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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
Tsipras Asks Greeks to Reject Bailout Terms; Greek Fears Prompt Global Stock Sell-Off; Greece Braces for Possible Default; Wall Street on Edge Over Greek Fears; Euro Currency Panic Contained; Protesters on Streets of Athens; Tunisia Makes First Beach Massacre Arrests; UK Parliament Honors Massacre Victims; New Video Shows Tunisian Hotel Workers' Bravery Confronting Terrorists; Eurozone Leaders Downplay Contagion Fears
Aired June 29, 2015 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[15:59:55] (NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE CLOSING BELL)
RICHARD QUEST, HOST: Dreadful day on the market in New York. The Dow Jones Industrials is off some 350 points, a sharp fall across all the other
markets as trading comes to a close. It's the end of the trading day on Monday, it's June the 29th.
"We will survive." The Greek prime minister says his country has the right to decide its own fate. He's calling for a "no" vote on the European
bailout, and so are they. Tonight, the "no" camp is out in force here in Athens, while Europe's leaders say this is a vote on Greece's very future
in the eurozone.
I'm Richard Quest, live in the Greek capital, Athens, where of course, I mean business.
Good evening. There is only one place to be tonight, live in the Greek capital in Athens, where the banks and the stock markets are closed,
and the economic future is deeply uncertain. Even so, within the last hour, in a television interview, the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, has
come out quite clearly fighting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXIS TSIPRAS, PRIME MINISTER OF GREECE (through translator): We will survive. We'll stand on our feet, we'll be alive, and we'll go and
practice our right to vote. And we decide as people what will be our future. It's a big decision. We have to be calm and decisive.
And yes, we do go through difficult times, and that difficulty is not our choice. It's because it's a fact that some are trying to prevent the
right of people to decide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: That's the Greek prime minister, speaking within the last hour. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of protesters have joined the prime
minister. Many of them have now wandered off into the night, but they have also joined the Greek people calling on a rejection of the deal from the
Greece has now 24 hours left before two major events take place. Firstly, the eurozone agreement expires, and secondly, Greece will default
on its loan to the IMF. At that point, it will be a default for the entire debt load. And around the world, leaders are trying to pull back on
Greece. Some say they are feeling the sting of betrayal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION (through translator): After all my efforts and the efforts made by the Commission
and by other institutions involved in the process, I feel a little betrayed because not too consideration is being given to my personal efforts and the
efforts of others.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Market reaction around the world has been stark and brutal. Standard and Poor's downgraded Greece's debt. It said Mr. Tsipras's
government is likely to prioritize domestic spending. And S&P now puts the probability of Grexit at 50 percent.
To New York, where the Dow Jones Industrials -- look at the numbers, down 350 points, a loss of some one -- a loss of nearly nine -- I'm sorry,
I'll start that again. A loss of 1.9 percent. The Dow was down from the very beginning. The volatility, the VIX index, spiked up more than 25
And in Europe, Frankfurt and Paris were down more than 3.5 percent. The banking stocks were hit. Athens is closed. Asian markets are the
first to suffer. Whichever way you look at it, there have been losses, red. There have been serious concerns and volatility right across the
Joining me now, let's put this in perspective, Giorgos Stathakis, the Greek economy minister. Minister, thank you for joining us.
GIORGOS STATHAKIS, GREEK ECONOMY MINISTER: Thank you.
QUEST: I must ask you, I might just raise that a little bit higher, Minister, so we can hear you a little bit clearer, because it's very loud
out here. I'd ask you to raise your voice. Minister, first of all, do you expect that you will not pay the IMF? Let's be clear. Tomorrow, will you
[16:05:03] STATHAKIS: No. Most likely, we won't pay them under the circumstances.
QUEST: You're saying now you will not pay. There is not the money in Greece.
QUEST: So, you will be in default.
STATHAKIS: Well, there are other options. The IMF has the option to postpone for another 30 days.
QUEST: But Christine Lagarde has said, as you know, a few weeks ago that she'll regard it as a default.
STATHAKIS: Well, there are other options as well. We have asked for an extension in any case, A of the program, B of the repayment process,
until the Greek people decide on the referendum, and then we have a different plan to discuss.
