Final Word from Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Before most Czechs even knew what a credit rating was, AIG was using its unblemished AAA rating to advertise its Czech insurance products. Understandably, AIG isn't trumpeting its rating now, after it was ignominiously cut two times, to AA. The scandal in the U.S. that prompted the downgrade is filling the pages of the world's financial press, but little has been said about it in the CR. It's a pity, because AIG could teach the CR's "tunnelers" a few things about diverting assets, overstating earnings and fooling shareholders. HN could do a great piece about who was ultimately better at this, Maurice Greenberg of AIG or Václav Junek of Chemapol. Alas, the statute of limitations for the early crimes of Czech capitalism is expiring, so we'll never know just how world-class Junek, Lubomír Soudek (Škoda Plzeň), Libor Procházka (IPB) and the CR's other pioneers really were. [Czech Republic American International Group Amcico tunneling Hank]


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