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International Monetary Fund’s Rogues Gallery. Crooks, Rapists and Swindlers

By James Petras :: 12.25.2015

Introduction

The IMF is the leading international monetary agency whose public purpose is to maintain the stability of the global financial system through loans linked to proposals designed to enhance economic recovery and growth.

In fact, the IMF has been under the control of the US and Western European states and its policies have been designed to further the expansion, domination and profits of their leading multi-national corporations and financial institutions.

The US and European states practice a division of powers: The executive directors of the IMF are Europeans; their counterparts in the World Bank (WB) are from the US.

The executive directors of the IMF and WB operate in close consultation with their governments and especially the Treasury Departments in deciding priorities, deciding what countries will receive loans, under what terms and how much.

The loans and terms set by the IMF are closely coordinated with the private banking system. Once the IMF signs an agreement with a debtor country, it is a signal for the big private banks to lend, invest and proceed with a multiplicity of favorable financial transactions. From the above it can be deduced that the IMF plays the role of general command for the global financial system.

The IMF lays the groundwork for the major banks’ conquest of the financial systems of the world’s vulnerable states.

The IMF assumes the burden of doing all the dirty work through its intervention. This includes the usurpation of sovereignty, the demand for privatization and reduction of social expenditures, salaries, wages and pensions, as well as ensuring the priority of debt payments. The IMF acts as the ‘blind’ for the big banks by deflecting political critics and social unrest.

Executive Directors as Hatchet Persons

What kind of persons do the banks support as executive directors of the IMF? Whom do they entrust with the task of violating the sovereign rights of a country, impoverishing its people and eroding its democratic institutions?

They have included a convicted financial swindler; the current director is facing prosecution on charges of mishandling public funds as a Finance minister; a rapist; an advocate of gunboat diplomacy and the promotor of the biggest financial collapse in a country’s history.

IMF Executive Directors on Trial

The current executive director of the IMF (July 2011-2015) Christine Lagarde is on trial in France for misappropriation of a $400-million-dollar payoff to tycoon Bernard Tapie while she was Finance Minister in the government of President Sarkozy.

The previous executive director (November 2007-May 2011), Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was forced to resign after he was charged with raping a chambermaid in a New York hotel and was later arrested and tried for pimping in the city of Lille, France.

His predecessor, Rodrigo Rato (June 2004-October 2007), was a Spanish banker who was arrested and charged with tax evasion, concealing 27 million euros in seventy overseas banks and swindling thousands of small investors whom he convinced to put their money in a Spanish bank, Bankia, that went bankrupt.

His predecessor a German, Horst Kohler, resigned after he stated an unlikely verity – namely that overseas military intervention was necessary to defend German economic interests, such as free trade routes. It’s one thing for the IMF to act as a tool for imperial interests; it is another for an IMF executive to speak about it publicly!

Michel Camdessus (January 1987-February 2000) was the author of the “Washington Consensus” the doctrine that underwrote the global neo-liberal counter-revolution. His term of office witnessed his embrace and financing of some of the worst dictators of the time, including his own photo-ops with Indonesian strongman and mass murderer, General Suharto.

Under Camdessus, the IMF collaborated with Argentine President Carlos Menem in liberalizing the economy, deregulating financial markets and privatizing over a thousand enterprises. The crises, which ensued, led to the worst depression in Argentine history, with over 20,000 bankruptcies, 25% unemployment and poverty rates exceeding 50% in working class districts . . . Camdessus later regretted his “policy mistakes” with regard to the Argentine’s collapse. He was never arrested or charged with crimes against humanity.

Conclusion

The criminal behavior of the IMF executives is not an anomaly or hindrance to their selection. On the contrary, they were selected because they reflect the values, interests and behavior of the global financial elite: Swindles, tax evasion, bribery, large-scale transfers of public wealth to private accounts are the norm for the financial establishment. These qualities fit the needs of bankers who have confidence in dealing with their ‘mirror-image’ counterparts in the IMF.

The international financial elite needs IMF executives who have no qualms in using double standards and who overlook gross violations of its standard procedures. For example, the current executive director, Christine Lagarde, lends $30 billion to the puppet regime in the Ukraine, even though the financial press describes in great detail how corrupt oligarchs have stolen billions with the complicity of the political class (Financial Times, 12/21/15, pg. 7). The same Lagarde changes the rules on debt repayment allowing the Ukraine to default on its payment of its sovereign debt to Russia. The same Lagarde insists that the center-right Greek government further reduce pensions in Greece below the poverty level, provoking the otherwise accommodating regime of Alexis Tsipras to call for the IMF to stay out of the bailout (Financial Times, 12/21/15, pg.1).

