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Life on the eurozone gravy train

Duration:
18 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 22 June 2012

It has all the elements of a paperback thriller. The lead character is a flamboyant billionaire property entrepreneur reckoned to own one per cent of Britain's property freeholds. He's arrested in a series of dramatic dawn raids in London and the Icelandic capital Reykjavik and is accused of fraudulently obtaining a 154 million dollar loan from an Icelandic Bank - a bank which subsequently went bust taking with it tens of millions of dollars of depositors' money.

Then, eighteen months later the case is spectacularly withdrawn, all charges dropped.

But - as no doubt you have already guessed - this is not fiction. The entrepreneur in question is Vincent Tchenguiz, the bankrupt Icelandic bank, Kaupthing.

Mr Tchenguiz talks to the BBC's Evan Davis after the charges were dropped earlier this week.

Plus: European leaders may be short of solutions to the eurozone crisis but they are certainly not short of meetings about solutions.

The Italian prime minister, Mario Monti, is holding talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, the French president François Hollande, and Spain's prime minister Mariano Rajoy today. Next week there is another summit of all the eurozone leaders.

In fact these meeting seem to have become an almost weekly ritual. Yet all too often the latest compromise unravels within hours in the face of market scepticism.

All of which got the Business Daily team wondering.... what does this endless round of meetings feel like from the inside? Do Europe's leaders believe they are making useful progress when they get together?

Guy Verhofstadt should know. As Prime Minister of Belgium he spent nine years in and out of European meetings. He's now a member of the European Parliament and gave Justin Rowlatt the inside track on these top flight chinwags.

And, while the dignitaries talk in their polished conference rooms, many ordinary Europeans have begun to seek a future outside the eurozone.

Giorgos Christides writes to us from Greece's second city, Thessaloniki. He worries that, as the situation in the eurozone worsens, more and more Greeks are seeking a better life elsewhere, and much of Greece's intellectual heritage is being lost in the process.

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