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On Cyprus, ICP Asks IMF of  PIMCO Spat, IMF Says BlackRock Not Chosen

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 30 -- When the International Monetary Fund took questions about Cyprus on an embargoed media call about its concluding statement for the 2014 Article IV Consultation and its fifth review of Cyprus’s economic program on July 30, most were about foreclosures.

The IMF's Mission Chief for Cyprus Delia Velculescu said several times that the next tranche of the bailout is unlikely in September if a law speeding foreclosures is not enacted by then, despite nearly across the board opposition from political parties.

For example, deputy spokesman Athos Antoniades said. “The Democratic Party will not vote on such a sensitive issue with a gun to its head.”

But that is the situation: no law, no money.

Inner City Press asked Velculescu about the discrepancies between PIMCO's estimate of what Cyprus' banks needed, and the lower BlackRock estimate that has recently come to light.

Velculescu replied that “at the time of the on-set of the program the requirement was for an independent assess of capital needs in the banking sector.” She said, “Countries have decided of course on individual independent assessors... PIMCO was chosen in Cyrus.”

Backing up PIMCO and the resulting capitalization framework (and “bail-in”), Velculescu said, “we believe the assessment was done independently... with methodology that were specific to the company that undertook it.”

Inner City Press asked, “So BlackRock was wrong?”

Velculescu replied, “BlackRock was not chosen for the assessment that was undertaken in Cyprus.. the recapitalization was done under PIMCO.. BlackRock was the assessor in another country.”

So is this a case of two financial firms snarking at each other, on a competitive basis, or as PIMCO acting for those who wanted to justify the bail-in and the “gun to the head” that has come afterwards? We'll have more on this.



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