The court of The Hague has rushed to the aid of Dutch bank Rabobank when it censored the book ‘De Verpanding’ (The Pawning) last Friday.
The book, subtitled ‘Art Disappears Where Rabo Appears’, describes the dealings of two ‘art entrepreneurs’ (as Volkskrant calls them) with the Special Cases department of Rabobank.
The authors claim Rabobank stole art works and chased the art collections of art traders, says NRC. Interestingly, the book was published in March with almost no publicity (at least none that I could find), but Rabobank thought it important to sue the publishers nevertheless. The court of The Hague ordered the book to be taken off the market with the goal of protecting the privacy of Rabobank employees who were named in the book. An anonymised reprint may be in the works. The publishers have asked buyers to return the book for a refund.
Meanwhile De Verpanding has been scanned and made widely available through the Internet. In an age where bankers are considered unconvicted criminals by many, such a response should have been foreseen by the bank.
The court of The Hague told 24 Oranges it expects the written verdict to be available from rechtspraak.nl somewhere in the course of next week.
(Photo by Ben Kraan Architecten, some rights reserved)
Tags: art robbery, art theft, bankers, banking, censorship, crime, criminal bankers, criminals, Rabobank
The Economist has been keeping track of the development of house prices for a while now and this recent graph neatly shows the house price bubble the world is slowly getting out of.
What may surprise you to know is that the Netherlands, typically known as an economically stable country, is one of the worst offenders when it comes to driving up prices to insanity level 11. What is worse, is that unlike most of the world’s nations, the country will see only little decrease of house prices in the near future.
Hendrik Oude Nijhuis looks even further back than The Economist in an article for Z24. He points out that in the past 400 years, house prices in the Netherlands have always followed inflation. Sometimes they rose more quickly than inflation would dictate and sometimes they would lag behind inflation, but they would always go back to a happy medium. Houses in the Netherlands are now 75% more expensive than the historic average, which is a record.
House prices have been decreasing slowly since 2008, but as you can see in the first chart, the process is slow. One giant brake on the current housing market is that the current generation of first-time homeowners is in a bad fix. On the one hand, these young house owners got in when the prices soared, meaning they bought expensive houses, and on the other, they took out mortgage loans that they are not paying off. The result is what Oude Nijhuis calls ‘submarine mortgages’, loans where the collateral is worth way less than the amount owed. This generation (Oude Nijhuis says there are 1.7 million of these submarine loans against 4.3 million privately owned houses) is unable to move on even if it wanted to. Home owners cannot afford new houses and yet if they buy one, they will take a loss on the old one.
Add to this toxic mix the fact that politicians don’t want to be seen touching interest deductions and you have the recipe for an unhealthy housing market for years to come.
Tags: bankers, banks, house owners, housing, money, mortgage, mortgages, politics, submarine mortgages, wedge issues