QUEST: With that in mind -- I apologize, it's a very noisy day here - - but with that in mind, also tomorrow night, the eurozone agreement comes to an end. There's no bailout deal to negotiate about.
STATHAKIS: Well, as you know, it's the second time we asked for an extension, and obviously, when the referendum is over, the government will
go back to try and find a solution within the negotiation framework.
QUEST: The referendum question, which is complicated, but it really - - let's be honest, Minister, this referendum question is a "yes" or "no" on do you want to stay in the euro. Because that's what Matteo Renzi, the
Italian prime minister said. He's right.
STATHAKIS: I have huge respect for Mr. Renzi, but the referendum, the question is very simple. The final proposal of the creditors to Greece
that was put on the table and turned down by the government, and which replaced the Greek proposal we had on Monday and the markets had received a
QUEST: But that deal's not on the table anymore. Why are you asking the people to vote for something that doesn't exist?
STATHAKIS: Well, the deal we had was a final proposition. We could not sign this agreement. We take it to the people on a "yes" or "no" vote,
and then we go back to the creditors and try to find a solution.
QUEST: If the people vote "yes," if the people vote "yes" and the government has asked them to vote "no," but you lose, you have no
STATHAKIS: Well, if this is the choice of the people, we will respect it.
QUEST: Right. But how can you go and negotiate a position that you've asked people to vote against?
STATHAKIS: It will not be our government that will go back.
QUEST: So you're saying if the vote is "yes" --
STATHAKIS: We have to respect it.
QUEST: You'll resign?
STATHAKIS: No, no. We'll find the forum that will make it possible for the new government of whichever form to go on and pursue this
QUEST: I come back to this question: why -- I listened to the prime minister this evening. He says, "We'll stand on our own two feet. We will
-- it's the dignity of Greece." He says you don't believe that the others want you out of the euro.
QUEST: So, what will it take between now -- there can be no negotiation between now and the weekend.
STATHAKIS: Well, we have gone off another option for all propositions, but I think that the negotiation will go on after the
QUEST: Everybody says if there is a "no," this is Grexit, or the road to Grexit. Oh! It's got a bit quieter. The road to Grexit has begun.
Tell me now, Minister, why that's wrong.
STATHAKIS: Because we're committed the agreement. We worked five months on getting a deal. That was the position of the government. We
came very close to this deal --
QUEST: You walked away.
STATHAKIS: -- with a Greek proposition on Monday. It was well- received. We have a very different option and proposal by the creditors who could not accept it. We'll go back after the referendum and try to
find a logical solution, reforms versus debt, plus less fiscal adjustment in the coming couple of years.
QUEST: And to be absolutely clear, you're not paying the IMF tomorrow?
STATHAKIS: As the situation is, it's impossible.
QUEST: Minister, it's impossible. Thank you very much, indeed. Thank you for joining us. Thank you.
Now, the Dow ended the day some 350 points down, a very sharp fall, a loss of 1.9 percent. Alison Kosik is in New York for us tonight to put
this into perspective. Alison, bring me up to date with how the trading day went.
[16:10:00] ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Ooh, what a volatile session, Richard, especially the sell-off. You look at it really
accelerating as we got closer to the closing bell.
But here's the thing about this sell-off. It happened despite the fact that the US has very little direct financial exposure to Greece. So,
the reason we saw this reaction today is because of concern about this really being uncharted territory.
There are a lot of unanswered questions, like what are the global implications of Greece not paying its bills? And what would be the
ramifications if Greece left the European Union. So, as the US looks at it, the biggest concern here is what are the shockwaves going to be with
Greece's financial troubles as the continue?
Right now, there aren't any certain answers to those questions, and that's why you're seeing the market on edge in a big way. Richard?
QUEST: Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange. It's going to be a crucial week for the euro. European leaders say the referendum that
Greece is planning amounts to a vote on whether to stay in the eurozone or not. You just heard the economy minister deny that, but that is the
perspective that most people have.
The idea that countries can't exit the single currency is no more. It fell after referendum and capital controls were announced. It's made up
the losses, and if you look at the euro, it's made up those losses and some more.
