Full Moon at Syntagma Square
Funds' role in Greek drama examined
Sam Jones, Hedge Fund Correspondent, Financial Times
On January 28, a cloudy, drizzly day in Athens, Goldman Sachs played host to a hotchpotch group of 10 clients at the Grande Bretagne, a palatial belle epoque hotel overlooking Syntagma square and the old royal palace, now the home of the Vouli, the Greek parliament.
At dinner on the rooftop - with an unimpeded panorama of the Acropolis as the backdrop - the clients; ten bankers, asset managers and hedge fund analysts, ruminated on the future of the Greek economy - and of course, how to make money from it.
Events since - a vicious collapse of confidence in the Greek debt market - have made some of those present, millions. But there has been a price. The dinner and the two-day schedule of meetings it bisected, is now one of a handful of events at the centre of a growing political backlash against some of the biggest and most powerful traders in the debt markets.
Hedge funds and more broadly financial 'speculators' are finding themselves under attack from politicians and regulators on both sides of the Atlantic, who accuse them - including some of those Goldman chaperoned around Athens in late January - of exacerbating the Greek credit crisis in an effort to spin a quick buck.
It is a charge that sticks not least because of the size and pedigree of some of the names involved.
By far the most significant of the 10 analysts present on the January tour were two from Paulson & Co - the $32bn US hedge fund that shot to prominence for its spectacular bets against the US mortgage market in 2008...
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