By James Kwak
The Corriere della Sera, probably Italy’s most respected newspaper, relays a statement by the Banca d’Italia (Italy’s central bank) that its head, Mario Draghi, had “no role” in the Greece-Goldman Sachs interest rate swaps that have been reported by Der Spiegel and The New York Times. Here are some translated excerpts from the story:
“The transaction with Greece ‘was executed prior to the arrival of Draghi at Goldman Sachs,’ added sources from the [Banca d’Italia*], recalling that the governor [Draghi], who has headed the Banca d’Italia since the beginning of 2006, was vice president and managing director of Goldman Sachs in London from 2002 to 2005.
“On Tuesday, the former chief economist of the IMF, Simon Johnson, in his blog but picked up by other media, drew attention to Draghi, also calling into question the transaction by Italy, while [Draghi] was serving as director general of the [Italian] Treasury. . . . But it was in light of these possible connections, to avoid misunderstandings and rumors on the past role of Draghi, that the Banca d’Italia also chose to specify, on the subject of the Italian transactions in the 1990s, that ‘they had the goal of reducing the cost of the public debt and not to hide the true state of the public’s accounts.'”
The article is referring to this post by Simon asking whether Draghi had any connection to the Goldman-Greece or similar transactions with other governments.
* The actual text says “Istituto di via Nazionale.” The Banca d’Italia is located on the via Nazionale in Rome. This is similar to referring to the U.K. prime minister’s office as “Downing Street.”