Portugal Is Latest Country To Go "MF Global", Raid Pensions Funds To Delay Fiscal Death

Tyler Durden's picture

About a year ago, we discussed the very troubling moves by insolvent countries such as Ireland and Hungary to "raid" their pensions funds for various fungible purposes, a move which in virtually every way a was a progenitor to the MF Global capital commingling, if not outright bankruptcy, and was explained as reflecting "a willingness by governments to use long-term assets to fill short-term deficits, including Ireland’s announcement last week that it would use the country’s €24bn National Pensions  Reserve Fund “to support the exchequer’s funding programme” and Hungary’s bid to claw $15bn of private pension funds back to the state system." While it was unclear precisely what the use of funds was, back then FN speculated that it pension funds were being tapped to boost sovereign debt bids. Which if true means that Europe's peripheral pensioners have seen about a 20% drop in the NPV of their retirement assets. Today we add Portugal to the list of countries committing an MF Global type crime on a global scale: the Telegraph writes: "Portugal has raided €5.6bn (£4.8bn) of pension fund assets in a controversial scramble to meet its deficit targets." And since the money is once again implicitly and explicitly used to patch broken fiscal models, it is as good as gone. Which in a paradoxical way is almost welcome, as the true Arab Spring will not come to Europe (and America) until the citizens don't read, in clear writing, that their welfare state entitlement benefits are gone.... They are all gone. And at that point there will be truly nothing left to lose.

From Telegraph:

The cabinet agreed to transfer the assets from four of Portugal’s biggest banks to the state balance sheet.


The assets will be used to bridge a gap needed to meet the fiscal deficit target of 5.9pc of GDP set by the terms of the country’s €78bn bail-out from around 10pc in 2010.


"This measure is more than sufficient to meet the budget deficit goal in 2011," said Helder Rosalino, secretary of state for central administration, on Friday.


Portugal said it had informed the EU and IMF and assured them it would be a “one-off”. However the 2010 budget was met by shifting three pension plans from Portugal Telecom on to the public social security system. The liabilities don’t count, yet.


There have been no complaints from Eurostat but Raoul Ruperal from Open Europe said: “This can’t be seen as a future revenue stream in any way.”

We wonder if "one-off" in this case is the same "one-off" that was supposed to happen when the Fed bailed out the world's banks in a "one-off" event... over and over and over.

h/t Dylan

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GeneMarchbanks's picture

MF has gone Global!


Corzine, the largest pile of steaming hot walrus shit to emerge from the US since Ken Lay.

Careless Whisper's picture

The Careless Whisper Saturday Update Because Drudge Is Sleeping


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CH1's picture

Yeah, Drudge has been sleeping a lot lately.

Ah well, it was good while it lasted. :(

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

A man's gotta drink! 

I mean eat! 

I mean sleep.  A man's gotta sleep.

Manthong's picture

Good thing the treasury already looted our social security system.. nothing left to steal.

Unless they can synthisize a swap and borrow against the reserves that SS Administration has.. just think about that one for a moment.

Oh.. and has Geithner paid FERS back for the $ .25 Trillion he appropriated from them before the debt increase?

And those funds were credited to employees accounts through deficit spending and corresponding borrowed money (treasuries).

So the treasury created a loan based on funds that came from a loan.


valley chick's picture

Good question about FERS.  I saw it coming thanks to a friend and chose to withdrawl in full...pay my taxes (would have to anyhow) pay the penalty (dollar devaluing anyhow) and at least have something left.

Got physical?

Manthong's picture

Next one to go will probably be whatever is left in the postal pensions.

God only knows how they are going to handle that black hole except that they will have to be involved somehow.

Most folks don't even know they were turned into a GSE  few years back, but that really doesn't matter because they(we) are on the hook one way or the other.

Sure don't want to see the entire postal service going postal.

UP Forester's picture

Wait til vets' beneficiaries actually figure this out, starting a couple years ago:


Trust us, the money's in the bank, check's in the mail, we're totally solvent!  Just like MF Global!


Bendromeda Strain's picture

Good question about FERS.  I saw it coming thanks to a friend and chose to withdrawl in full...pay my taxes (would have to anyhow) pay the penalty (dollar devaluing anyhow) and at least have something left.

