollars to canceled derivative agreements with UBS AG and other banks.

The school district in Butler, Pennsylvania paid $5.3 million to exit a swap contract, enough to hire 100 new teachers for a school year.

Harvard University paid $922.6 million to end $1.1 billion of interest-rate swaps with JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs.

Cornell paid $22.8 million exit swap contracts with Wall Street firms, an amount that would cover the annual tuition for 500 students at the university.

The University of California paid $6.8 million to JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch & Co., later acquired by Bank of America, to terminate swaps, enough to cover the annual tuition of 200 students in its public-health program.

Swap cancellations in the municipal market accelerated after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, as the filing triggered the termination of all of its derivative contracts, including hundreds with municipal bond issuers.

"Swap cancellations in the municipal market accelerated after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, as the filing triggered the termination of all of its derivative contracts, including hundreds with municipal bond issuers."

-If TARP never happened and the banks allowed to fail, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, NJ, California... none of these would have defaulted.

EXCELLENT CHART HERE(sorry I couldn't embed it)

When an ailing country becomes over extended and unable to handle its debt, banks and other financial firms that have lent it money could be exposed to major losses. This could unsettle the home country of the banks or even spread the troubles to a third country. That can occur, for instance, because banks may try to cover their losses in one country by calling in loans in another

When a country trades extensively with another, their economies become intertwined. If a financial crisis in one country undermines its economy, it will import fewer goods from its trade partners, potentially crimping their economic growth also.

Your government protected the criminals:

"In a notice recently released by the CFTC, Painter said Judge Bruce Levine, his longtime colleague, had a secret agreement with a former Republican chairwoman of the agency to stand in the way of investors filing complaints with the agency.
"On Judge Levine's first week on the job, nearly twenty years ago, he came into my office and stated that he had promised Wendy Gramm, then Chairwoman of the Commission, that we would never rule in a complainant's favor," Painter wrote. "A review of his rulings will confirm that he fulfilled his vow," Painter wrote."

Financial contortionism is not wealth creation. The increased taxation will push employers and taxpayers away. Who the hell wants to pay for something and not receiving anything for it?

The banks not only thieved from us-multiple times, they're forcing tax hikes and creating an unfriendly hostile environment to businesses who might get funding from them (the banks' initial purpose?)?

Northern lights- few notes on Iceland's economic recovery with high interest rates & without bailouts from the banks

by on Monday, December 13, 2010 at 11:53pm

Iceland's interest rate up to 18%

Central bank governor David Oddsson said that he hoped the rise in rates would only last for a short time and added that the move was designed to stabilise the currency.

"With the collapse of three banks and the harsh external measures that followed, Iceland's foreign exchange market became paralysed," the bank said in a statement.

The government has imposed strict foreign exchange restrictions on the trading of its currency.

So Bernanke kept our interest rates near 0 to provide SUBSIDIZED free loans to bank/brokerage hybrid TARP recipients, so they can "SAVE THE ECONOMY" by speculating in the thinly traded stock market with thier Algorithmic High Frequency Trading platforms (hoarding 70% of the markets' volume).

Iceland exits recession

"Decision to force bondholders to pay for banking system's collapse appears to pay off as economy grows 1.2% in third quarter.

In contrast to Ireland, Iceland's taxpayers refused to foot the bill for the debts accumulated by the banking sector. Bondholders were told to accept dramatic reductions in the value of repayments on bank debt after the sector borrowed beyond its means to fund ambitious investments abroad.

The return to growth is likely to put pressure on Irish politicians to explain why Dublin rejected a more radical restructuring of its debts and a departure from the eurozone.

Iceland's currency has f by around a quarter, helping its exports.

Economists on the right and left have recommended country deep in debt restructure repayments with bondholders, in effect writing off much of the debt.

Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman (pictured) has repeatedly called on Ireland, Greece and Portugal to consider leaving the euro area and defaulting on debts.

Iceland's recession has proved less severe and shorter than many analysts and the International Monetary Fund had feared....

Last year Iceland's president Olafur R Grímsson said: "The difference is that in Iceland we allowed the banks to fail. These were private banks and we didn't pump money into them in order to keep them going; the state did not shoulder the responsibility of the failed private banks.""

We should've done that here!!!

Unemployment rate is now dropping. Excellent news for the small country.

Speaking of which, Iceland is kind of a tax haven. Banks and corporations, including American corporations have held monetary accounts with an Icelandic bank.


"Mrs. Veronique de Rugy of the American Enterprise Institute wrote a thorough article describing how Iceland absorbed the lessons of its tax history and took it into account when the economy was at turmoil. Sagas and stories tell that Iceland was the very first place on earth that could be described as tax haven. This label is characterized in the historical case when king Harold unified Norway in 870 and tried to punish the Norwegians by imposing a vast tax. Vikings refused to pay the tax and moved to Iceland where (as they said) "men are free from assaults of kings and criminals."
5.50 MB adobe

Kaupthing Singers & Friedlander (Isle of Man) Limited is an international tax haven.

