Silvio Berlusconi

"Has Everyone Lost Their Freaking Minds?"

It’s getting weird and the market is having a tough time figuring out what to take seriously, what to ignore, what to laugh nervously about and what to just laugh at. Are serious economists actually have a debate about whether it is a good idea to just print up cash and pass it out? Is that really monetary policy? Are governments really talking about banning actual currency, the very money created by that government? Money that depends, oh by the way, solely on people’s trust that the government will stand behind the money they are about to outlaw? Has everyone lost their freaking minds?

If Varoufakis Is Charged With Treason, Then Dijsselbloem Should Be As Well

If Greece does find it has a legal basis to criminally charge Varoufakis with treason merely for preparing for a Plan B, then it brings up an interesting question: if Varoufakis was a criminal merely for preparing for existing the Euro, then comparable treason charges should also be lobbed against none other than Varoufakis' nemesis - Eurogroup president and Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem.

China Crash Accelerates, Drags Composite Under 4000; US Futures Flat Ahead Of Nonfarm Payrolls

If it was Greece's intention to crush the Chinese stock market instead of Europe's, well - it succeeded.  Because despite the PBOC and politburo throwing everything but QE at the stock market, China stocks closed down sharply on Thursday after another wild trading day as investors shrugged off regulators' intensified efforts to put a floor under the sliding market, by cutting trading fees and easing margin rules, which has now crashed 25% in about two weeks wiping out $2.5 trillion of the peak $10 trillion in Chinese stock market cap as of June 14. This ultimately resulted with the Shanghai Composite closing under 4000 for the first time since April.

Bilderberg 2015 – Where Criminals Mingle With Politicians

"This is what happens when you let money run riot and you allow industries to police themselves. This is what happens when the rich and powerful are endlessly granted special privileges, celebrated and permitted or even encouraged to place themselves above the law. And this is what happens when ordinary people feel bored by and excluded from politics, largely because their voices matter so little..."

Strange Liaisons? Putin Visits Berlusconi's Home At 3am After Warning Merkel Of Gas Squeeze

It appears Bunga-Bunga boy still has something to offer the international elite. After a lengthy meeting with Germany's Angela Merkel (at a hotel in Milan) where Putin warned of "big transit risks" in delivery of Europe's gas as Ukraine is "starting to siphon off our gas from the export pipeline," and threatening to respond by "reducing flows by the amount stolen;" Putin decided the place to be was 78-year-old Berlusconi's house at 3am. Finally, it is worth noting that Ukraine's President Poroshenko was scheduled to meet with Frau Merkel this morning - we assume to plead his case for why gas transit should flow through his nation (and beg for some more support).

Frontrunning: July 18

  • Ukraine Says Malaysian Airliner Shot Down Near Russian Border (BBG)
  • Downing of airliner seen as pivotal moment in Ukraine crisis (Reuters)
  • Malaysian Air Flight Took Route Avoided by Qantas, Asiana (BBG)
  • Russian-Made Missile Hit Malaysia Jet, U.S. Officials Say (BBG)
  • Netanyahu Orders Military to Ready Wider Gaza Incursion (BBG)
  • Silvio Berlusconi Underage Sex Conviction Overturned (WSJ)
  • But... but... "economic patriotism" - AbbVie to Buy Shire for $54.8 Billion as Drug Deals Surge (BBG)
  • SEC targets 10 firms in high frequency trading probe - SEC document (Reuters)
  • Art bubble pop: Sotheby's to Lay Off 'Modest' Number of Employees (WSJ)
  • Moar Abenomics: Hermes Sales Trail Estimates as Japanese Revenue Declines (BBG)

Key Events In The Coming Busy Week

Now that the World Cup is over, and following last week's global macro reporting slumber (aside for the Portuguese risk flaring episode of course), things pick up quite a bit in the coming week. Here are the key events.

Geithner Confirms Mafia-Linked Berlusconi's Forced Ouster, But Says US Did Not "Have Blood On Our Hands"

Silvio Berlusconi - ironically nicknamed "The Teflon Don" - has been found to have done business with the Sicilian Mafia for nearly two decades, according to Italy's Supreme Court of Cassation in Rome. Having attacked the "biased judges" who called his actions "a continuous crime," Berlusconi wriggled out from under this result since the link to the Cosa Nostra was, as The Independent reports, via his conduit and former senator Marcello Dell’Utri who was sentenced to 7 years for mafia association. While this confirms as fact yet another conspiracy theory, the bigger story was the confirmation of a broad-based bloodless coup to ouster the Italian Prime Minister at the peak of the credit crisis. "At one point that fall, a few European officials approached us with a scheme to try to force Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi out of power," Tim Geithner writes in his new book, and after telling the President about "this surprising invitation," they decided not to get involved (publicly): "We can't have his blood on our hands."

Letta Resigns; Meet Italy's New Unelected Prime Minister

Matteo Renzi's Democratic Party has voted to back his proposal fore a new government... and Prime Minister Letta has resigned.

*DEMOCRATIC PARTY VOTES IN FAVOR OF RENZI PROPOSAL FOR NEW GOVT
*ITALY PREMIER LETTA SAYS HE WILL RESIGN

This will bring the 65th government in Italy since World War II and the 3rd consecutive government that would not have been elected (the last elected Prime Minister was Berlusconi in 2008).

 

Another Conspiracy Theory Becomes Fact: Meet The Men With The Plan Behind Italy's Bloodless Coup

The chart below is very familiar to anyone who was observing the hourly turmoil in the European bond market in November of 2011, when Italian bonds crashed, when yields soared to record levels, and every downtick of the Euro could have been its last. What the chart may not show are the dramatic transformations in Italy's government that took place just as the Italian bond spread exploded, which saw the resignation of career-politician Sylvio Berlusconi literally days after yields soared, and the instatement of Goldman technocrat Mario Monti as Italy's next Prime Minister. In fact as some, certainly this website, had suggested the blow out in Italian yields was merely a grand plan orchestrated to usher in a new Italian government that would, with the support of yet another Goldman alum, the ECB's then brand new head Mario Draghi, unleash a new era in Italian life, supposedly one of austerity, and which would give the impression that Europe is being fixed all the while preserving the broken European monetary system for at least another year or two. In other words a grand conspiracy theory of a pre-planned bloodless coup.... And so, as lately so often happens, courtesy of the narrative by Alan Friedman of what really happened that summer, this too conspiracy theory has just become conspiracy fact.

Italy Unveils Most Bizarre Bank Bailout Yet

On Wednesday, Italy's government voted final approval to a decree hiking the value of Bank of Italy's share capital from €156K to €7.5 billion - something that had not been done since the 1930s. Of course, politicians determining the fictitious value of a central bank is one thing, as idiotic as it may be. However, what is truly preposterous is the covert bailout that accompanies the decree: a key part of the decision was setting a 3% ceiling on the stake that the bank's shareholders can own in the central bank. This means, as Reuters reports, that Intessa and UniCredit, currently the central bank's largest shareholders with stakes of 42 percent and 22 percent respectively - not to mention two of Italy's most NPL-heavy banks - will have to sell the bulk of their central bank "equity" stakes. And who will they sell them to? Why the central bank itself, and in return they will pocket up to €3.5 billion ($4.7 billion) from the sale of their central bank holdings. Said otherwise, Italy took not only bizarro accounting, but also monetary financing of insolvent banks by the monetary authority, and thus Italy's taxpayers, to the truly next level.