Pictures From A Latvian Bank Run As MF Global Commingling Comes To Town
If anyone is wondering why the collapse of MF Global after the discovery of its commingling and theft of client funds was the single worst thing that could happen to market confidence, then look no further than the small Baltic country of Latvia where precisely what Jon Corzine's firm did to its clients, has happened at the bank level. Businessweek reports: "Lithuanian prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Antonov and Raimondas Baranauskas who are former shareholders of Bankas Snoras AB. Both men are suspected of embezzlement and document forgery, the Prosecutor General said in a statement on its website today. Baranauskas is also suspected of accounting fraud and abuse of authority, it said." Kinda like Jon Corzine, if not by the actual authorities, then by everybody else. And just like in the US where the lack of confidence in the system following the MF filing, so in Latvia the people have decided to hit the ATMs first and ask questions later. "“This money was the bank’s clients’ money,” said Irena Krumane, head of Latvia’s bank regulator, on Latvian Television last night. Krajbanka will most likely be liquidated because the bank doesn’t have the resources to meet depositor and creditor demands unless the Lithuanian government decides to recapitalize the lender, said Janis Brazovskis, the lender’s administrator, in an interview with Latvian Independent Television program 900 Seconds today...Depositors can withdraw 50 lati a day beginning today for the rest of the week, said Krumane at a press conference." At today's rate this is about $95. Which is why what happened next, as shown in the pictures below, was to be completely expected, and is a perfect indicator of the collapse in liquidity and credibility of our own system where commingling, unlike in Latvia, goes unpunished.