Financial firms dodge bonds review

Representatives from investment bank JP Morgan and hedge fund North Asset Management have turned down a request to appear in front of a parliamentary economic committee investigating a bond scandal involving Greece’s pension funds. JP Morgan, the company that arranged the sale of the 280-million-euro bond at the heart of the scandal, said it was unable to attend today’s scheduled parliamentary committee meeting and asked for another hearing date to be set between June 5 and 15. London-based North Asset Management said it was unable to appear before the economic committee, citing confidentiality reasons due to the ongoing investigation of the affair. «We cannot force anyone to appear… if they do not wish to, especially when these people belong to the banking sector which operates in an open market,» said Theodoros Skrekas, who heads the parliamentary committee. Sources said today’s hearing would be canceled due to the two key institutions declining to appear. Meanwhile, press reports said yesterday that North Asset Management had accused JP Morgan of misleading the Greek government abouts its handling of the bond. The Financial Times also reported that it had seen documents suggesting JP Morgan staff knew about the planned bond chain, although they may not have known that the end users were pension funds.