After Bailout, ING's Kok Blames Regulators, Food Inflation
and Social Inclusion Questioned
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
NATIONS, February 4, updated Feb. 9
Kok, the chairman of the audit committee of Dutch bank ING, which
$14 billion bailout, Wednesday at the UN blamed "the institutions
entrusted with regulating" for not having "prevented financial
speculation." Inner City Press asked Kok how to allocate blame for the
crisis between the regulators and the banks and their directors. Did
regulators make ING buy, and Kok
to presumably oversee the buying of, subprime
mortgage and other derivative securities? Video here,
from Minute 19.
Kok acknowledged that he saw the crisis and
"like all of
us," but also "from a special position," then blamed not only
the U.S. regulators but also the "climate" and the "bonus and
compensation culture." Video here,
from Minute 20:02.
But what was Kok's
own compensation? Kok said that "in all fairness, it is too early to
an accounting of how it happened." But why then did the UN, and its
Commission on Social Development, present Kok as the one to read out
blame-the-regulators speech? Yes, Kok
served as Dutch prime minister. But a director of a bank receiving a
multi-billion dollar bailout should not be surprised to be questioned
Messrs Kok and Ruud Lubbers, "only at the UN"
"In all fairness," to use Kok's own phrase,
asked him about the role of financial speculation in driving up food
part of 2008. Kok replied that while prices have declined, they could
again due to inflation caused by, yes, the bailouts. As to how
could be stopped by the UN system, he did not answer. Whether ING
speculates in food or agribusiness stocks, as with Kok's compensation,
known at deadline.
Appearing along with Kok was the chairwoman of
Ambassador to the UN Kirsti Lintonen, who answered Inner City
question about whether the theme of the CSD conference, social
that indigenous groups should be "integrated," whether they consent
to it or no. Ambassador Lintonen replied that the new Declaration of
of Indigenous Peoples provides protection. Afterwards, a representative
Madrid Club, on whose behalf Kok had formally be speaking, told Inner
Press that the word integration wouldn't even have to be used if it
Listed as at the press conference -- even still listed as present on
the podium by the UN TV archives web site
listing -- was the UN's coordinator of the Permanent
Forum on the
indigenous, Elsa Stamatopoulou. But on February 9 a UN staffer told Inner City Press
that while Ms. Stamatopoulou
was listed on the press "release, it was not her on the podium.
Rather, "Paula Risikko, Minister of Health and Social Services of
Finland, was the third person at the podium during the press conference
on 4 February at the opening of the Commission for Social Development.
You must have mistaken her for Ms. Stamatopoulou." Duly noted. We'd
still like Ms. Stamatopoulou's comments
on concerns about opting out of "social inclusion," in light
of her role with the Permanent Forum. Watch this site.
Not present, but
listed on the press release, was a
the African Union. Downstairs in the conference room where the
taking place, a representative of Sudan speechified about the
social development and human rights. Only at the UN, one wag said, only
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
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