On May 7th, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, or German Economic News, headlined, “USA planen mit TTIP Frontal-Angriff auf Gerichte in Europa” or “U.S. Plans Frontal Attack on Europe’s Courts via TTIP,” and reported that, “America’s urgency to sign TTIP with Europe has solid reason: Megabanks must protect themselves from claims by European investors who allege that they were cheated during the debt crisis. … The U.S. Ambassador to Italy has now let the cat out of the bag on this — probably unintentionally.”
In this particular case, the megabank that’s being sued isn’t American but German, Deutsche Bank, which the U.S. Ambassador to Italy has cited as his example to defend, perhaps so as to appeal to Germans to protect their megabanks against lawsuits from foreign investors (such as Italians) who complain. In that case it was investors in the Italian city of Trani, population 53,000. The smallness of the city was an issue the Ambassador raised against the suit’s having been brought there.
Reuters headlined on May 6th, “Italian prosecutor investigates Deutsche Bank over 2011 bond sale”, and reported that, “An Italian prosecutor is investigating Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) over its sale of 7 billion euros ($8 billion) of Italian government bonds five years ago, an investigative source told Reuters. A prosecutor in Trani, a town in southern Italy, is investigating because Deutsche Bank allegedly told clients in a research note in early 2011 that Italy’s public debt was no cause for concern, and then sold almost 90 percent of its own holding of the country’s bonds.” The U.S. bond-rating agencies are also subjects in this suit, because Trani had relied upon their ratings of those bonds.
The Obama Administration (through its Italian Ambassador) seems thus to be saying, in effect, that unless TTIP is passed into law, Europe’s megabanks (and the U.S. bond-rating agencies, S&P, Moody’s and Fitch) will be able successfully to be sued by cheated investors, just as has been happening with such American banks as JPMorgan/Chase and Goldman Sachs in the United States, which — since TTIP hasn’t yet been in force anywhere, including in the U.S. — were forced to pay billions to cheated investors. Apparently, Obama would be happier if those suits had been impossible in the U.S. The argument here, though only implicitly, seems to be that TTIP is the way to protect megabanks and the bond-rating firms. It concerns specifically the selling of sophisticated derivative investments.
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