Huffpost Business

Greece-Goldman Sachs Deals Were 'Completely Scandalous' - And Perfectly Legal: Martin Wolf (VIDEO)

Posted: Updated:

The huge currency swap deals that Goldman Sachs arranged with the Greek government were at once completely legal and completely scandalous, says Martin Wolf, the chief economics commentator at the Financial Times.

Wolf sat down with Aaron Task of Yahoo Tech Ticker recently and discussed the deals that helped the Greek government hide billions in liabilities and earned Goldman Sachs some $1 billion in fees.

Though Goldman Sachs has been widely criticized of late for a 2002 deal that helped Greece mask its debt, blaming the bank is something of a "red-ish herring," Wolf said. "Goldman didn't break the law. People knew what they were doing and it wasn't a big deal...it was allowed," Wolf said. "It's another indication of ways in which governments connived with the financial sector all over the world to do things they really shouldn't have allowed to happen."

Part of the problem, Wolf argued is that world governments have been allowed to move liabilities off of their balance sheets. In short, they've adopted the Enron playbook. "Enron accounting has unfortunately become a salient characteristic of sovereign balance sheets long before Enron started."

Here's Wolf:

"The accounts of our governments are a scandal. They're complete scandalous and the U.S. is not an exception. It's just one of many governments whose accounts that tell us nothing about the true state of its finances and the long-term obligations association with that. We would never allow that with any private business."

WATCH:

Around the Web

Greek Debt Crisis: How Goldman Sachs Helped Greece to Mask its ...

Greece's Goldman Sachs Swaps Spawn EU Dispute on Disclosure ...

Goldman Sachs, Greece Didn't Disclose Swap Contract (Update1 ...

Greece, Goldman Sachs 'Fooled' Investors By Not Disclosing Huge ...

Mary Bottari: How Goldman Sachs wins no matter what

Goldman Bond Yield Spread Narrows More Than 40%: Credit Markets

Greek deal puts Goldman Sachs in the firing line – again