June 19, 2016

In sovereign debt should not moral and ethical issues be more important than collective and pari passu clauses?

Sir, Robin Wigglesworth discusses bond legalese, like collective and pari passu clauses, and rightly concludes “paying attention to the legal differences is [especially] important when a borrower runs into a brick wall.” “Venezuelan bond small print piques investors’ interest” June 18.

But we citizens would also appreciate that lenders gave some minimum minimorum considerations to what the funds they loaned out were going to be used for, whether the loans were being correctly and transparently contracted, and of the quality of the managers of the proceeds, the governments.

In many cases, like that of Venezuela, if creditors had done so they could easily have concluded they were giving odious credits, and that the government was contracting odious borrowings; and that they better refrain from giving the loans, no matter how juicy the risk premiums.

In a world were legislation against acts of corruption exists it is surprising how little consideration “connoisseurs” give to the moral and ethical aspects of sovereign debt. Very high interest rate risk premiums, is the currency in which the corrupter and the corrupted too often conclude their dirty dealings.

For instance, in Venezuela, though there are serious scarcities of food and medicines, the government sells petrol domestically for basically nothing; and blocks humanitarian international arguing that to allow it would infringe their sovereign right to have exclusive responsibility for the welfare of citizens. And besides the market is well aware of that there are Venezuelans imprisoned for political reasons.

In such circumstances should not lending to Venezuela qualify as odious credit? Should that not also be qualified as part of odious government borrowings?

Should not citizens have a collective clause rights with which they can authorize or not the payment of odious credits and borrowings?

What should a due diligence process for bond issues which proceeds might help finance human rights violations include?

If a corporation suspect of drug trafficking made a bond issue, who would begin by revising the clauses of its legal documentation?

@PerKurowski ©