Clearly the savage cut in living standards, which the IMF executives decree everywhere is not unrelated to their felonious personal history. Rapists, swindlers, militarists, are just the right people to direct an institution as it impoverishes the 99% and enriches the 1% of the super-rich.

December 28, 2015 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Condi Rice, Christine Lagarde: Cowardice at Commencement

By William Boardman | Reader Supported News | May 14, 2014

What would you expect from powerful people, personal courage?

The American Condoleeza Rice, 60, Iraq War architect, and the French Christine Lagarde, 58, International Monetary Fund managing director, have little in common beyond being women of power who have contributed to the misery of millions of people they never cared to meet. And now they have another quality in common, cowardice under fire, albeit only verbal fire after they were invited to speak at college commencements.

Rutgers University invited Rice to speak (for $35,000 and an honorary degree) and Smith College invited Lagarde (compensation undisclosed).

Student and faculty objections to Rice started in February and continued to grow for months. The Rutgers administration held firm, Rice kept quiet. On April 28, some 50 students staged a sit-in at the Rutgers president’s office. The president refused to talk with them and they dispersed when Rutgers threatened to arrest them.

In a letter ironically foreshadowing his bald hypocrisy on free speech and academic freedom, Rutgers president Robert Barchi had written in March:

We cannot protect free speech or academic freedom by denying others the right to an opposing view, or by excluding those with whom we may disagree. Free speech and academic freedom cannot be determined by any group. They cannot insist on consensus or popularity.

Students and faculty objected to Rice for her participation in lying her country into war in Iraq, and even more so for her defense of widespread American use of torture in the “global war on terror.” An online petition by a 1991 Rutgers grad collected 694 signatures opposed to Rice, and campus petitions gathered hundreds more. In a lucid indictment of Rice’s apparent criminality, published in The Chronicle of Higher Education the day before Rice withdrew, Rutgers history professor Jackson Lears wrote:

Rice sanctioned the use of torture and has continued to defend it even after a top aide warned that she and her colleagues were violating the law. To invite her to address the Rutgers graduating class, and then to award her a doctor-of-laws degree, is a travesty of all the ideals the university embodies. Our students deserve better. Most of all, they deserve the truth.

Officially, Rutgers showed no interest in truth, history, morality, etc.

Rice did not engage issues like war or torture in her withdrawal statement, arguing instead that the crucial issue was the party-time nature of commencements. She said she was “honored to have served my country,” without mentioning any specifics. She did not explain why her controversial performance in office wasn’t as obvious to her in February as it became in May. Bowing out of the May 18 graduation as of May 3, Rice’s statement on her Facebook page read in part:

Commencement should be a time of joyous celebration for the graduates and their families. Rutgers’ invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time…. I understand and embrace the purpose of the commencement ceremony and I am simply unwilling to detract from it in any way.

Despite Rice’s belated withdrawal, Rutgers faculty and students went ahead with a planned, six-hour teach-in on May 6 because, as three participating professors wrote, “we concluded that the need remained for a scholarly exposition of Dr. Rice’s responsibility in the lies leading to the Iraq war and the implementation of the unprecedented torture policies under the Bush administration.”

In an exercise of actual academic freedom, Rice was invited to the teach-in when it was first planned, but she did not attend. President Barchi expressed the corporate position that Rutgers stood “fully behind” inviting Rice to the commencement (where only the speaker has freedom of speech). The teach-in (on YouTube) began shortly after that official statement, and the professors wrote:

It was an event that will be remembered because there has not been one like it for a very long time. The lecture room of the Student Activities Center was packed by a crowd of more than two hundred students and faculty members, many sitting on the floor, others standing anywhere they could, all listening with the utmost attention to the poignant speech of human rights attorney Jumana Musa, then to the illuminating exposés of our panelists, to whom Rutgers University – the real Rutgers – is forever indebted.