Now, it's a sign: investors think the risk is contained. "Contained" is the word I'm using. I want you to look. As we go through this crucial
week, we're going to track the euro day by day. Maybe not hour by hour, but certainly you're going to get a very good idea. You've seen how it
went on Monday. The euro's crucial week, all as we move forward.
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS coming to you tonight live from Athens. In just a moment, the Tunisian authorities, we're going to tell you, making their
first arrests in Friday's beach massacre. We'll have the latest on the investigation. Good evening from Athens.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to live with the right of a human being. Money is not only money. They are rich, I am poor. I've lost my job and I
want to survive. So, for -- and I came here to say "no," because I'm here, and I cannot leave.
QUEST: Do you expect Europe to write off the debt?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I do not expect from this Europe to write off the debt, and I'm sure that they won't do it. So, what I want from my
government is to go away from the eurozone, to exit the eurozone, to nationalize the banks, and to grow the salaries. That's what I want. I
believe that there's no solution within the eurozone and within this European Union. I'm sure about this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The voice of the people, many of whom were attending the demonstration earlier tonight.
Now, to Tunisia, where the police there have made the first arrests in connection with last week's massacre at the beach resort of Sousse,
according to the country's interior minister, who said an important part of the network has been taken into custody. The announcement was made
following a commemoration for the 38 people killed in the attack with British, French, and German dignitaries laying flowers at a memorial.
[16:15:10] In Britain, home to many of the victims, Westminster observed a minute of silence in the parliament for those lives lost. The
prime minister, David Cameron, extended the condolences of his colleagues in parliament to the victims and their families.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID CAMERON, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: Innocent British holidaymakers, people who'd saved up for a special time away with their
friends and family, and who suddenly became the victims of the most brutal terrorist attack against British people for many years. I'm sure the whole
house will join me in sending our deepest condolences to the families and friends of all those who lost loved ones.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Despite the massacre, the British government has made it clear it is not advising against all travel to Tunisia, although will be keeping
the policy under review. Tunisia's prime minister, Habib Essid, told CNN's Becky Anderson the attack had been devastating for his country's tourism
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HABIB ESSID, PRIME MINISTER OF TUNISIA: It's very damaging. The damage is very -- it's a heavy damage, because the sector is drowning.
More than 1 million people left directly from this sector, and we should do everything in order to save the situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now to Nick Paton Walsh, who's live in Sousse today for us. Nick, the situation -- obviously, we saw the wreathes being laid.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Without a doubt. In fact, we were inside the hotel earlier on today to see the UK
interior minister, Home Secretary Theresa May, talking to persons still continuing their holiday there.
And, in fact, I think, sharing the notion that by continuing here defiantly their holiday, they are, perhaps, thumbing their nose at the
terrorism here that took so many lives.
But this is on a day in which dramatic video has emerged that shows the exact moments of the attack and the bravery of Tunisian staff at the
hotel and on the beach here in confronting in chasing out that attacker.
WALSH (voice-over): They are unarmed, but still, they run towards a gunmen who's already killed guests at the hotel where they work.
WALSH: Towards the pool. Many guests already fled.
WALSH: That loud blast, perhaps a sound grenade, one of several Seifeddine Rezgui detonated. Equipment that might be a lead to any
He's gone into the hotel lobby, it appears. But perhaps found no more victims.
He heads back towards the beach, this cafe near the sands. The cameraman runs again towards him, yet pauses at the bar. He's seen
something. Gun on his shoulder, Rezgui is strolling back towards the beach.
(MAN OUT OF BREATH)
WALSH: There, we see the victims, their bodies too gruesome to show. The cameraman keeps low.
(MAN SPEAKING ARABIC)
WALSH: "Why? Why?" He exclaims. Lives and livelihoods taken here in these golden tourist sands.
And here, the gunman comes again. No longer firing. Is he out of bullets or targets? Unwilling to shoot Tunisian workers.
Still, it's those workers who give chase. A headlong rush toward possible death.
(MAN SPEAKING ARABIC)
WALSH: The cameraman sees him throw his phone into the sea.
