Greeks look to socialist to
ATHENS, Greece — With Greece still rudderless after inconclusive elections, the leader of the Socialist party indicated Thursday that he might be able to establish common ground with the leader of the moderate Democratic Left Party and try to form a government that would extricate the country from a deepening political crisis that has angered its foreign creditors and roiled global markets.
Speaking a few hours after he received a presidential mandate to form a government, Evangelos Venizelos, the Socialist party’s leader, and the third politician to be given the opportunity this week, said his proposal for a unity government was aimed at helping Greece “move beyond” its $170 billion loan deal signed in February with foreign creditors and remain in the eurozone. He said it was virtually identical to the plan of the Democratic Left leader, Fotis Kouvelis.
“This is a good omen,” Venizelos said. He added that he would continue talks Friday with the leader of the conservative New Democracy Party, Antonis Samaras, whose party placed first in the elections, and Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left, known as Syriza, which beat the Socialists to clinch second place but failed to form a government this week.
—Niki Kitsantonis, The New York Times
Bank to pay $202 million to settle suit on mortgages
Deutsche Bank agreed Thursday to pay the federal government more than $200 million to settle accusations that it knowingly misled the Department of Housing and Urban Development about the quality of mortgages that later defaulted.
The defaults ultimately cost taxpayers about $368 million. The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed against Deutsche in May 2011 by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, along with HUD and the Department of Justice.
The home loans were issued by MortgageIT, a mortgage provider that Deutsche Bank bought in 2007. Under the terms of the settlement, Deutsche Bank admitted it should have known that MortgageIT’s practices did not conform to HUD rules after it made the acquisition. The $202 million settlement is a significant victory for the federal Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which was established to investigate the abuses that culminated in the financial crisis of 2008 and early 2009.
—Nelson D. Schwartz, The New York Times
Egyptian candidates clash in TV debate, an Arab first
CAIRO — Two of the leading candidates to become Egypt’s next president clashed Thursday night in the Arab world’s first televised presidential debate, trading barbs about their political histories and arguments about the role of religion in public life.
Two weeks before the scheduled May 23 start of the election to choose the first president since the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood campaigning as a liberal Islamist, faced Amr Moussa, a popular former diplomat campaigning as the stable alternative to an “experiment” in Islamist rule.
Moussa, 75 and a more confident debater, was far more aggressive than Aboul Fotouh, 60. But neither candidate delivered a knockout punch as the debate turned repeatedly to the polarizing question of the status of Islam in governance.
Moussa sought repeatedly to drive a wedge into Aboul Fotouh’s unlikely coalition of secular-minded liberals, moderate Islamists and the ultraconservatives known as Salafis. “He uses double language,” Moussa charged. “He’s a Salafi with Salafis, he’s centrist with centrists, and he’s a liberal with liberals, and there’s a question mark.”
—David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times