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Leakedy leak

So WikiLeaks today publishes Kaupthing’s claim book in its entirety, all 28,167 claims and 520 pages of it.

To quote WikiLeaks:

This document contains a list of 28167 claims, totally 40 billion euro, lodged against the failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing Bank hf. The document is important because it reveals billions in cash, bonds and other property held with Kaupthing by wealthy investors and asset hiders from around the world, including Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanly, Exista, Barclays, Commerzbank AG and a vast number of others.

And a little further down, in the report itself:

This list of lodged claims is confidential and exclusively for the use of those parties who have lodged claims against Kaupthing Bank hf.

Oops!

And speaking of leaks, remember that classified Icesave document that was leaked from the US Embassy?

Apparently the US State Department considers the leak “very serious” and has launched an investigation into the affair. Apparently leaks of this sort are highly unusual and Embassy folks are baffled as to which US official would risk his or her career to leak the document. Whoever is responsible would have taken the trouble to scan in the report and send it to WikiLeaks. If found, the culprit will in the best case scenario have his or her security access revoked, which is equivalent to being fired. In the worst case, the offence will warrant a prison sentence.

Wery wery mysterious my dear Watson!

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  • snowball March 15, 2010, 6:03 pm

    just some food for thought…what is the aim of leaking such a document and calling the creditors on the first page “wealthy investors and asset hiders”.

    isnt it clearly misleading to call depositors “wealthy investors” and the banks which provided capital to icelandic banks “asset hiders”?

    sounds like the next icelandic bubble, a bubble of perception.

  • Michael Lewis March 15, 2010, 6:50 pm

    28,000+
    HFF

  • JimJones March 15, 2010, 6:57 pm

    I’m a little skeptical that it was a US official that scanned it and sent it to Wikileaks.

    I think it is a lot more likely that it was one of those very complicated but plausible situations where somebody forgot to delete something, didn’t shred the memo like they should, or something got found by somebody’s boy or girlfriend and it ended up in the hands of a very irritated Icelander(or someone who is close to an irritated Icelander).

  • alda March 15, 2010, 7:01 pm

    Jim Jones – I have worked in an embassy and I can testify that there is VERY strict security around documents of this nature. For example, where I worked the locally engaged staff was not permitted in the area of the embassy where they were kept. Only those foreign officials who had been approved by the foreign office in that country were allowed in there.

  • JimJones March 15, 2010, 7:48 pm

    alda- That does make sense. However, it makes the fact that the leak happened make less sense. That means that either someone was able to get past some strict security(which is unlikely) or that someone was willing to sink their career over getting that memo out(or had so little to loose that they went ahead and did it).

    Either way, you are right. It is very mysterious.

  • James March 15, 2010, 8:03 pm

    If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. My dear Watson, the document could only have been removed by a team of invisible Icelanders. The game is afoot to find these hidden people; let us leave no stone unturned.

  • JimJones March 15, 2010, 8:28 pm

    James- Well, there is a name for invisible Icelanders in Icelandic(Huldufólk), although how someone persuaded said invisible Icelanders to go into the embassy get the document, somehow get it scanned and sent to Wikileaks….

    Ok, I’m done. If I follow this line of thought I will end up making myself crazier than I already am and I promised myself I would not go crazy until after EuroTrip 2010.

  • sylvia hikins March 15, 2010, 8:49 pm

    Iceland’s hidden weapon. Elves. That’s what I reckon Watson.
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • Sebastian March 15, 2010, 9:39 pm

    Summary of one of the “wealthy investors and asset hiders” from Wikipedia:
    Kiribati is one of the world’s poorest countries. It has few natural resources. Commercially viable phosphate deposits on Banaba were exhausted at the time of independence.

    In 1956 Kiribati established a sovereign wealth fund to act as a store of wealth for the country’s earnings from phosphate mining. In 2008 the Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund was valued at US$ 400 million.

    Too bad US$ 11 million was invested in Kaupthing bonds.

  • Andrew (the other one) March 15, 2010, 9:49 pm

    “a team of invisible Icelanders”

    Are these the same invisible people who used to run the banks? 🙂

  • Joerg March 15, 2010, 10:04 pm

    I wouldn’t interpret too much of conspiracy into it. This document has been accessible for every single Kaupthing creditor for almost two months now. I didn’t count it but I think, more than half of the creditors are German Kaupthing Edge depositors, who are claiming their interest payments, which they have not yet received. So, not all of them are wealthy investors or asset hiders. They are not even tax evaders, as you don’t have to pay tax for interest you don’t receive.