And we all stood up to applaud the six students who represented the ‘No to Rice’ movement that organized the demonstrations of the last ten days: the enthusiastic commitment they expressed to humanistic values was a reminder that there is real hunger among our students for more knowledge of history, of foreign cultures, of the very notion of ‘culture,’ of political science, of economics, as well as a deep interest in questions related to ethics, public policy and the place of media in our culture. Students like these give a special meaning – and responsibility – to our teaching and research.

Rutgers was against students learning about unapproved reality

No free speech was harmed in the unfolding of these events, except at the Rutgers president’s office (where student speech was met with threats of arrest). By cutting and running, Condoleezza may have lost a paid venue (her net worth is about $4 million), but she has hardly been muzzled; on the contrary, her exercise of her own free speech got us into a deceitful, destructive failure of a war for which millions of Iraqis continue to pay with their own freedom and lives. The Rutgers administration lost students’ respect for promoting an apparent war criminal, but there’s no sign the administration is sensitive to any of that.

Academic freedom is a big winner at Rutgers, where faculty let some air and light into the discussion of 15 years of American crimes against humanity that are usually left to fester down the memory hole. And perhaps the biggest winners are Rutgers students, whose determined integrity allowed their voices to be heard on an issue of principle that the Rutgers administration got wrong on both substance and morality.

Like Rutgers, Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, announced its choice of commencement speaker in February and protest began soon after, but the two protests are very different responses to two very important elephants in our collective cultural-political living room. Where Rice is emblematic of the elephant of illegal war, torture, war crimes, and crimes against humanity about which we are not supposed to speak, Lagarde represents the much tidier elephant of financial plunder and economic “austerity” that probably leaves millions more innocent people to suffer and die without hope.

It’s not that Christine Lagarde sold people an illegal war as Rice did, but as head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) since 2011, she carries out a prior ordained policy that is as inhumane as it is merciless. In Ukraine now, some people are hoping that $17.1 billion from the IMF will somehow help to save a country that can hardly pay for gas these days. But that $17.1 billion is not a gift, it is a loan to a country that can’t support its current debt load, and so, thanks to the IMF, Ukraine can look forward to another decade or more of even worse debt servitude than it has suffered in the past. The IMF’s $17.1 billion is typically reported as a good deed, but there are 46 million Ukrainians (except for a small number of oligarchs and bankers) who will have no reason to be grateful for this “beneficence.” The IMF has just bought the right to be the unelected ruler of Ukraine, and the purchase is so sweet, the Ukrainians will have to pay for it – with interest.

Objections to Lagarde are institutional and philosophical

Christine Lagarde is a well-regarded attorney whose specialties were antitrust and labor issues. She has held several French government posts, including Minister of Finance. She was the first female chairman of the international law firm Baker & McKenzie. She is an undeniably accomplished woman about whom the worst, easily available personal criticism is her apparent callousness toward the Greeks in 2012. Any real skeletons she may have remain tucked away in her closet.

Opposition to Lagarde at Smith was not personal, as an online petition made clear:

By selecting Ms. Lagarde as the commencement speaker we are supporting the International Monetary Fund and thus going directly against Smith’s values to stand in unity with equality for all women, regardless of race, ethnicity or class. Although we do not wish to disregard all of Ms. Lagarde’s accomplishments as a strong female leader in the world, we also do not want to be represented by someone whose work directly contributes to many of the systems that we are taught to fight against. By having her speak at our commencement, we would be publicly supporting and acknowledging her, and thus the IMF.

Even if we give Ms. Lagarde the benefit of the doubt, and recognize that she is just a good person working in a corrupt system, we should not by any means promote or encourage the values and ideals that the IMF fosters. The IMF has been a primary culprit in the failed developmental policies implanted in some of the world’s poorest countries. This has led directly to the strengthening of imperialist and patriarchal systems that oppress and abuse women worldwide.

Smith’s trustees haven’t said why they wanted to honor the IMF

Not surprisingly, Smith’s administration stood by its invitation to Lagarde, and there is little evidence of campus ferment even at the low level on the Rutgers campus. There was one report of a quiet campus sit-in by 40 students earlier in May. But apparently Lagarde is thin-skinned as well as guarded in her public persona. According to Smith president Kathleen McCarthy in a May 12 letter to the college community, Lagarde withdrew “in the wake of anti-IMF protests from faculty and students, including a few who wrote directly to her,” which might seem pretty thin-skinned for someone with a net worth of $4 million (and annual, untaxed income of about $630,000) whom Forbes ranked as the 7th most powerful woman (35th most powerful person) in the world.

According to McCarthy, Lagarde retreated with the same lame excuse Rice used, not wanting to be a party-pooper. As quoted by McCarthy, Lagarde wrote: In the last few days, it has become evident that a number of students and faculty members would not welcome me as a commencement speaker. I respect their views, and I understand the vital importance of academic freedom. However, to preserve the celebratory spirit of commencement day, I believe it is best to withdraw my participation.

Back in February, Lagarde observed that income inequality was increasing globally, citing the United States and India in particular. Delivering a lecture in London, she said, “In India, the net worth of the billionaire community increased twelve-fold in 15 years, enough to eliminate absolute poverty in this country twice over…. [Inequality] leads to an economy of exclusion, and a wasteland of discarded potential.” She did not suggest doing anything particular about this kind of global impoverishment for the vast majority of people on the planet.

Reaction to Lagarde’s reneging on a commitment is reportedly mixed on the Smith campus. Unlike at Rutgers, there is no teach-in or other communal effort to explore the issues raised by IMF activities. The argument, as in President McCarthy’s letter, is limited to supporting or opposing the choice of a speaker, and is not about the vast damage the IMF does in the name of economic stability. And it’s also not about the startling cowardice of a powerful woman who can’t find the wee bit of courage it might take to face a bunch of 20-something, well-mannered Smith College women who might disagree with her or even, God forbid, say something rude to a global administrator of cruel and unusual policies. What is it with these people who lack the fortitude to speak to an audience not in total awe of their magnificent selves?

As Katherine Sumner, Smith ’14, wrote: “It was in a Smith classroom that I first learned about the problems that the IMF has wrought on the Global South, and how those problems have affected women’s lives for the worse. As a graduating senior, I would be disappointed, to say the least, if a representative of that institution were honored and endorsed by a community that I am a part of.”

Needless to say, that is not the perspective with which this story is covered in mainstream media, where actual issues of substance and the events are presented with a tone of supercilious trivialization, as in the Washington Post story that began: “The commencement speaker purity bug has hit Smith College.” [Emphasis added.]

Rice and Lagarde were not subjected to “commencement speaker purity” or any other form of censorship. They were faced with coherent intellectual challenges to the core value of some of their most significant activities, and they did not rise to that challenge. And they bailed. They exercised self-censorship, deploying a spurious excuse rather than even attempting to engage in a serious debate. They did not act boldly and address the legitimate concerns of students and faculty with honesty and respect. That would have been too close to actual academic freedom. Instead these women of power fled the field rather than face an audience that might show disappointment. They retreated when the game wasn’t rigged in their favor; they folded when the institution failed to guarantee them commencement audience purity.

May 17, 2014 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , | Comments Off on Condi Rice, Christine Lagarde: Cowardice at Commencement

IMF chief escapes indictment in corruption case

PressTVGlobalNews · May 25, 2013

The Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR) has not pressed criminal charges against International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde after days of investigation into a corruption case, Press TV reports.

Lagarde walked out of the court after two days of court hearings looking into her involvement in fraud and misappropriation of public funds.

The French court was probing Lagarde’s handling of a dispute in 2007 that resulted in a 400 million-euro (USD 515 million) payment to former politician and controversial business figure, Bernard Tapie.

On Friday, the former finance minister was given the status “assisting witness”. This means she will be regarded as a witness in future related questioning.

The IMF chief was France’s finance minister under the government of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Reports indicate Sarkozy had promised Tapie benefits if he agreed to become a major funder in his 2007 presidential election campaign.

Some say the court’s decision is an unfair one.

“Christine Lagarde’s behavior in this affair is unacceptable, because she allowed one of France’s biggest businessmen to bypass traditional public justice and gave him a private arbitration… her decision greatly favored Mr. Tapie,” Copernic Fondation’s Pierre Khalfa said.

In 2007, Lagarde asked a panel of judges to arbitrate in a row between Tapie and the partly state-owned Credit Lyonnais over his sale of sports group Adidas in 1993.

She has been accused of “numerous anomalies and irregularities.”

The criminal charges are regarded as the second straight scandal for an IMF chief since Lagarde succeeded Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who quit over allegations of an assault on a hotel maid in New York.

