Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.
Handing €1.1 trillion of public money to ANONYMOUS bankers with no publicly available audit trail is an act so corrupt as to be beyond comprehension.
Yet that is what has happened to residents of that well known museum — the European Union.
The European Central Bank, owner of the world’s third biggest money printing machine — behind the Federal Reserve’s and the People’s Bank of China’s — has already printed and distributed the best part of a trillion Euros to private financial institutions in exchange for various bonds over a two year period.
In November 2014 just as they started what became known as their Quantitative Easing (ECB QE) programme, I asked them to publicly state exactly which bonds they were printing money to buy.
Seeing as they were spending billions of euros of public money per month during a time of extreme austerity – it felt normal that EU citizens be told how the money was being spent.
The only information the public had been told at that time was that the ECB were buying repackaged bank loans (Covered Bonds) and Asset Backed Securities (ABSs) in order to stop deflation and maintain inflation at 2%.
Despite the simple nature of my request — I asked for a country by country, bank by bank, product by product breakdown including ‘ISIN’ Codes for what the ECB had been buying — the bank refused to disclose the full nature of its holdings.
This week, more than a year and a half after I originally asked them, the ECB — and the European Ombudsman — ruled against my appeal for transparency.
Click below for the link to the EU Ombudsman decision on the case:
Decision in case 1742/2015/OV on the European Central Bank's refusal to grant access to documents containing detailed information on two Asset Purchase Programmes
But the question remains: What happened to the money?
Bizarrely the woman who runs the European Ombudsman, Emily O’Reilly, has a reputation for being a fair-minded adjudicator.
This week the Irish papers portrayed O’Reilly as a friend of transparency who had rebuked the Irish Central Bank and the ECB for not publishing their correspondence during the Irish Bailouts of 2010.
European Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly was in Dublin to advise Central Bank chiefs on the need for greater transparency and improved communication - only two days after the banking regulator
If only those newspapers had known how O’Reilly has sided with commercial confidentiality and non-disclosure of the multibillion Euro QE recipients.
O’Reilly ruled in favour of the ECB without once consulting me — the complainant — to find out why I had brought the case or to let me challenge the groupthink logic of her flawed judgment.
Too little, too late
Ironically on the date of the ruling (18th July 2016) the ECB itself announced that another slice of its QE programme, the Corporate Bond Purchase Programme, would publish its ISIN codes.
This is a screenshot of the paywalled Financial Times story with the announcement about the new stance on ISIN codes.
How funny that I had to wait 18 months to get a definitive ‘no’ on receiving the ISIN codes for the Covered Bond and ABS QE programme, only for the Corporate Bond Purchase Programme to publish its ISIN codes on the very same day.
A Pyrrhic Victory perhaps?
Time will Tell.
Corruptissima respublica, plurimae leges
The most corrupt state, the most laws – Tacitus
My feeling is that the ECB don’t want to the public to know how much they are protecting the very same German financiers that benefited from the ECB’s imposition of austerity, deregulation and privatisation policies in southern Europe.
I believe the worst offender is DePfa / Deutsche Pfandbriefe.
Just as the IRA and Baader Meinhoff are known for their politically inspired terror campaigns in the 1970s so has Deutsche Pfandbriefe exported financial terrorism throughout Europe from its tax avoiding, financial engineering Dublin Headquarters as of the early 2000’s when it re-domiciled to save cash.
ECB QE and commercial confidentiality for public money are the very definition of double standards and, in this case, perpetuate the myth that North Europeans are honest and that everyone else is corrupt.
I appreciate that this is not something many people are willing to accept – such is the scale of our programming.
Just as with PPP / PFI in the UK, commercial confidentiality and financial engineering remain the respectable face of corporate fascism and fraud.
For more adventures in Bazookanomics: