Bloomberg News

Greek Referendum ‘Doesn’t Help,’ Russia Wealth-Fund Chief Says

November 02, 2011

Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Greece’s plans to put a European rescue agreement to a referendum creates additional uncertainty that “doesn’t help” efforts to safeguard the global economy, said the head of Russia’s sovereign private-equity fund.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev meets tomorrow with counterparts from the BRICS group of emerging economies, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Cannes, France. The BRICS nations said last month they may support global financial stability through the IMF and other international organizations.

“There is no doubt that the decision by Greece introduced an uncertain additional factor,” Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, said in a phone interview today in Cannes. “At a time of significant turbulence, additional uncertainty definitely doesn’t help,” he said, adding that he hoped emerging nations will be “part of the solution.”

French President Nicholas Sarkozy and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, agreed last week to “cooperate closely” on ensuring global financial stability as Europe seeks assistance from China and other cash-rich developing countries. Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said his government, holder of the world’s largest foreign-exchange reserves, was seeking more information on how Europe’s bailout fund will be used.

Russian Aid

On Oct. 31, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou announced a parliamentary confidence vote and his plan to hold a referendum on the rescue accord. European leaders agreed to boost the European Financial Stability Facility’s firepower to 1 trillion euros ($1.4 trillion), set aside 100 billion euros for Greece and provide 30 billion euros in collateral for a debt swap that will give Greece’s investors new, lower-risk bonds at 50 percent of the existing bonds’ face value.

Russia is prepared to help Europe cope with its debt crisis by making as much as $10 billion available through the International Monetary Fund and hasn’t ruled out offering bilateral help to European Union nations, Arkady Dvorkovich, the Kremlin’s top economic aide, told reporters in Moscow on Oct. 31, prior to Papandreou’s announcement of a referendum.

“Russia wants to be helpful in this crisis, so we’re actually open to work with European leaders to consider making some European investments,” Dmitriev told Bloomberg Television today. “I do hope the issue will be solved in the next few days,” he said, referring to the bailout plan.

--Editors: Jennifer M. Freedman, Fergal O’Brien

To contact the reporters on this story: Henry Meyer in Cannes, France, via the Moscow newsroom at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net; Caroline Connan in Cannes, France, via the London newsroom at cconnan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net


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