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Greece’s Small Bondholders Want Money Back

November 23, 2012 Greek Reporter
Investors who held small Greek bonds that were made nearly worthless after a previous government under then-Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos imposed huge losses on them, protested outside the offices of current Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ New Democracy Conservative party, demanding to be made whole as he promised before the June 17 election. He has failed to help them.

Samaras’ party is ruling an uneasy coalition government that includes the PASOK Socialists – now headed by Venizelos – and the tiny Democratic Left. The protesters chanted, “Thives! We want our money back!” and held banners demanding the return of their assets.

Many small bondholders came from the Diaspora who put their savings into trying to help their homeland but were included in a government plan under Venizelos to impose 74 percent losses on investors, a scheme that pushed Greek banks toward insolvency and required Cyprus, whose banks had big holdings in Greece, to seek an international bailout similar to Greece’s.

The protesters got into the party’s headquarters and demanded to meet the secretary of the political committee Manolis Kefaloyiannis to ask why Samaras has broken his promise to help them. They have insisted that the government cover losses for those who held bonds up to 100,000 euros, ($129,000) to match the state guarantee that covers bank deposits.

While Samaras has broken his pledge and ignored the demands of small bondholders, his government is ready a recapitalization injection of as much as 50 billion euros, ($64.5 billion) to protect the banks but has offered nothing to the bondholders.

Earlier this month, dozens of Greek bond holders harassed Venizelos and and ex-deputy finance minister Philipppos Sachinidis outside the Bank of Greece. The angry and frustrated Greeks spoke out heavy insults against Venizelos and attacked his car with fists and kicks. The group had a series of contacts with politicians in the past and they were apparently assured that they would find solution to their problem. So far nothing has been done.
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