Mark Pittman

The Biggest Winner From The Greek Tragedy

For every loser there is a winner, and in the case of Greece and its tragedy, just as millions are about to lose everything, a few not only made billions but quietly, under the guise of "sovereign bailouts" transferred their entire risk onto the taxpaying public.

Presenting The S&P500's 50 Point Surge Courtesy Of The Illegal "Geithner Leak"

Yesterday we broke the news of what is prima facie evidence, sourced by none other than the Federal Reserve's official August 16, 2007 conference call transcript, that then-NY Fed president and FOMC Vice Chairman Tim Geithner leaked material, non-public, and very much market moving information (the "Geithner Leak") to at least one banker, in this case then Bank of America CEO Ken Leiws, in advance of a formal Fed announcement - an act explicitly prohibited by virtually every capital markets law (and reading thereof). It was refreshing to see that at least several other mainstream outlets, including Reuters, The Hill and the NYT, carried this story which is far more significant than Season 1 of Lance Armstrong's produced theatrical confession and rating bonanza. What, however, the mainstream media has not touched upon, yet, is just how profound the market response to the Geithner Leak was, and by implication, how much money those who were aware of what the Fed was about to do, made. Perhaps, it should because as we show below, the implications were staggering. But perhaps what is even more relevant, is why the Fed's previously disclosed details of Mr. Geithner's daily actions at the time, have exactly no mention of any of this.

Goldman Wins Again As European Union Court Rules To Keep ECB Involvement In Greek Debt Fudging A Secret

Three years ago, a hard fought landmark FOIA lawsuit was won by the great Bloomberg reports, the late Mark Pittman, in which the Fed was forced to disclose a plethora of previously secret bailout information, which in turn spurred the movement to "audit the Fed" and include a variety of largely watered down provisions in the Frank-Dodd bill. This victory came despite extensive objections by the Fed and the threat that the case may even escalate to the highly politicized Supreme Court, which lately has demonstrated conclusively that not only is justice not blind, but goes to the highest ideological bidder. Moments ago, Europe just learned that when it comes to secrecy of its supreme monetary leaders, in this case all originating from Goldman Sachs and defending data highly sensitive to the same Goldman Sachs, the European central bank's secrecy is not only matched by that of the Fed, but even more engrained in the "judicial" system of the Eurozone, after the European Union General Court in Luxembourg just announced that the European Central Bank will be allowed to refuse access to secret files showing how Greece used derivatives to hide its debt. Why? Simple: recall that it was Goldman Sachs who was the primary "advisor" on a decade worth of FX swaps-related deals which allowed Greece to outright lie about both its fiscal deficit and its total debt levels, and that it was a Goldman alum who became head of the same Greek debt office just before the country imploded. And certainly the ECB was involved and knew very all about the Greek behind the scenes shennanigans. And who happens to be head of the ECB? Why yet another former Goldman worker, of course. Mario Draghi.

This Is The Government: Your Legal Right To Redeem Your Money Market Account Has Been Denied - The Sequel

Two years ago, in January 2010, Zero Hedge wrote "This Is The Government: Your Legal Right To Redeem Your Money Market Account Has Been Denied" which became one of our most read stories of the year. The reason? Perhaps something to do with an implicit attempt at capital controls by the government on one of the primary forms of cash aggregation available: $2.7 trillion in US money market funds. The proximal catalyst back then were new proposed regulations seeking to pull one of these three core pillars (these being no volatility, instantaneous liquidity, and redeemability) from the foundation of the entire money market industry, by changing the primary assumptions of the key Money Market Rule 2a-7. A key proposal would give money market fund managers the option to "suspend redemptions to allow for the orderly liquidation of fund assets." In other words: an attempt to prevent money market runs (the same thing that crushed Lehman when the Reserve Fund broke the buck). This idea, which previously had been implicitly backed by the all important Group of 30 which is basically the shadow central planners of the world (don't believe us? check out the roster of current members), did not get too far, and was quickly forgotten. Until today, when the New York Fed decided to bring it back from the dead by publishing "The Minimum Balance At Risk: A Proposal to Mitigate the Systemic Risks Posed by Money Market FUnds". Now it is well known that any attempt to prevent a bank runs achieves nothing but merely accelerating just that (as Europe recently learned). But this coming from central planners - who never can accurately predict a rational response - is not surprising. What is surprising is that this proposal is reincarnated now. The question becomes: why now? What does the Fed know about market liquidity conditions that it does not want to share, and more importantly, is the Fed seeing a rapid deterioration in liquidity conditions in the future, that may and/or will prompt retail investors to pull their money in another Lehman-like bank run repeat?