(MAN SHOUTING IN ARABIC)
WALSH: They follow him back to the streets.
WALSH: Those bullets heading towards the cameraman, perhaps from police, very close.
WALSH: It is up this road that Rezgui met his death.
(GUNFIRE, MAN SHOUTING IN ARABIC)
WALSH: Was he running towards an accomplice who drove him there? Was he seeking another hotel to continue his rampage?
[16:20:00] He took those secrets to his grave, yet his last moments captured by one of the many Tunisians who risked their lives for foreigners
they may barely have known.
WALSH: Now, Richard, we know today in short from Tunisian officials, they believe this man was radicalized online, that he had associates, three
roommates they're questioning, maybe also people at the university who may have assisted in his radicalization.
They don't believe he traveled abroad necessarily, so that does limit the possibility of ISIS in Libya next-door being involved. And they're not
categorically saying ISIS were the planners behind this, despite that group claiming this was an attack that they had organized.
So, more information coming out here as Tunisia and the United Kingdom, so much the heart of the loss here, come to terms with the horrors
on Friday. Richard?
QUEST: Nick Paton Walsh, who's in Sousse this evening for us. Thank you.
Here in Greece and in Brussels, eurozone leaders are trying to quell fears of contagion that's now spreading from Greece. They say today's
Europe is stronger and ready for what Athens may throw at it. Stephanie Flanders will give us her view next. It's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, live in
the Greek capital.
QUEST: Leaders across the eurozone say Europe is strong enough to handle the crisis in Greece as a potential exit from the euro, perhaps,
begins to crystallize. The German chancellor and the Spanish prime minister are both suggesting any contagion from a Grexit could be limited.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY (through translator): Today we are seeing that Europe is more robust than would have been the case five
MARIANO RAJOY, PRIME MINISTER OF SPAIN (through translator): Spaniards can be at ease. They can be at ease because, among other
reasons, Spaniards have over recent years with their effort, dedication, work, and understanding, supported the reforms that have allowed us to be
at ease in Spain at this time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The tone from the United Kingdom, which of course, is a non- euro member, is quite different. There, the chancellor of exchequer, George Osborne, says if Greece leaves the euro, the impact should not be
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE OSBORNE, BRITISH CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER: This Greek crisis has in one form or another been with us for five years. It is one
of the biggest external economic risks to the British economy, and the situation today shows that these risks remain.
I don't think anyone should underestimate the impact a Greek exit from the euro would have on the European economy and the knock-on effects on us.
That is why I have consistently argued that the best way to protect ourselves from these risks is to get our own house in order.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The bond markets in those countries -- excuse me -- most at risk from the drama in Greece have stayed calm in the past months. Now,
that course changed on Monday as fears of contagion grew in Southern Europe.
Ten-year government bond yields in Spain and Portugal were much higher, but they're still nowhere near, of course, 2012 levels. Greek
yields jumped the most, now at more than 14 percent. Investors have flocked to Germany as the safe haven. Yields there are sharply down, the
lowest since 2012.
[16:25:01] Stephanie Flanders is in London. She's the chief market strategist for the UK and Europe at JPMorgan Asset Management. Stephanie,
we have much to get through. First of all, though, do you believe that the other eurozone members are more insulated from a Grexit?
STEPHANIE FLANDERS, : Look, I think they're much less vulnerable than they were a few years ago. It's a combination. We have -- they have
better tools for dealing with contagion.
But as you mentioned yourself, the countries themselves are in a stronger position than they were then. They've enjoyed much lower interest
rates for a long time, they've made improvements in their economies. Most of their economies are going. Countries like Spain are doing particularly
So, even if you saw some kind of contagion, maybe a bigger increase in borrowing rates than we saw today. They're in a better place to withstand
that. And we know that when it comes to it, the European Central Bank has better tools now, and maybe we feel more comfortable about using those
tools if it wants to intervene in the market and make sure that there isn't a tightening in condition.
So, I think that sort of, if you like, the reassurance we've had from other people today about the immediate contagion risks is broadly right,
even though we can expect to see this kind of volatility.
