By Neil McCabe
A former MF Global employee accused former president William J. Clinton of collecting $50,000 per month through his Teneo advisory firm in the months before the brokerage careened towards its Halloween filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Teneo was hired by MF Global’s former CEO Jon S. Corzine to improve his image and to enhance his connections with Clinton’s political family, said the employee, who asked that his name be withheld because he feared retribution.
“They were supposed to be helping Corzine improve his image as a CEO—I guess you can tell how that went,” he said. Corzine resigned as CEO and chairman November 4.
Before Corzine joined MF Global in May 2010, the firm was a smart and well-run commodities broker, a culture that was turned upside-down by his leadership style, he said.
“The traders would be shaking their heads,” he said. “They would come back to their desk and say, ‘Well, I thought we were going to do this—but Corzine would come by and do something else all by himself,’” he said.
The Teneo contract with MF Global lasted at least five months, he said. “The board cancelled it after Corzine resigned.”
The source, who is no longer associated with MF Global, said Teneo is a dual-track company with one side devoted to merchant and investment banking and the other side set up to provide image and strategy consulting services.
Clinton is the chairman of the company’s advisory board. His duties and compensation have not been released. The other member of the board is former British prime minister Tony Blair.
Two of the three founding partners are very close to the former president and his wife, Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton. They are Douglas J. Band, who is the former president’s counselor and has served on his personal staff since 1995 and Declan Kelly, who earned the “Hillraiser” status in the secretary’s 2008 run for president for bundling more than $100,000 for the campaign.
Another prominent member of the Clinton political family is Tom Shea. Shea is a senior vice president for Teneo Strategy and served as Corzine’s chief of staff, when Corzine was the governor of New Jersey.
Kelly sold his public relations firm Financial Dynamics in 2006 to FTI for $340 million, and stayed with that company until July 2009, when he joined the State Department as the Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland.
The source said, “Kelly was given a job they created out our whole cloth.” The job did not exist previously.
“He basically got to ride around developing a book of business, while he waited for his non-compete clause to run out,” he said.
Kelley and the former president traveled together networking and making introductions at international conferences and events, he said.
The Secretary of State also traveled with Kelly, including the October 2010 U.S. – Northern Ireland Economics Conference, which Kelly organized and at which the secretary was the featured speaker.
The secretary announced that she accepted Kelly’s resignation May 11.
Teneo landed its first major client June 1, when the Rockefeller Foundation gave Teneo a $3,447,150, six-month contract to help plan the foundation’s 2013 centennial.
The foundation is another member of the Clinton’s extended family. It gave Clinton its Lifetime Innovation Achievement Award July 27 and the foundation is listed as a between $1 to $5 million contributor to the William J. Clinton Foundation, along with several members of the Rockefeller family who are listed as individual contributors.
[In the preparation of this story, several emails and phone calls were placed to Teneo, MF Global and the State Department for comment. In each case, there was no response.]
(Source: human events )
by Greg Palast for In These Times
Here’s what we’re told:
Greece’s economy blew apart because a bunch of olive-spitting, ouzo-guzzling, lazy-ass Greeks refuse to put in a full day’s work, retire while they’re still teenagers, pocket pensions fit for a pasha; and they’ve gone on a social-services spending spree using borrowed money. Now that the bill has come due and the Greeks have to pay with higher taxes and cuts in their big fat welfare state, they run riot, screaming in the streets, busting windows and burning banks.
I don’t buy it. I don’t buy it because of the document in my hand marked, “RESTRICTED DISTRIBUTION.”
I’ll cut to the indictment: Greece is a crime scene. The people are victims of a fraud, a scam, a hustle and a flim-flam. And––cover the children’s ears when I say this––a bank named Goldman Sachs is holding the smoking gun.
This is an adaptation of an excerpt from Vultures’ Picnic, Greg Palast’s new book, out next week, an investigator’s pursuit of petroleum pigs, power pirates and high-finance fraudsters. Read the first chapter or just get the book here.