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May 26, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Video | , , , | Comments Off on IMF chief escapes indictment in corruption case

France investigates IMF chief over 2007 payout

Press TV – May 23, 2013

French authorities are interrogating International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde in connection with a controversial payout to a French tycoon during her term as France’s finance minister.

The 57-year-old appeared in France’s Court of Justice of the Republic (CJR) on Thursday.

The court, which investigates cases of ministerial misconduct, is probing Lagarde’s handling of a dispute in 2007 that resulted in 400 million euros (USD 515 million) payment to the former politician and controversial business figure, Bernard Tapie.

The CJR prosecutors suspect that he was granted the treatment in return for backing former President Nicolas Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential race.

Lagarde, who was France’s finance minister at that time, is accused of being responsible for “numerous anomalies and irregularities” which could lead her to be charged for complicity in fraud and misappropriation of public funds.

The investigation focused on Lagarde’s move in 2007, when she asked a panel of judges to arbitrate in a row between Tapie and the partly state-owned Credit Lyonnais over his sale of sports group Adidas in 1993.

Tapie had accused the bank of defrauding him by deliberately undervaluing Adidas at the time of the sale. He further said that the state – as the former principal shareholder in the bank – should compensate him.

Tapie was previously jailed on charges of match-fixing when he was the president of French football club Olympique de Marseille.

The criminal charges are regarded as the second straight scandal for an IMF chief since Lagarde succeeded Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who quit over allegations of an assault on a hotel maid in New York.

Lagarde, however, has downplayed the investigation.

“There’s nothing new under the sun. Ever since 2011 I had known very well that I will be heard by the investigative commission of the Cour de Justice,” she said last month.

May 23, 2013 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , , | Comments Off on France investigates IMF chief over 2007 payout

UK changes position on IMF loan for Morsi’s Egypt

British officials refrain from giving full backing to Egypt’s $4.8 billion loan request, having previously supported such funding under military rule

By Amer Sultan | Ahram Online | August 25, 2012

London – The United Kingdom has refrained from backing Egypt’s request of a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“We prefer to wait and see the results of the negotiations between Egypt and the IMF,” a UK Foreign Office spokesperson told Ahram Online.

During her recent visit to Cairo, the IMF’s managing director, Christine Lagarde, received a formal request from Egypt for a $4.8 billion loan.

“The UK thinks that this is a good opportunity for dialogue between the two parties,” the spokesperson added.

Asked whether the UK would back the Egyptian request if the IMF board decides in its favour, the spokesperson replied: “We do not have anything to say for the time being.”

The UK’s caution seems to mark a significant change in its attitude towards Egypt’s calls for international assistance to overcome its economic difficulties.

The UK provides 5 per cent of the IMF budget, making it the fourth biggest contributor, with equivalent voting power. It follows the US (18 per cent), Germany (6 per cent) and Japan (6 per cent).

Early this year, the UK government was enthusiastic about an IMF offer of a $3.2 billion loan at a 1.5 per cent interest during Egypt’s period of direct military rule.

A high level UK diplomat then told Ahram Online that the offer was “an amazingly good deal” with “virtually no conditionality.”

UK support at the time followed a meeting of British representatives with the Supreme Council for Armed Force (SCAF), which until July 2012 had veto power on all political decisions.

The diplomat explained that his government felt the deal the IMF put to Egypt was very favourable.

Speaking this week, the Foreign Office spokesperson insisted there was no change in the UK positions on the IMF loan after President Morsi took the reins of power from SCAF.

During her visit to Egypt last Wednesday, Lagarde met Morsi and his prime minister Hesham Kandil, and praised the Egyptian vision for reform.

“We are impressed by the strategy that President Morsi and Prime Minister Kandil have proposed during our meetings today,” she said at a joint press conference with Kandil.

An IMF technical team is due to arrive in Cairo in early September to begin work on arrangements for the mooted loan.

“We prefer foreign borrowing at this stage given the low interest rate of the IMF loan compared to much higher rates when borrowing domestically,” said Kandil, on the matter.

He added that borrowing domestically would crowd out the private sector and the IMF loan would help ease liquidity problems.

The IMF said in a statement it had maintained close dialogue on economic policy with Egyptian authorities since the start of the transition period in February 2011. It said it has also provided considerable technical assistance upon request from the government.

August 26, 2012 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Iceland’s recovery continues, declared ‘impressive’

Ice News | August 22, 2012

Experts continue to praise Iceland’s recovery success after the country’s bank bailouts of 2008.