But that's rather different from saying that an exit of a country from the eurozone wouldn't be a big deal. It would be a big deal, and I think
it could have very long-term consequences for the system and for the way we perceive risk in the system as investors. It's just not something we would
necessarily see derail the recovery right now.
QUEST: On that point, you -- I don't know whether you were able to hear the economy minister. If there's no more negotiations and the
referendum goes ahead, and it's a "no" vote, do you see this referendum as being de facto euro or no euro for Greece?
FLANDERS: I think the fact that the Europeans have gone out of their way to say this is about the euro, just as they did, you'll remember, in
2011, when Prime Minister Papandreou also called a referendum that was also very unpopular with Chancellor Merkel and others. Both times they've said
this is about the euro, and people in Greece should be under no doubt that this is about membership of the euro.
So, I think you would certainly -- it would be difficult to predict that there would be a big change of negotiating position or a softening of
position on the European side if there was a "no" vote.
I think if there's a "yes" vote, things get more complicated, and actually that -- the interview, the very interesting interview you had with
the economy minister, he was prevaricating about whether Syriza would go in those circumstances, what he saw happening, who he thought, then, would be
negotiating with the Europeans.
That for me is a much bigger question mark, because I'm not sure the European creditors really know how they will deal with a "yes" vote.
QUEST: No one knows how this is going to play out, and certainly the capital controls probably here in Athens are -- or in Greece are here for
some time. Help us understand with your experience, where do you think this plays out now?
FLANDERS: Well, I think if you do see a "no" vote, then things do become very messy, because it's hard to see how the European Central Bank
could feel comfortable continuing to offer even the support it's still offering to Greek banks.
So, then, how do the banks reopen? How do you stop having these really kind of tough controls on the financial system? Who is negotiating
with the creditors at that point? So, for me, I think that is a very dark scenario, or at least, certainly, a closer to Grexit, exit from the euro
There's another possibility, which is a brighter one, which is that for once, the European creditors actually get their act together, they
respond to a "yes" vote in a kind of generous way, possibly dealing with a different kind of government after that, which makes it easier for them to
change what they're offering, or at least give a sense that they're going to be offering the Greek people a different kind of deal.
And that could end slightly better because we'd have a lot of logistics around negotiating a new deal. They have to start from scratch,
as you mention yourself. The deal -- the facility that they were negotiating about no longer exists in a legal sense. But that could also
be a relatively smoother path out of this, given where we are -- relative to where we are.
What worries me, I think, is the middle ground where you've had a "yes" vote, but actually, the mechanics of getting Greece out of this mess,
now it has allowed the deal to expire, now it's no longer on the table, now you have capital controls, now the ECB feels very implicated.
That worries me quite a lot. Because you could have an accidental exit from the euro even when countries have voted -- people have voted to
[16:29:58] QUEST: Which is -- which -- which is exactly, of course, perhaps, some would argue, how we got to where we are today. Stephanie
Flanders, who is in London. Thank you very much. Good to have your input on the program tonight.
Now, where Alexis Tsipras blames his creditors for the Greek crisis, the opposition politicians lay the blame squarely at Mr. Tsipras's feet.
Because the opposition finance spokesman, she's going to tell me what she would have done differently. She's on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS in a moment.
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. I'm live in Athens. There's more "Quest Means Business" in a moment when we'll be speaking to a member of
the Greek opposition on what's at stake as she sees it for the referendum and a tiny hear an exclusive interview with the Swiss attorney general on
the investigation into FIFA.
And a tiny economy with a giant debt burden. It's not Greece, it's Puerto Rico. Before all of that this is CNN and on this network, the news
always comes first.
Greece appears to be headed for default on its loans from the International Monetary Fund. The Greek economy minister says it's
impossible for his country to make a $1.7 billion payment to the IMF scheduled on Tuesday. And speaking to me a short time ago, Giorgios
Stathakis said Greece doesn't have the money.
GIORGIOS STATHAKIS, GREEK ECONOMY MINISTER: (Inaudible) most likely we won't pay the money under the circumstances.
QUEST: You're saying now you will not pay? There is not the money in Greece?
QUEST: On Wall Street, the Dow Jones closed down 250 points as U.S. investors reacted to the events in Greece. It was down from the open and
only grew worse. It was the worst day so far in 2015.