Just What Is Mario Draghi Hiding? ECB Declines To Respond To Bloomberg FOIA Request On Greek-Goldman Swaps

Back in February 2010, in the aftermath of the discovery that none other than Goldman Sachs had facilitated for nearly a decade the masking of the true magnitude of non-Maastricht conforming Greek debt, Zero Hedge first identified the prospectus for a Goldman underwritten swap agreement securitization titled Titlos PLC. We titled the analysis "Is Titlos PLC The Downgrade Catalyst Trigger Which Will Destroy Greece?" because for all intents and purposes it was: at that time a rating agency downgrade of the country would lead to a chain of events which would make billions in assets ineligible for ECB collateral, forcing a massive margin call on the National Bank of Greece, which likely would have precipitated a Greek default there and then.  But that is irrelevant for the time being: what is relevant is Titlos itself, and what Bloomberg did after we posted the analysis. It appears that in following in the footsteps of Mark Pittman, Bloomberg sued the ECB under Freedom of Information rules requesting "access to two internal papers drafted for the central bank’s six-member Executive Board. They show how Greece used swaps to hide its borrowings, according to a March 3, 2010, note attached to the papers and obtained by Bloomberg News. The first document is entitled “The impact on government deficit and debt from off-market swaps: the Greek case.” The second reviews Titlos Plc, a securitization that allowed National Bank of Greece SA, the country’s biggest lender, to exchange swaps on Greek government debt for funding from the ECB, the Executive Board said in the cover note. The ECB's response: "The European Central Bank said it can’t release files showing how Greece may have used derivatives to hide its borrowings because disclosure could still inflame the crisis threatening the future of the single currency." Maybe. But what is far more likely is that the reason why the ECB, headed by none other than former Goldmanite Mario Draghi, is desperate to keep these documents secret is for another reason. A very simple reason:

Mario Draghi - 2002-2005:  Vice Chairman and Managing Director at Goldman Sachs International

Mark Pittman Wins: Fed To Disclose Emergency Lending Details By December 1

Mark Pittman's last valiant effort to bring some transparency to the most destructive organization in the history of mankind has succeeded. According to testimony to be delivered to the House tomorrow, "under a framework established by
the act, the Federal Reserve will, by December 1, provide detailed
information regarding individual transactions conducted across a range
of credit and liquidity programs over the period from December 1, 2007,
to July 20, 2010. This information will include the names of
counterparties, the date and dollar value of individual transactions,
the terms of repayment, and other relevant information.
On an ongoing
basis, subject to lags specified by the Congress to protect the efficacy
of the programs, the Federal Reserve also will routinely provide
information regarding the identities of counterparties, amounts financed
or purchased and collateral pledged for transactions under the discount
window, open market operations, and emergency lending facilities." Luckily this action by Bernanke will prevent the rioting that would have followed an appeal to the Supreme court, which would have certainly sided with the secretive group of Keynesian priests. If nothing else, the plethora of data will keep the blogosphere preoccupied for days upon days, rummaging through millions of pages of explicit corruption.

Mark Pittman Smiles After Appeals Court Refuses To Review Fed Attempt To Stop Bailout Disclosure; Supreme Court Now On Deck

It appears that the Fed is heading for its biggest legal confrontation ever. After, as Bloomberg reports, the U.S. appeals court refused to reconsider a ruling that requires the Federal Reserve Board to disclose documents identifying financial firms that might have failed without the largest U.S. government bailout, the one last resort to preserve the secrecy interests of the Clearing House Association which is basically the formal name for all the banks that have received Fed handouts in some form or another over the years, is now the Supreme Court of the United States. And should the SCOTUS go ahead and vote alongside the administration (in this case the Fed), as it did in the Chrysler case, the fallout could well be dramatic as it once again becomes clear that the one entity truly in control of this once-great country is a group of middle aged men, which conducts all of its decision-making in strict secrecy, and whose every decision is predicated upon the perpetuation of the ever more failed Keynesian status quo.

Fed Must Disclose Bank Bailout Records As Court Of Appeals Upholds Historic "Mark Pittman" Decision

From Bloomberg: "The Federal Reserve must disclose documents identifying financial firms that might have collapsed without the largest ever U.S. government bailout, a federal appeals court said." Next step for the Fed weasels - petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to completely trample America's constitution. In the meantime, Mark Pittman smiles from above as Satan reevaluates the amend and extend provisions of his affirmative covenants with the Fed.

Frontrunning: February 15

  • More bad news for Goldman - Greek Probe Uncovers ‘Long-Term Damage’ From Swaps Agreements (Bloomberg)
  • Goldman goes rogue - special European audit to follow (Baseline Scenario)
  • Europe's finance ministers face pressure over Greece (Bloomberg,
  • Looming problem of local debt in China - $1.6 trillion and rising (Chinese Politics, h/t Bruce)
  • Mark Pittman remembrance: Battle over the bailout (NYT)
  • Charges in web video bring unusual rebuttal from FDIC (NYT)
  • Charlie Gasparino leaving CNBC for Fox Business News (TVNewser)

Exclusive: The Bank Of England Engaged In Flagrant Gold Manipulation In The Interwar Period Via The New York Fed; Does History Repeat Itself?