    The Kaupthing Winding-Up committee sent a letter with a password for this document via DHL Express (quite an expensive method of shipment, but it’s not their money, anyway) in preparation for the Kaupthing creditors’ meeting on January, 29th. I guess, everybody got the same password.

    Interesting to see in the creditors’ list are the many German banks, which are publicly owned. They are still in quest of a sustainable business model. But the highest single claim is made by Exista – 209 billion ISK.

  • snowball March 15, 2010, 11:16 pm

    at joerg

    yep, its crazy to see all this burned money cuz in the end the recovery quote will be 5-10% of the claims, aufbau nord-west was a total disaster. aufbau ost worked better in many ways. landsbanki creditors book looks even worse, around 5bn euros only by deutsche bank london branch and deutsche bank frankfurt…thats why db wants to merge actavis now with ratiopharm so that db can get a fraction back from the loans they issued to genius bjoergolfur. db is putting so much money on the table to rescue loans they made to “mister money heaven” that they even risk their rating. da brennt der kittel wuerde der schwabe sagen.

  • TMCD March 16, 2010, 1:53 am

    Deeper into the rabbit hole.

  • Andrew (the other one) March 16, 2010, 2:18 am

    @snowball

    ” da brennt der kittel wuerde der schwabe sagen.”

    Heh heh, I hadn’t heard that expression before. Toll!

    How much exposure is there to bad debt/ failed banks in Germany?

  • idunn March 16, 2010, 6:05 am

    I have another leak for you, if a very public one. The American television program ’60 Minutes’ just ran a very interesting expose with author Michael Lewis on the practices of Wall Street. If this concerns firms based in New York, that discussed is extensible globally.

    With luck this video might be viewed anywhere:
    http://www.cbs.com/primetime/60_minutes/video/

  • John March 16, 2010, 8:03 am
  • Joerg March 16, 2010, 8:25 am

    Just as a general remark: I think, it would be an unfair generalization to perceive all creditors of Icelandic banks as financially strong, greedy, wealthy, asset hiding investors. Investing or depositing with Icelandic banks was not financially prudent, that is for sure. But I suppose, many of the depositors just wanted to save some money, e.g. for their retirement or for the education of their children, which by itself in my view is more sustainable than spending money on things like fancy SUV and other consumer products. And some investors are just badly advised institutions like the Kiribati Reserve Fund.

    And there was no need to scan in this document. It’s apparently the original pdf-document plus a wikileaks header, footer and watermark. Otherwise you wouldn’t be able to search in it.

  • alda March 16, 2010, 10:24 am

    Joerg – Just as a general remark: I think, it would be an unfair generalization to perceive all creditors of Icelandic banks as financially strong, greedy, wealthy, asset hiding investors — I completely agree!

  • Joerg March 16, 2010, 10:37 am

    @Andrew

    “How much exposure is there to bad debt/ failed banks in Germany?”

    Our favourite dump of taxpayers’ money is definitely the Hypo Real Estate Bank, which received more than 100 billion EUR as direct or indirect grant from the state. Much of this was used to bail out the Irish Depfa bank. There are a number more banks like Commerzbank, which is now partly state-owned, and many of the publicly owned banks like Bayrische Landesbank, LBBW, West LB… German Banks were the most eager lenders to Iceland and a large number of those banks can be found in the leaked document. So at least we in Germany understand better now, where our money has gone.

  • sylvia hikins March 16, 2010, 12:11 pm

    Creditors of Icelandic Banks- yes, some should have known better, like my own Local Authority that in 2008 lost £4 million of tax payers money (a consequence of this was an attempt last year to close 11 of Wirral’s 23 public libraries-public protest has seen that scheme put on hold but other cuts are in the pipeline). But the creditors I most feel for are the many charities who were ill-advised by so called ‘experts’ and have had to ditch projects intended for some of the most vulnerable and needy members of society. The months of hard work fundraising by their volunteers have come to nothing.
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • idunn March 16, 2010, 6:39 pm

    Concerning WikiLeaks.org, it is obvious that a good deal more transparency would be good for this world, and that Iceland might play an important part as refuge for honest journalists.

    As individuals we can probably appreciate the need of some secrets, and that in extension states should have their own as well. But also that the balance should probably more usually favor transparency over opacity. Or that nation states all too often claim privilege when transparency would be the better option, most particularly for their citizens.

    Since this thread concerns finance, then as obvious that a good deal more transparency in the affairs of bankers would be helpful as well. Some of the largest New York banks that would be insolvent, save intervention of the US Government and taxpayers, make their dealings as arcane as possible, by design opaque from the public. The very public, whether there, Iceland, or elsewhere, that can ultimately end up paying for their mistakes.