Jan 10, 2012

Pure speculation (Swiss for beginners)

Philipp Hildebrand, the CEO of the Swiss National Bank,  had traded on the foreign exchange markets a few days before his bank had forced a peg of the Swiss Frank with the EUR that would guarantee an enormous profit to himself personally. No, wrong. It turns out, it was only his wife Kashya  --- nice name, boobs, attractive, a former model perhaps, no, just a former foreign exchange (FOREX) trader, running an art gallery now, Kashya, who knew nothing of her husband's plans to peg the Swiss Frank to the EUR at 1.20, and who, by exchanging enormous amounts of Swiss Franc at the right time, would make an enormous trading profit. Note that we don't use the word "speculation", the word "speculation" has been defenestrated, even here in France it's "trading" now (imagine the French pronunciation), since "speculation" triggers the wrong instincts --- instincts that were already abrogated by Queen Victoria, her of the Victorian age, the woman who famously informed her cabinet that a "wife knows everything her husband knows." So it was only Kashya, and it was only a matter of convenience that she did use her husband's account since the poor thing did not have a trading account in her own name, but it's clear that it was her, and not Hildebrand, who did the trade, since she, as a FOREX trader, knows the future.

Kashya and Philipp Hildebrand, note the plant in the background
And the press of the Free World is eating this up as if it were Yorkshire pudding.

Imagine you're writing a movie script. What's next?

A missing email perchance, that one particular email mysteriously absent from the records that the Swiss National Bank supplied to some thorough investigator who had been instituted to go to the bottom of this and who went there, and could not see anything wrong since the missing email was missing? Or was it somebody else, a highly-payed person (he/she) from a worldwide accountant firm with an interminable name? Like PriceWaterhouseCoopers? Yes, that's it, PwC. PwC, which failed to spot an accounting error of 54.5 billion EUR in the accounts of the Deutsche Hypobank only 6 weeks ago?  The largest accounting error in the history of the planet? That's the ticket if we need somebody to go Santorum.

And now what? Somebody's dropping a glass, it shatters, and Colombo has a heureka moment? Somebody's whispering in the dark? Somebody's impersonating the dog that didn't bark in the dark?

We don't know. What we do know, however, is that the missing email resurfaces, reappears as mysteriously as the account of Hildebrand's trading account itself had resurfaced (which it should not have, since there's the Swiss banking secret, and furthermore, it was sheer coincidence that Hildebrand's wife did trade in her favor on the FOREX market etc etc, it's so unfair).

Queen Victoria
Now, it is now that the script writer reaches the delicate point where he has to go into the finer points of the matter, for which he has the internet here.

You get the gist. Everything is OK. Hildebrand's story is consistent. There's just one minor problem. There was another email, or phone call, or whatever, from Hildebrand, to his bank, to the effect that the last trade was OK (it will never happen again, but the last trade was OK), and that it was OK to "augment" this trade (so as to enlarge the position that led to the profit).

Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, some wit once observed, but that's the best we can do. Hildebrand stepped down yesterday. Life's unfair.

 Relax. Here's a picture from a better Swiss scene:

View of the Valais (Wallis) valley, Switzerland, 2012

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