Unlike the US and several countries in the eurozone, Iceland allowed its banking system to fail in the global economic downturn and put the burden on the industry’s creditors rather than taxpayers.

In the following years, the Icelandic government made drastic cuts that reduced the fiscal deficit from 14 percent of GDP to just two percent. At the same time, unemployment in Iceland has shrunk to less than five percent, while analysts predict the North Atlantic economy to grow some 2.8 percent by the end of 2012, according to recent reports.

The rebound continues to wow officials, including International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, who recently referred to the Icelandic recovery as “impressive”. And experts continue to reiterate that European officials should look to Iceland for lessons regarding austerity measures and similar issues.

The Financial Times outlined a number of important points for countries in the eurozone to consider in an article published on Monday. These include Iceland’s tactic of pursing “politics of social and economic inclusion”. This includes heavier taxes on the higher brackets while cutting welfare schemes less than other areas of the budget to retain the purchasing power of lower income groups.

August 23, 2012 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | Comments Off on Iceland’s recovery continues, declared ‘impressive’

Egypt requests $4.8bn IMF loan

Al Akhbar | August 22, 2012

Egypt has formally requested a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, a spokesman for its president said on Wednesday during a visit to Cairo by IMF chief Christine Lagarde to discuss support for the country’s ailing economy.

Egypt’s finance minister said last week Cairo would discuss the possibility of the bigger-than-expected loan from the fund. Egypt’s previous government had requested a $3.2 billion package but the deal was not finalized.

Lagarde’s presence was requested by Egypt and could signal a fresh determination on both sides to iron out a loan after President Mohammed Mursi, who took office on June 30, appointed his first government last month.

“We have officially requested a $4.8 billion loan from the IMF and talks are currently going on inside about the request,” spokesman Yasser Ali told Reuters as Lagarde held discussions with Mursi. He said any details would be announced later.

An IMF official also confirmed the request had been made.

During 18 months of political turmoil since the overthrow of autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak, successive Egyptian governments negotiated with the IMF to secure emergency funding.

The Muslim Brotherhood was originally skeptical of the IMF loan, which it feared would undermine Egypt’s sovereignty by keeping it indebted to the IMF.

The IMF has a track record of failed policies in a number of developing countries, including Argentina and a number of African countries.

Sections of Egypt’s political and economic elite fear IMF involvement in resuscitating Egypt’s economy might in fact worsen the situation even further, as previously seen throughout Africa.

But Egypt’s fiscal and balance of payment problems have worsened, prompting the Muslim Brotherhood to surrender its opposition to the deal.

An exodus of foreign investors in the wake of the turmoil left local banks shouldering much of the short-term and other lending to the state. The government has also borrowed directly from the central bank.

Foreign reserves have fallen to well under half levels seen before last year’s popular uprising against Mubarak and investors’ reluctance to return is born partly of fears that a sharp currency devaluation could wipe out any returns.

(Al-Akhbar, Reuters)

August 22, 2012 Posted by | Economics | , , , | Comments Off on Egypt requests $4.8bn IMF loan

IMF rejects call to cut ties with Iran

Press TV – May 1, 2012

The International Monetary Fund has rejected a call by a US-based anti-Iranian group to cut its ties with the Central Bank of Iran.

The IMF said on Tuesday that its relationship with the Central Bank of Iran is based on its constitution, noting that Iran’s membership does not contravene US or EU sanctions on Tehran, AFP reported.

The anti-Iranian group also criticized IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde over her meeting with Central Bank of Iran Governor Mahmoud Bahmani on the sidelines of the semiannual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington in late April.

The US-based anti-Iranian group consists of former US diplomats and government officials.

IMF spokesman William Murray said, “According to our constitution… the IMF’s holdings of each member’s currency are maintained with the central bank of the relevant member, including Iran… There is nothing in the EU or US sanctions regimes that is inconsistent with these arrangements.”

Headquartered in Washington, the IMF is an organization of 188 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.

May 1, 2012 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Comments Off on IMF rejects call to cut ties with Iran

‘West waging economic war against Sudan’

Sudan Tribune | April 17, 2012

KHARTOUM – A senior Sudanese official has accused Western countries of waging an economic war against his country and aiding neighbouring South Sudan in its alleged support of Sudanese rebels.

