Paul Kazarian, who owns around 4 billion dollars in value of Greek state bonds, says that the Greek debt is not as high as we are made to believe.
The American-Armenian investor, founder and owner of Japonica Partners, spoke to Greek Reporter where he explained his accounting technique, according to which Greece is rated as A+.
When the Greek bonds were rated junk, Kazarian bought billions of dollars in Greek bonds, according to his company’s legal disclosure.
“Japonica is one of the larger if not the largest holder of GGBs, based on market intelligence collected during the Dutch auction and after excluding an estimated 4 to 6 billion euros owned by Greek public pension funds,” Kazarian had told Greek Reporter in December 2013.
When credit agencies were burying Greece, Kazarian saw a great opportunity. “The safest time to invest is when there are economic anomalies, not just speculation,” he said.
“We started buying bonds at the time of the double election (May 2013) at 11.40 [cents to the dollar] and we are one of the largest private Greek bond holders if not the largest,” he told Greek Reporter.
Kazarian is also very fond of Greece and has studied philosophy, Plato being his favorite. So other than investing in Greece, he financed a campaign with the title “Greece is A+” in some of the world’s biggest newspapers.
He also developed his own accounting method that uses “very tough international standards” and this is why he says that Greece is A+. “I spent tens of millions of dollars to develop this method, something that credit agencies cannot do,” he said.
Kazarian believes that the Greek debt is not 177% of GDP but rather 71% of GDP, claiming that “the level of Greece’s debt is the lie of the century.”
For the 61-year-old investor, the Greek debt should be measured not at face value, which is 312 billion euros in 2015, but on a time of repayment basis, which would bring a substantial write-off due to low interest rates and the fact that its repayment will start in 10 years. The extended repayment time is more important than the actual amount of debt.
According to Kazarian, Greece must prove what the real level of its state debt is “based on internationally recognized standards,” because, “it would become apparent that the debt is actually lower than that of other countries.”