The Daily Telegraph, London is a newspaper owned by the Barclay Brothers. It is a «broadsheet», and perhaps the best quality newspaper in Britain -The Times, the newspaper of Murdoch and Aznar is a kind of Sun, with pretentions. It is very useful to own a newspaper if you are an speculator in real estate, you can always pull your rivals down without appearing to do so.

Banco de Santander, the second biggest bank in Europe -an obvious rival of Barclays- recently bought Alliance & Leicester, a bank that started life in 1860. In 1860 Spain was in one of its civil wars with the Basques, if memory doesnt’t fail me. Or had been. Or would shortly be again. In any case that a Spanish bank now buys British banks is amazing and not only for the British.

The Barclays’ Telegraph of late prints these Spanish stories with great joy.

Spain drops reassuring gloss as crisis deepens
Barclays’ Telegraph By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Spain’s finance minister Pedro Solbes has stunned the markets with an admission that his country faces the worst economic crisis in its history as the full effects of the property crash spread through the economy.

«This crisis is the most complex we have ever lived through given the plethora of factors on the table at the same time,» he told Punto Radio in Madrid, breaking with past efforts to put a reassuring gloss on events.

Mr Solbes said the Madrid bourse had suffered an «earthquake», crashing 27pc since the start of June. He blamed the toxic cocktail of high oil prices, the global credit crisis and the sharp slowdown in the key export markets of North America and Germany.

The comments follow this week’s bankruptcy of Martinsa-Fadesa, Spain’s biggest corporate failure. The property developer – with an empire of housing estates, hotels, shopping malls and hotels – collapsed after failing to refinance €5.1bn (£4bn) of debts. The company’s demise was a textbook story of aggressive over-expansion at the top of the cycle, driven by high debt gearing. It has €11bn of assets.

It is a likely story. With €11 thousand million in assets they couldn’t raise a measly 150 million, being backed by the likes of Banco Popular – the bank of the Opus Dei.
Martinsa-Fadesa could have sold a building or one of their hotels and get a lot more than 150 million.

Crooks, I tell you.

Don Ambrosio ends his story with references to Phillip II and the religious wars in the Europe of the sixteenth century. They still haven’t gotten over 1588.

Por Armando

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