Greek MPs attack central bank over bond regulations

GREECE’S central bank yesterday dismissed accusations by backbench parliamentarians that it made it easier for speculators to sell short Greek government bonds, helping to deepen the country’s debt crisis.

Ten deputies of the ruling Socialist party filed a parliamentary question earlier in the day, asking the government to explain why the Bank of Greece in October extended the deadline to settle failed bond trades to 10 days from three.

“Extending this period ... created a large scope for profiteering and manipulation,” the deputies said.

Greek bond yield spreads versus German bunds soared from October, when Greece’s incoming socialist government sharply revised upwards the country’s budget deficit. Greece’s debt woes shook the euro and led to an international €110bn bailout for the indebted country.

The Bank of Greece dismissed the accusations.

“There is clearly confusion,” it said in a statement.

The bank said it did not extend any period to settle bond trades but introduced rules that are common in other bond markets.

The accusations come ahead ot today’s protests when thousands of Greeks will march on parliament in the first major anti-austerity rally since three people died in a massive demonstration earlier this month.