A group of depositors who lost savings in offshore accounts with Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander, the failed Icelandic-owned bank, has hired one of London’s top class action law firms to help recover their money.

The group – which hopes to represent the interests of around 8,000 depositors that lost over £800 million – have appointed David Greene, a partner at Edwin Coe, to examine legal options.

Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander’s Isle of Man operations were frozen along with the rest of the Icelandic bank on October 8. But while the Government was quick to guarantee onshore savings, the group of offshore account holders says it was left out in the cold.

So which major American corporations hold accounts with Kaupthing Singers & Friedlander (Isle of Man) Limited?

Has anyone heard of Goldman Sachs International or Hewlett Packard?

Following the adoption of Act No. 125/2008, the Icelandic Financial Supervisory
Authority decided to take over the authority of Kaupthing Bank’s shareholders’
meeting, disqualify the incumbent directors on 9 October 2008 and
appoint a Resolution Committee for Kaupthing Bank hf. that same day. After
the entry into force of Act No. 44/2009, amending Act No. 161/2002, and
upon a written request from the Resolution Committee, the Reykjavik District
Court appointed a Winding-up Committee for Kaupthing Bank hf. on 25 May
2009, cf. Point 4 of Temporary Provision V. of Act No. 161/2002.
The reference date is 15 November 2008, cf. Temporary Provision III of Act No.
44/2009. Kaupthing Bank hf. was originally granted a moratorium, as provided
for in Act No. 129/2008, on 24 November 2008. The commencement date of
winding-up procedures during the moratorium is 22 April 2009, cf. Point 2 of
Temporary Provision V of Act No. 161/2002. The time limit for lodging claims
was set at six months from the first advertisement of the invitation to lodge
claims in the Icelandic Legal Gazette and expired on 30 December 2009."


"Iceland seizes Kaupthing as meltdown continues

Iceland’s banking assets amounted to about nine times its gross domestic product and its current account deficit has billowed to 16 per cent of GDP last year."

Northern Lights

Goldman Sachs is the culprit behind Greece's debt

by on Friday, October 29, 2010 at 7:10pm

"Bankster Hypocrisy Surfaces (Again) Over CDS Contracts"

Wall Street saw nothing wrong with the U.S. government rewriting contracts - to keep the Oligarchs from going bankrupt - but when those same Oligarchs are trying to drive other NATIONS into bankruptcy with their CDS scams, they whine about "the sanctity of contracts"

December 10th


In contrast to Ireland, Iceland's taxpayers refused to foot the bill for the debts accumulated by the banking sector. Bondholders were told to accept dramatic reductions in the value of repayments on bank debt after the sector borrowed beyond its means to fund ambitious investments abroad.

Of course Wall Street did it. How else would we know about PIIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Iceland, Greece and Spain)?

November 22nd, 2010

"European credit is being weighed down...after GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP, INC. raised the prospect of Ireland and Portugal failing under the weight of “oversized” debt burdens.


"...The pressure for a bailout of Ireland did not come from Ireland itself—it came from Eurozone officials. If anything, Irish Finance Minister Brian Lehnihan’s announcement over the weekend that Ireland would seek a bailout was a concession to its European Union friends.

So why would the Eurocrats demand a bailout of Ireland when Ireland insisted it didn’t need one?

The first reason is that much of Ireland’s debt—both its sovereign debt and the debt of its banks—is held by many of Europe’s largest financial institutions.

Many of Europe’s banks had written credit default swaps on Irish debt, which was draining cash. Finally, the banks were finding it increasingly expensive to borrow against Irish debt—that is, other banks would not lend money in exchange for Irish debt as collateral, except at steep discounts—creating the potential for a credit crunch."

October 29th, 2010

"The bank's traders created a number of financial deals that allowed the country to raise money to cut its budget deficit now, in return for repayments over time or at a later date. In one deal, Goldman channelled $1bn of funding to the government in 2002, in a transaction called a CROSS-CURRENCY SWAP. There is no suggestion of any wrong-doing by Goldman Sachs. Such deals are an expensive way of raising money, but they have the advantage of not having to be accounted for as debt."

Der Spiegel broke the story that Greece did a billion-dollar currency swap with Goldman Sachs in 2002 that did not show up on the nation's books as debt.... As part of the deal, Greece got cash upfront in return for pledging future landing fees at the country's airports. A similar deal in 2000 called Ariadne devoured the revenue that the government collected from its national lottery. Greece, however, classified those transactions as sales, not loans, despite doubts by many critics," reports the Times.

