Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How the mighty have fallen

Remember all the hullabaloo about the Dubai ports deal?  Almost without notice, Arabs have now obtained effective control of America’s largest bank, Citigroup (the new investment means that Abu Dhabi Investment Authority can obtain 4.9%, the largest single stake in the bank, and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal already has 3.9%).  This is described as an investment, but is actually a bailout, with the incredibly favorable terms to the investor reflecting the fact that the United States government couldn’t afford to let Citigroup fall into insolvency.  It is structured as a semi-loan – with an enormous rate of interest, reflecting the ‘junk bond’ status of the largest American bank –  that can be converted into equity at a price fixed at only slightly higher than its recent record low (the structuring of the deal appears to be a marvel of legal mumbo-jumbo engineered to avoid being either a loan or equity, either of which would screw up key financial ratios).  We’re not hearing complaints about it as the United States is so weak it can’t afford to turn down a bailout.

The Zionist – oh, I mean Jewish! –  aspects are interesting.  The deal was arranged by Robert Rubin (amongst many other things co-chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, whose most recent mini-scandal involved Enron), with the messy politics handled by Charles Schumer (who railed against the Dubai ports deal, which seems positively benign in comparison).  Citigroup’s ability to participate in the so-called ‘subprime crisis’ through its involvement in financial derivatives is as a result of the resistance to financial deregulation championed by . . . Robert Rubin (and Alan Greenspan), who was rewarded with big bucks by Citigroup itself, and now is earning those bucks by setting up the bailout!  Isn’t it wonderful how the Arabs and Jews can live in peace and harmony when huge sums of money are involved?