Monday, May 30, 2011

The Lady Who Rocked the Higher Echelons of Finance and Politics

by Grant de Graf

She was the cause of Europe's leap to pandemonium, as party politicians took to panic stations and reshuffled leadership chairs for forthcoming elections. She could also claim responsibility for the Swiss Franc's spike to record highs, as the market's flight-to-safety began to take momentum.

While the U.S. was experiencing a record number of tornadoes that caused ruthless devastation, Europe was experiencing a double-twister of its own. The Greek bailout is on hold and there is a possibility that it may never happen - in the way of extended assistance by the IMF that would prevent Greece from defaulting on its loans. Additionally, financial leaders across the globe are in a panic to identify a new leader for the IMF; someone who has the competence to navigate Europe through one of its most severest storms ever.

The lady in question responsible for these chain of events, is a mere thirty-two years old, beckons from Guinea and is a chamber maid at the Sofitel Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. She is the lady who laid charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, leader of the IMF for sexual assault. Because her name has not been officially released, for obvious reasons, let's just call her Madame X.

When she decided to lay her complaint, it is unlikely that she fully appreciated the consequences of her actions. My bet is that someone played a key role in encouraging Madame X to purse her claims, irrespective of their merit. I would be interested to find out the identity of the mystery sponsor. Additionally, Madame X is represented by counsel. Lawyers that are imbued with the quality of representation that she has sought, come attached with a hefty price tag. And given that a typical retainer fee is conservatively, anything from $20,000 upwards, which is not the sort of lolly that a chamber maid keeps under a mattress, I ponder as to who provided the funding. Perhaps Madame X's attorney is representing her on a contingency basis - unusual for a criminal case where there is no financial award, even if there is hope for a civil action. Or given the publicity that the case is likely to receive, her counsel may have agreed to render services pro bona. Possible, but unlikely. I'm not suggesting conspiracy, but I smell a rat.

The IMF do have several candidates suitable for the leadership position, favorite of which is French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. Although, it will be hard to fill the shoes of DSK, Christine Lagarde is a worthy choice. There are two main characteristics with which a leader of the IMF should be infused. Firstly, the person should have a sound understanding of economics and finance, which includes the political dynamics that currently reign. Secondly, the candidate needs to have a degree of political "charm", to ensure that consensus amongst its members can be achieved and that strategic goals are met. Lagarde has both. She comes across as a tough cookie, the type that would make me think twice about embarking on an elevator ascent in her sole company. However, my instinct tells me that she can turn on the charm, when she wants to. I know she can.

Origins of the Crisis - Who Really is to Blame

Origins of the Crisis, Fake and Real - Paul Krugman Sheds Some Light: Surprise, Surprise...

Measure of German Inflation Impacted by Crude

German Inflation Unexpectedly Slowed in May on Cheaper Oil

IMF Staff Recommends Higher Capital to Address Too-Big-to-Fail

IMF Staff Recommends Higher Capital to Address Too-Big-to-Fail. Initiative may have been motivated by Spain's current disposition.