#ThisIsACoup — the white-collar crime at the root of the Greek crisis

The Greek debt crisis began in 2001, when the Greek government’s national debt figures were arranged to be altered to facilitate the country’s entry into the euro currency. Goldman Sachs assisted the government to conceal its true debt figures from creditors — at the expense of multi-millions to the Greek state, and thus the Greek public. Greek government debt was issued in foreign currencies and then ‘swapped’ back into euros in trades that undermined the actual extent of the debt, erasing the amount exchanged from the official government records. Goldman Sachs banker Antigone Loudiadis was rewarded $12 million for her efforts in this book-cooking.

Since the Greek debt crisis began in 2010, international loans have been necessary to prevent the collapse of the financial institutions who profited from this fraud in order to avert the collapse of the Greek economy — an estimated ninety percent of the money lended has been provided to those financial institutions — but Greek society has been forced to bear the burden of the debt in the form of austerity, resulting in a humanitarian crisis of vastly increased suicide rates, disease, hunger and unemployment.

The eurozone ministers demanding more austerity for Greece have proposed the “de-politicization of the Greek administration” as one of their key demands. The rise of Syriza indicates to them that the self-determination of democracy is a liability if it challenges neoliberal orthodoxy the vested interests of the financial institutions whose white-collar criminality caused the crisis in the first place. Unsurprisingly, the cronies of the criminals are criminals themselves: Wolfgang Schaeuble has proposed that 50 billion euros of Greek state assets are transferred to a low-tax Luxembourg-based subsidiary of which he is the chairman.

Industrial grade white-collar criminality — motivated by ruthless embezzlement and profiteering built on the critical suffering and deprivation of millions — is fundamental to the motivation of the crisis of its own making.