Nafie Ali Nafie, a Sudanese presidential assistant, said while addressing a rally in the capital Khartoum on Tuesday that the West is aware that “the rebels and mercenaries” had destroyed oil facilities in the Heglig area which was captured by South Sudan’s army last week.

“They [Western countries] believe this could weaken the Sudanese economy” he said before adding that the government knows how to run the battle and organise its priorities.

Heglig, which produces half of Sudan’s daily oil production of 115,000 barrels a day, was occupied by South Sudan’s army last week in the most dangerous escalation of military confrontations between the two neighbours since the south gained independence last year.

In his speech, Nafie said that Sudan must talk to its friends in the international arena in order to prevent Western countries from supporting Sudanese rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) via the UN.

His statement appears to be related to international efforts spearheaded by the US to allow aid groups to the country’s border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, where Sudan’s army has been fighting SPLM-N rebels since last year.

Nafie went on to dismiss concerns that his government would use the war over Heglig as a pretext to increase repression of dissent but he put a caveat saying that Khartoum will not tolerate “traitors”

“There will be no curtailment of public liberties but traitors are entitled to no freedom” he declared.

Nafie further accused the Sudanese Revolutionary Forces (SRF), a rebel coalition including the SPLM-N, of occupying Heglig and then handing it over to the “enemy”, meaning South Sudan.

He described SRF’s supporters as “agents and traitors” and reiterated Khartoum’s commitment not to negotiate with South Sudan’s government.

He further sought to allay concerns that the government would terminate fuel subsidies against the background of losing Heglig’s oil, saying that such actions would only occur within calculated measures.

Sudan admitted this week that the loss of Heglig’s oil will affect government income but government officials said that plans have already been initiated to assimilate the deficit.

~

Sudan’s projected economic contraction in 2012 worse than expected

Sudan Tribune | April 17, 2012

WASHINGTON – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday revised down its forecast to Sudan’s economy to show a significant shrinkage in 2012.

According to the latest release of the World Economic Outlook (WEO), the East African nation achieved a -3.9% growth in 2011. The figure includes South Sudan only up until July 2011 when the country officially broke into two.

In 2012, Sudan’s economy will contract by -7.3% before improving in 2013 to -1.5% and to 1.7% in 2017.

The loss of oil-rich South Sudan last year meant that Sudan no longer has access to billions of dollars worth of crude reserves. Oil was the main source of foreign currency and revenues for Sudan prior to the country’s partition.

To make matters worse, South Sudan managed last week to take over one of Sudan’s major oilfields of Heglig in South Kordofan through a military occupation that took everyone by surprise. Analysts say that damages to the facilities in the area, which produces half Sudan’s oil, as a result of military operations means that production will not resume anytime soon.

Furthermore, landlocked South Sudan shut down its own roughly 350,000 barrels per day in January in a row over how much it should pay to export crude via Sudan. The latter has built in oil transit fees as part of its budget at the rate of $36 per barrel.

Khartoum has undertaken measures since last year in anticipation of the sharp curtailment in revenues. This includes cutting government spending, partially lifting subsidies and banning a wide range of imports to stop depletion of foreign currency reserves.

But nonetheless, food prices soared to unbearable levels for many citizens prompting limited demonstrations in the Sudanese capital last year. The exchange rate of the Sudanese pound also deteriorated to unprecedented levels amid sharp shortage in hard currency which further fueled price hikes.

The IMF projected consumer prices in Sudan to increase by 23.2% in 2012 and 26.0% in 2013, which is the highest in the Middle East region.

Sudan has turned to a number of friendly nations seeking help to shore up its budget deficits and boost its foreign currency reserves directly or through investments. So far only the Arab Gulf state of Qatar made a $2 billion pledge to assist in the form of buying Sudan government bonds and investments in several economic sectors.

Sudanese officials assert that their country will overcome the loss of oil revenue by exporting more gold and revamping the agricultural sector.

However, this week the Sudanese finance and national economy minister Ali Mahmood Abdel-Rasool said that the 2012 budget as it stands is unsustainable and needs to be amended.

The pro-government al-Rayaam newspaper reported that the Sudanese parliament is poised to approve a second round of lifting subsidies on fuel amid strong objections from the labour union.

April 18, 2012 Posted by | Economics, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | Comments Off on ‘West waging economic war against Sudan’