It walks like a loan and talks like a loan, but because it was actually a complex derivative swap, it was secret, bilateral, and off-book. The people of Greece knew nothing, and at the current moment, no one knows how many of these deals are out there masking EU debt or U.S. debt for that matter.

"In 2001, just after Greece was admitted to Europe’s monetary union, Goldman helped the government quietly borrow billions, people familiar with the transaction said. That deal, hidden from public view because it was treated as a currency trade rather than a loan, helped Athens to meet Europe’s deficit rules while continuing to spend beyond its means.

The 2001 transaction involved a type of derivative known as a swap. One such instrument, called an interest-rate swap, can help companies and countries cope with swings in their borrowing costs by exchanging fixed-rate payments for floating-rate ones, or vice versa. Another kind, a currency swap, can minimize the impact of volatile foreign exchange rates."

Aeolos, a legal entity created in 2001, helped Greece reduce the debt on its balance sheet that year. As part of the deal, Greece got cash upfront in return for pledging future landing fees at the country’s airports. A similar deal in 2000 called Ariadne devoured the revenue that the government collected from its national lottery. Greece, however, classified those transactions as sales, not loans, despite doubts by many critics."

(note: interest rate swaps are the same derivatives that JP Morgan used with LA and New Jersey-costing NJ 5 figues PER DAY)

One time, gigantic military expenditures were left out (2 submaries sold to Greece by the US?), and another time billions in hospital debt. After recalculating the figures, the experts at Eurostat consistently came up with the same results: In truth, the deficit each year has been far greater than the three percent limit. In 2009, it exploded to over 12 percent.

(note: military expenditures do not have to be recorded in the national reports...because it's regarded as "top secret" info in the U.S.)

Fictional Exchange Rates

Such transactions are part of normal government refinancing. Europe's governments obtain funds from investors around the world by issuing bonds in yen, dollar or Swiss francs. But they need euros to pay their daily bills. Years later the bonds are repaid in the original foreign denominations.

But in the Greek case the US bankers devised a special kind of swap with fictional exchange rates. That enabled Greece to receive a far higher sum than the actual euro market value of 10 billion dollars or yen. In that way Goldman Sachs secretly arranged additional credit of up to $1 billion for the Greeks.

This credit disguised as a swap didn't show up in the Greek debt statistics. Eurostat's reporting rules don't comprehensively record transactions involving financial derivatives. "The Maastricht rules can be circumvented quite legally through swaps," says a German derivatives dealer.",1518,676634,00.html

The Goldman-Greece deal exploited this loophole by inventing a fictional exchange rate, allowing Greece to borrow billions more and mask the true size of its debt. Greece's deficit problem will become even greater when the Goldman bonds mature over the next 10 to 15 years. Greece's exploding debt is now threatening to bring down the euro.

Throwing money at a financial scandal is like throwing your credit cards at a burglar, then telling him to balance your account.


Was the market hijacked for this bailout? Was it a scare?

Who is embezzling public funds through these bailouts?

Look, the political smoke and mirrors coming FROM THE GOP were a lame, SAD attempt to hide Goldman's dealings with it. If people actually paid attention, you can see the holes in their stories:

let's put Greece into perspective and compare it to Entitlement Haven California.

Greeces' population = 11 million.

Illegals in California = 6 million + (unknown illegals) + anchor babies. Probably safe to say 10 million.

Total California population = 36 million (documented)

Greeces' Gross Domestic Product = $356 Billion US dollars 2008

Californias' Gross State Product = $1.85 Trillion US dollars 2008

Greeces' GDP is 19% of California's GSP or 3% of the US GDP ($14 trillion)

Greeces' bailout =$145 Billion -or HALF OF THEIR GDP.

California's requested bailout = $7 Billion. (barely a percent of our Gross State Product including the entitlements)

U.S. bailout = $700 Billion.

Greece is asking for A LOT of money compared to what we asked for and they're stiffing their people on entitlements (that they may or may not have paid into). That's quite a steep drop for Greece.

The numbers are inconsistent.

California is similar to Greece in the sense of entitlements. California hands out pensions, unions, prisons, heck California even considers heroine a disability and subsidizes that as well!

The illegal immigrant + anchor baby population in California can be compared to Greeks' tax cheats.

The only thing the US and Greece had in common with these bailouts are the affiliations with Goldman Sachs and other banks.

California is not nearly in as much trouble as Greece.

"The yield on the 10-year Greek bond rose to 7.16 percent on Jan. 28, the highest since October 1999, prompting European leaders to pledge aid to the nation."

If Greece is invested in interest rate swaps with Greece, this means that they could be paying quite a bit for the interest now. That's quite a huge expenditure.



We understand the "Counterparty Risk"

But of course the Counterparty Risk occurs only because people don't know what they're buying. Was Greece tricked into debt? We can't confirm it with the information we were given by the press.




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