Fiat Is Not Owned By Libya, So Boycott Goldman Sachs Instead!

That paint job is emerald! It's <i>not</i> Libyan-green!

So even if President Obama loves the Fiat 500 and Andre Balazs is driving a Cinquecento, there was cause for pause for those New Yorkers considering the city’s newest “it” car. It turned out Muammar Qaddafi also drove a Fiat 500—at least until his compound was stormed—and he may have owned a stake in the company. Not so, says Lupo Rattazzi, a member of the Fiat-founding Agnelli clan and one of Italy’s wealthiest men as a result. He sent The Observer an email to set the record straight.[Our notes are in italics.]

1) No Lybian institution owns 2 percent of Fiat. (Check the Italian Securities and Exchange Commission, “CONSOB,” filings). [We did, as far as we can tell, it’s Mr. Rattazzi’s firm Exor, along with Blackrock and hedgie John Griffin. If we’re talking Fiat the industrial concern, it’s Exor and Blackrock again, plus Norway’s Norges Bank. Perhaps Libya owns some portion of one of those?]

2) Even if they did, nobody can prevent anybody from accumulating stock in a public company and you should know that. [We never suggested otherwise, though the thought of it might irk some BroBos. After all, if the Park Slope Food Co-op can’t handle Israeli products, what would New York make of Libyan ones?]

3) How about suggesting a boycott of Goldman Sachs next time instead? They were recently managing US$ 1.3 billion of the Lybian Sovereign Fund, lost them 98% of that amount in derivatives trades but I guess managed to walk away with quite sizable “management fees.” [Now there’s an idea.]

mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC

Fiat Is Not Owned By Libya, So Boycott Goldman Sachs Instead!