That was an option. I chose to "gamble" on a TSP loan, paid it (myself) back, and opened another loan. I have to admit, when you think about instability and timing, it would be easier just to do what you did and take the tax hit, but so far "milking the cow" has worked according to plan.

Got physical?

The only retirement insurance to feel good about.

Normalcy Bias's picture

Don't forget, Democrats have been working themselves into a lather for years thinking of ways to nationalize individual retirement accounts.

sessinpo's picture

sleep eat sex shit in no particular order

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

Thank you CW.  It has been too quite on the news front for a day.

Carlyle Groupie's picture

Grandma Bloodied At TSA Strip Search; Pants Down At JFK Airport
......TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein

A nice jewish girl protecting her host country.

Careless Whisper's picture

You would think that Jews and Blacks would be strong Constitutionalists, just based on history lessons.

PulauHantu29's picture

Let me ask Goldman and Sachs about that....

MobBarley's picture

The old testament refers to the Jewish God as 'The Lord of Hosts'

THe Host with the most.

Oi LaVey

Hedge Fund of One's picture

... after the strip search of a fellow jewish girl.

Carlyle Groupie's picture

So what are you saying, it's a scam so the jews have another method to fleece US taxpayers?

Now all the jews will get 'brutalized', 'abused', 'holocausted' by TSA and their sons will sue for distress because their moms beanie was tossed?

It's another nice day for the slaves.

sabra1's picture

hey TSA fools! betcha all have cancer working in those open microwave ovens! hope y'all have great medicade! you're gonna need it, suckers! to all nurses and doctors, if you've got a TSA agent that's bedridden, strip 'em down, and leave 'em! extra bonus if you shove objects up their butts!!!!!

DutchR's picture

Combat dressed swat teams with automatic weapons?

USA,  such a fine country you've become........

Which is worse - bankers or terrorists's picture

Europe is no longer a going concern. Sell off the good assets, convert the debt into equity....

sunnydays's picture

Coming to the U.S. soon.  They stole the taxpayers money by taxes through bailouts.  That was not enough.  Then they got the Federal Pensions, that will not be enough.  Soon without warning everyone's money in their IRAs - and accounts will be taken..... but that will not be enough...... what will be after that..


The countries won't stop until they have every last penny from everyone.

CatoTheElder's picture

It really is unfair to compare Ken Lay to Jon Corzine.

Sure, Lay's Enron made some really, really bad investment and trading decisions, grossly overpaid their executives, and used phony accounting to cover up their failures. But even Enron didn't brazenly steal money out of its customers accounts. Lay, Skilling and Fastow were really mundane financial fraudsters, albeit their scam was on a massive scale.

Jon Corzine has well and truly blazed new frontiers in financial fraud.

Like Ann Barnhardt says, Jon Corzine is not a stupid person. He didn't wake up one morning and think to himself, "I'm going to steal a billion dollars from customer accounts." Instead, he engineered the theft such that his political connections would allow him to get away with it.

Similarly, it's unfair to use steaming hot walrus shit to describe Corzine. You're confusing crap with crapitalism (ie, CRony cAPITALISM.)

max2205's picture

Timmaugh did it so now he's pushing it. Pensioners will die off through govt policies anyway and govts know they'll never have to pay 50% of liabilities. Perfect forecasting right?

Akrunner907's picture

The US has been raiding Social Security for years........and all that is left behind is special treasury receipts.  All the receipients will have to stand in line to collect from the treasury.

Normalcy Bias's picture

I dunno. I think both Mssrs. Soetoro and Madoff make Corzine look like a piker.

nmewn's picture

But but but...they praaahhhmised!!! Its gubmint digitized paper! In in in a gubmint maintained digitized account!!!

When ya ain't got nuthin, ya got nuthin to lose kid.

Kayman's picture

It is a very dangerous situation when people have nothing left to lose.

nmewn's picture

Not to worry...our best & brightest are workin on it ;-)

cossack55's picture

I thought Bobby "bomb em all" McNamara was dead.

Abitdodgie's picture

"It is a very dangerous situation when people have nothing left to lose". Are you joking people have lost everything and still dont have the balls to do anything .America amounts to fat fucks that will take it up the ass forever, and if somone did make a stand they would be by themselves because all the spineless would come up withan excuse as why not to join. 

