Parmalat spells disaster in Italian much the way that the US can substitute the word Enron. It was an unmitigated fiasco involving 14 billion euros of debt and some very unhappy investors. But the Europeans are obviously learning something from their American cousins, because they're heading to court in a class action suit
, according to the Financial Times, and going after the only people left with pockets of any size: the financial institutions and auditors - such as Citibank, Bank of America, Deloitte & Touche, and Grant Thornton - they think must have known about the precarious situation because, hell, it's inconceivable that these savvy organizations could have messed up that badly.
A year ago I might have agreed, but now I can only think of a quote from the movie The Princess Bride. Wallace Shawn's maniacal character Vizzini keeps calling every setback "inconceivable!" Inigo Montoya, played by Mandy Patinkin, eventually says, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
Given the real estate bubble, it seems all too conceivable that people running money shops of various kinds are quite capable of flushing tens of billions of dollars down the nearest storm sewer while blinking in a confused way. "Inconceivable that we [they] could have screwed up so badly!" Or not.
Labels: bubble, failure, finance