In 2002, Goldman Sachs secretly bought up €2.3 billion in Greek government debt, converted it all into yen and dollars, then immediately sold it back to Greece.
Goldman took a huge loss on the trade.
Is Goldman that stupid?
Goldman is stupid—like a fox. The deal was a con, with Goldman making up a phony-baloney exchange rate for the transaction. Why?
Goldman had cut a secret deal with the Greek government in power then. Their game: to conceal a massive budget deficit. Goldman’s fake loss was the Greek government’s fake gain.
Goldman would get repayment of its “loss” from the government at loan-shark rates.
The point is, through this crazy and costly legerdemain, Greece’s right-wing free-market government was able to pretend its deficits never exceeded 3 percent of GDP.
Cool. Fraudulent but cool.
But flim-flam isn’t cheap these days: On top of murderous interest payments, Goldman charged the Greeks over a quarter billion dollars in fees.
When the new Socialist government of George Papandreou came into office, they opened up the books and Goldman’s bats flew out. Investors’ went berserk, demanding monster interest rates to lend more money to roll over this debt.
Greece’s panicked bondholders rushed to buy insurance against the nation going bankrupt. The price of the bond-bust insurance, called a credit default swap (or CDS), also shot through the roof. Who made a big pile selling the CDS insurance? Goldman.
And those rotting bags of CDS’s sold by Goldman and others? Didn’t they know they were handing their customers gold-painted turds?
That’s Goldman’s specialty. In 2007, at the same time banks were selling suspect CDS’s and CDOs (packaged sub-prime mortgage securities), Goldman held a “net short” position against these securities. That is, Goldman was betting their financial “products” would end up in the toilet. Goldman picked up another half a billion dollars on their “net short” scam.
But, instead of cuffing Goldman’s CEO Lloyd Blankfein and parading him in a cage through the streets of Athens, we have the victims of the frauds, the Greek people, blamed. Blamed and soaked for the cost of it. The “spread” on Greek bonds (the term used for the risk premium paid on Greece’s corrupted debt) has now risen to — get ready for this––$14,000 per family per year.
Euro-nation, the secret Geithner memo, and the Ecuador connection
Why did the Greek government throw its nation’s fate into Goldman’s greasy hands? What the heck was in the “RESTRICTED” document? And why did I have to take it to Geneva, to throw it down in front of the Director-General of the WTO for authentication, a creepy French banker I otherwise wouldn’t bother to spit on, and then tear off to Quito to share it with the grateful President of Ecuador?
To give you all the answers would require me to write a book. I have: Vultures’ Picnic––in Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Fraudsters.
It’s really quite important to me that you read it, that you get it now. That’s a funny statement, I suppose, from an author. But if you’ve been reading my stories in The Guardian or watching my reports on BBC Newsnight, you’ve gotten the facts; but I really want to let you inside the investigations, to cross the continents with me and follow down the leads so that you can get a full picture of The Beasts. The Beasts and their trophy wives, intelligence agency go-fers, political concubines and bone-breakers. And besides, it’s enormous fun when it’s not scary as sh*t.
Here’s a taste of Chapter 12 – The Generalissimo of Globalization – from the film-enhanced eBook edition. [And more on the 1% Greece-ing us, check out the upcoming issue of In These Times.]
Greece will be cut adrift if bail-out is refused, says EU
Greece last night faced the threat of bankruptcy within weeks after the EU said it would not provide any more funding to the beleaguered country unless it agreed to support the euro bail-out.
The Greek government is expected to be unable to pay wages for state workers and pensions next month without a planned injection of £8billion of EU cash.
George Papandreou, the Greek prime minister, met his French and German counterparts ahead of today’s G20 summit of world leaders.
Mr Papandreou has called a referendum on whether the Greek public supports the bail–out. The decision has plunged the rescue into turmoil.
After more than two hours of tense talks in Cannes, Mr Papandreou announced that the referendum would probably be held on Dec 4. He said: “This is a question of whether we want to remain in the eurozone; that’s very clear.”