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

But maybe, just maybe, you've been delivered.

Sudden Debt's picture

It actually stops right there. I've got my pension which comes in 30 years from. Ow already coverd ( i think) but for those who rely on a state pension of 800 euro a month it's already bad and if that one crumbles, god help us all!
What can they do? The retired i mean.
Over here retirerd people are allowed to go back to work to make a extra income, but who the fuck wants to go back into the workforce at age 70?
And what will they do? Clean toilets?

Kayman's picture

Just talked to a government employee on Thursday. He's retiring next year at age 57, will be collecting his government pension, and is going to work for... the government under contract.

What the fuck ?  Does anyone that collects a government paycheck understand the taxes, borrowing, and printing this takes ?  No wonder everything is going to hell.

Print, Benny, print, let's get this fire going !

KK Tipton's picture

They got *theirs* and that's *all* that actually matters to them.
Like rats....for real.

Never mind where or who the "money" came from.
These kinds of people would sell out anyone to save themselves.
Zero integrity.


r00t61's picture

I met a million and one people like this when I was in DoD Civil Service.  In fact, under Secretary Rumsfeld's tenure, this practice was encouraged, because, due to some accounting shenanigans, it was considered "cheaper" to hire contractors than it was to hire actual government workers.  We called it "the purge."  Once Secretary Gates came in, he canceled most of Rumsfeld's intitiatives, including this one, and so the government had to spend even more money re-hiring/re-training government workers that had been reassigned ("reprogrammed") to other commands during the "purge."

Most of my fellow government workers were pretty astute, and they generally seemed to understand the iron triangle of printing, taxes, and borrowing, but they had mortgages to pay, and kids to put through school, and they weren't about to screw all that up just because the government was going broke before their very eyes.

UP Forester's picture

I had the "pleasure" of working some Forest Circus "contracts" back in '07.  At the Baldwin field office of the Huron-Manistee N.F., where they hadn't had a timber sale in over three years and most of the forest was falling down, and they were clearing areas to protect the Blue Karner Butterfly (endangered), I heard this from downstairs, as four of the ten "workers" were talking:

"Well, it's the first of the month.  Our welfare checks must be in."


Man, was I pissed that these useless fucks could sit around, circle jerk, and have Uncle Sugar farm out the work they should have been doing to one of the few "contractors" in the state that could actually plow through the twenty-something pages of forms to "qualify" to do the USFS's job for "cheaper" than they could.

mjk0259's picture

Not unique to government. I know people in private sector that do this. Course, not  for long as almost no one young has a pension in private sector US anymore.

Raging Debate's picture

It will go back to older times where the parents shack up with the kids. The kids work and the parents help tend the home, contribute a few hundred toward the food and energy bill and watch the Grandkids.

Those unfortunates without family will be in awful poorly run State facilities. Ageing folks don't live long with medical rationing, poor nutrition and being cold due to choosing between expensive medicine and energy.

americanspirit's picture

I'm 70 and I'll clean toilets. Then go to work at my second job as a short-order cook. Watch what you eat! And speaking of eating - check out what real men eat


r00t61's picture

Hope he flosses to get those feathers out of his teeth.

collon88's picture

But a big difference between Europe and the US is that US citizens have several hundred million firearms and Europeans (sans the Swiss of course) have none.  I expect "blood in the streets" and martial law before it's all over.  I hope I'm wrong.  

Sudden Debt's picture

It's true in the cities as there's a big control over there but at the country side, you would notice that ever roadsign has bullet holes.
Hunting rifles are big business in europe and even if open gun trade is illegal, i know a few place where you can buy guns and get them by mail.
There are also a hughe amount of antique weapons. Which are totally unaccounted for.
Second: look at the bosnian war. Anybody with a little bit of technical skills cn make a working gun. You can even make a pipe gun in 10 minutes and cartouches can be bought everywhere.

johny2's picture

people can take a lot of hardship before they will actually rebel. Europeans and Americans are not even close to being hungry enough to rebel. The revoluton will start somewhere like India or China...and it won't be pretty.

cossack55's picture

You have heard about SB 1867 passing 97-3, yes?

Abitdodgie's picture

The only thing Americans do with there firearms is polish them.