An article written by University of Tennessee professor John R Garrett, "Monetary Policy and Expectations: Market-Control Techniques and the Bank of England, 1925-1931" which describes in exquisite detail the gold falsification measures undertaken by the Bank of England in the interwar period in order to impact interest rates in a favorable direction, performed with the full criminal complicity of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, may mean paranoid "gold bugs" could soon be forever absolved of their "tin hat" wearing status as outright gold, and other data, manipulation by a major central bank is now proven beyond doubt. The implications regarding the possibility of comparable deceitful and treasonous acts by modern central bankers are staggering.

This Is The Government: Your Legal Right To Redeem Your Money Market Account Has Been Denied

When Henry Paulson publishes his long-awaited memoirs, the one section that will be of most interest to readers, will be the former Goldmanite and Secretary of the Treasury's recollection of what, in his opinion, was the most unpredictable and dire consequence of letting Lehman fail (letting his former employer become the number one undisputed Fixed Income trading entity in the world was quite predictable... plus we doubt it will be a major topic of discussion in Hank's book). We would venture to guess that the Reserve money market fund breaking the buck will be at the very top of the list, as the ensuing "run on the electronic bank" was precisely the 21st century equivalent of what happened to banks in physical form, during the early days of the Geat Depression. Had the lack of confidence in the system persisted for a few more hours, the entire financial world would have likely collapsed, as was so vividly recalled by Rep. Paul Kanjorski, once a barrage of electronic cash withdrawal requests depleted this primary spoke of the entire shadow economy. Ironically, money market funds are supposed to be the stalwart of safety and security among the plethora of global investment alternatives: one need only to look at their returns to see what the presumed composition of their investments is. A case in point, Fidelity's $137 billion Cash Reserves fund has a return of 0.61% YTD, truly nothing to write home about, and a return that would have been easily beaten putting one's money in Treasury Bonds. This is not surprising, as the primary purpose of money markets is to provide virtually instantaneous access to a portfolio of practically risk-free investment alternatives: a typical investor in a money market seeks minute investment risk, no volatility, and instantaneous liquidity, or redeemability. These are the three pillars upon which the entire $3.3 trillion money market industry is based.

Yet new regulations proposed by the administration, and specifically by the ever-incompetent Securities and Exchange Commission, seek to pull one of these three core pillars from the foundation of the entire money market industry, by changing the primary assumptions of the key Money Market Rule 2a-7. A key proposal in the overhaul of money market regulation suggests that money market fund managers will have the option to "suspend redemptions to allow for the orderly liquidation of fund assets." You read that right: this does not refer to the charter of procyclical, leveraged, risk-ridden, transsexual (allegedly) portfolio manager-infested hedge funds like SAC, Citadel, Glenview or even Bridgewater (which in light of ADIA's latest batch of problems, may well be wishing this was in fact the case), but the heart of heretofore assumed safest and most liquid of investment options: Money Market funds, which account for nearly 40% of all investment company assets. The next time there is a market crash, and you try to withdraw what you thought was "absolutely" safe money, a back office person will get back to you saying, "Sorry - your money is now frozen. Bank runs have become illegal." This is precisely the regulation now proposed by the administration. In essence, the entire US capital market is now a hedge fund, where even presumably the safest investment tranche can be locked out from within your control when the ubiquitous "extraordinary circumstances" arise. The second the game of constant offer-lifting ends, and money markets are exposed for the ponzi investment proxies they are, courtesy of their massive holdings of Treasury Bills, Reverse Repos, Commercial Paper, Agency Paper, CD, finance company MTNs and, of course, other money markets, and you decide to take your money out, well - sorry, you are out of luck. It's the law.

GATA Sues Fed, Demands Disclosure Of Gold Market Intervention Records

Our friends at GATA have had enough of the Fed's, and other Central Banks' alleged (and with so much circumstantial evidence presented both at Zero Hedge and elsewhere, that in this case "alleged" is just a term only a lawyer could love) manipulation of gold prices, and have taken Bernanke's monetization, manipulation and money making unlimited liability company to task ("M4 ULLC"). We are overjoyed that yet another entity has followed in the footsteps of our dear late friend Mark Pittman in taking on the one organization that represents all that is irreconcilably broken with the current economic and financial system. We wish GATA much success, and hope that ever more wronged counterparties will seek remedies from the Fed's consistent and blatant wealth transfer from America's Middle Class to the uber-wealthy, Wall Street-originating oligarchy.

Sen. Jim Bunning Releases 70 Responses By Bernanke As More Organizations Come In Support Of Pittman Crusade

More Mutual Assured Destruction from Ber Bernanke: "Without addressing every specific item, I believe that the release of much of the information requested would inhibit the policymaking process or reduce the effectiveness of policy and thus would not be in the public interest."

In other news Dow Jones, New York Times, the Associated Press and Reuters all have enjoined Bloomberg in demanding that Federal Court uphold the previous decision by the NY Supreme Court, seeking the Fed to disclose confidential bail out information.