EU Investigates ECB Chief Mario Draghi Over Alleged Conflict of Interest

Posted by in Economy

Hardly had we found a euro zone savor,  i.e. ECB-Chief Mario Draghi, it looks as if we may lose him again. The European Union saw itself  enforced to investigate allegations raised against Draghi by NGO Corporate Europe Observatory, an EU-focused lobbying tracker. CEO accused Drahi of  lacking of independence because of his membership to international forum of  the Group of Thirty (G30), a banking lobby group whose members are first-calliber powerful economists and government officials and bankers.

Mario Draghi:  the ECB would do “whatever it takes” to save the euro.  

On Tuesday, European Union ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros [who happens to be from … Greece!] sent a letter to European Central Bank briefing Draghi about the complaint and the accusations.

 “We received a complaint and sent a letter to the ECB,” said Gundi Gadesmann, spokeswoman for EU ombudsman Nikiforos Diamandouros. “Now we are waiting for a reply.” (Reuters)

According to Reuters, the ECB has until October to respond to EU ombudsman letter.
 
Corporate Europe Observatory, a non-governmental organisation that campaigns for transparency in European Union institutions, filed an official complaint already on June 27th, 2012..
 
In there it was saying that Draghi’s participation in the so-called Group of Thirty called into question his independence, particularly at a time when the ECB looks set to gain new powers as a single eurozone banking supervisor.

“As the European Council prepares to give the European Central Bank (ECB) considerable influence on more issues of direct interest to private banks, the complaint, filed by research and campaign group Corporate Europe Observatory calls into question Mario Draghi’s independence and suggests his involvement in the corporate bankers group creates a conflict of interests.

The complaint states that Draghi’s membership of the ‘Group of Thirty’ – a banking lobby group – is at odds with the ECB’s rules on ethics. Draghi is alleged to maintain close ties with the group and to participate in closed meetings.

The Group of Thirty is an exclusive forum for senior bankers, bringing together bankers from the private sector, alongside figures from government and from academia. Its stated aim is to influence public and private banking.

According to Corporate Europe Observatory’s complaint, as such, it bears all the characteristics of a lobbying vehicle for big international private banks and the President of the European Central Bank should not be able to be a member.”(CEO)

  
The Group of Thirty,  a consultative group on international economic and monetary affairs, “brings together central bankers such as Bank of England governor Mervyn King and former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, as well as renowned economists including Paul Krugman and Lawrence Summers. Formed in 1978, it is chaired by Draghi’s predecessor as ECB chief Jean-Claude Trichet, and meets in plenary sessions twice a year. According to its website the aim of G30 aim is to “deepen understanding of international economic and financial issues, to explore the international repercussions of decisions taken in the public and private sectors, and to examine the choices available to market practitioners and policy-makers,” writes Public Service Europe
 
Group of Thirty? Draghi? Trichet? Krugman? Who would dare to think that all these esteemed gentlemen in dark suits are not in touch with each other?
 
PS It took the EU a whole month to write the letter to ECB?