17 OCT 2010
By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge
It is deja vu all over again. To little media fanfare the dire financial situation in Ireland is nothing less than a repeat of the Lehman collapse in those dark days of September 2008.
With the recent nationalization of half of the country's six big banks, and the blanket guarantee over the rest of them, the Irish government has effectively made sure that bondholders in all banks, even those which such as long insolvent Anglo Irish bank will be made whole by the long-suffering Irish taxpayers.
And despite rumors of haircuts for at least sub debtholders, actual facts validating this possibility remain unseen. Which begs the question why is everyone in the world so terrified of taking mark to market losses on even a few billion in debt? Simple: as all of the world's banks, but Europe more so than anyone else, are now caught in the biggest circle jerk ever imaginable, with one entity's liabilities making up another's assets, which in turn are someone else's liabilities, and so forth in a MC Escher (or is that HR Giger?)-esque flow chart of the surreal (as can be seen here), even one dollar of write downs can spiral and affect tens if not hundreds of billions of downstream assets (and thus liabilities).
Which explains why the ECB and everyone else in Europe is so intent on preventing a failed auction in Ireland (we previously disclosed that virtually every September auction of Irish bonds was purchased by the ECB, either directly and indirectly): should the banks that are on the hook actually validate their impairment, Europe is one step away from activating its own $1 trillion TARP package. Yet what is amusing is that inbetween the cracks of exclusively European-bank based senior and subordinated bondholders in such bankrupt banks as Anglo-Irish, a familiar name emerges: Goldman Sachs.
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