Soros Has a Plan; Greek Ministers Call in Sick; Weird Wall Street Honors: Roundup

Whither Europe: George Soros wants Europe to create a fund to buy Spanish and Italian bonds, because, for starters, if Europe doesn’t, who will?

Greece’s new government is calling in sick to a meeting with Europe’s so-called troika at the European summit in Brussels today, and who can blame them? Greece’s government coalition, formed after elections last weekend, is preparing to ask for an extension on fiscal goals agreed to by a previous government, and while we’re not sure how that prospect would lead to new prime minister Antonis Samaras detached retina, we weren’t surprised to hear new finance minister Vassilis Rapanos checked himself into the hospital late last week with stomach problems. The Wall Street Journal reports that Greece’s date with the troika will be rescheduled in coming days.

The euro fell on dim hopes for the European summit.

The Wall Street Journal profiles Maria Dolores de Cospedal, president of one Spain’s 17 regional governments, whose zeal for budget cuts has earned her the praise of credit raters. Labor leaders, on the other hand, have called her the “unemployment machine.” According to The Journal, “a Facebook page devoted to ‘hating Cospedal’ caricatures her with scissors for hands.”

Spain formally requested a 100 billion euro bailout today.

Efforts at further European integration resemble the recalls the story of the Tower of Babel, Paul Taylor writes, noting struggles to “complete an ambitious project because the residents don’t speak the same political and economic language.”

If you have a contract specifying payment in euros, but euros no longer exist, what happens? Simon Johnson says U.S. banks have not protected themselves against the consequences of  answer to that question.

Non-Europe Division: J. Ezra Merkin, a money manager alleged to have directed billions of dollars to Bernard Madoff without investors’ consent, will pay $405 million to settle a civil fraud lawsuit with the New York State attorney general’s office, The New York Times reports. Bankruptcy court trustee Irving H. Picard is expected to challenge the settlement, which would bypass a lawsuit Mr. Picard has filed against Mr. Merkin.

Nasdaq CEO Robert Greifeld said “arrogance” among the exchange’s employees led to the technical glitches that marred the first day of trading in Facebook stock.

Ill-will towards Wall Street in the aftermath of the financial crisis hasn’t stopped nonprofits from feting bankers, Max Abelson writes, and the honors range from tone-deaf to downright bizarre. Last April, JPMorgan agreed to pay $56 million to settle claims that the bank overcharged military personnel on mortgages, and improperly seized homes from active-duty soldiers—13 months late, bank CEO Jamie Dimon was honored aboard the USS Intrepid, where he told service members present that he’d “go into the foxhole with any of you, and I hope I wouldn’t let you down.” CIT Group CEO John Thain, meanwhile, was named father of the year by the Father’s Day/Mother’s Day Council…which we’re sure he deserved, but isn’t it an odd honor to bestow upon a guy for raising money?



Soros Has a Plan; Greek Ministers Call in Sick; Weird Wall Street Honors: Roundup