Major counter-terror exercises are to be held in London in the coming days (CLEARS THROAT) - excuse me - after an attack on a Tunisian resort
that killed at least 18 British members. The number of British victims could go higher.
Flowers have been placed at the site of the shooting. The Tunisian authorities have boosted security in the wake of the attack.
DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Over the next two days, our security forces and emergency services will conduct a major training
exercise in London to test and refine the U.K.'s preparedness for dealing with a serious terrorist attack.
But we must also do more to make sure the powers we give our security services keep pace with changes in technology. ISIL's methods of murder
may be barbaric, but its methods of recruitment, the propaganda, the communication use the latest technology.
So we must step up our own efforts to support our agencies in tracking vital online communications.
[16:35:06] QUEST: Egypt's top prosecutor has been assassinated in a car bombing near his home in Cairo. At least six people are reported
injured. It's not clear who carried out the attack. Islamic militants opposed to Egyptian President Abdel el-Sisi have increasingly been
targeting state officials.
French authorities have detained two managers from the ride-sharing app Uber as part of the ongoing investigation in that country.
Uber could be charged with incitements of illegal activity according to the interior minister. It comes after protests staged by taxi unions
turned violent last week. Uber is now considered illegal in France and some taxi unions believe the app gives drivers an unfair advantage.
Now just about three hours ago, the scene behind me was absolutely packed. There were tens of thousands of people in this square. Protesters
were gathered in front of the Parliament building. They were demanding the Greek government reject any deal with its creditors.
The Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is banking on the people who were here and those who are still here now to support him at the same time.
Two polls published this weekend suggest most Greeks want to stay in the Eurozone. That has been a constant throughout. At the same time of
course, most of them do not want the austerity or the increased terms that the Eurozone is insisting upon.
Our correspondent Isa Soares has been speaking to the people who'll bear the brunt of a default and are already feeling the crisis now.
ISA SOARES, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: In the harsh light of day, Greeks take shelter from their new realities, having to queue for a daily
sum of 60 euros. Across Athens, these and other scenes of despair.
MARIA, TEACHER: It's been one of the worst days as long as I remember. This is the worst day in Greece. Last night was the most
dramatic night. There was never such a thing as, you know, no money in the ATMs or anything. And people are very confused about what to do.
SOARES: It's this confusion that has many running to ATMs, fearing that they may soon run out of cash. This is after all a country that
relies more on cash than cards.
Despite the rain, Greeks continue to queue, that queue going further down, many people sheltering from the rain. The majority of the people
we're seeing have been able to take out the limit of 60 euros but we have spoken to several pensioners who said they have not been able to count not
even a single euro.
And while today people may be somewhat optimistic, the reality of the crisis may set in in the next couple of days. Eltithia has been queuing
here for some time. As she tries and fails time and time again to get some of her pension money withdraw.
How frustrated are you with what's happening?
ELTITHIA, PENSIONER, INTERPRETED BY SOARES: "I've tried ten times in two different ATMs and both of them I got nothing back," she says. "I will
now borrow money from a friend to survive for the day."
SOARES: Those who need more than 60 euros are searching every cubbyhole and travel bag for dollars, British sterling or any cash from
their last holidays.
Female: Greeks like I said they want to trade their leftover foreign exchange that they have had at home or wherever to get euros because they
are in need of euros right now.
SOARES: For those not yet in a state of panic, there is a reminder in every corner of the referendum and a call by the government for (AUDIO GAP)
key - no to the E.U. proposals. For some though, any vote now which is too little too late.
Female, INTERPRETED BY SOARES: "I don't trust anyone, nothing. Everything is over for us," tells me Sylvia. "We pay taxes, we have gone
bankrupt. Everything we own is gone," she says.
SOARES: In the upcoming referendum, Greeks still have a choice, choosing between extremely bad or extremely worse. Isa Soares, CNN Athens,
QUEST: Joining me now is Anna-Michel Asimakopoulou who's the finance minister for opposition New Democracy party. But first I must start with
asking your reaction. You heard the economy minister on this program saying yes, Greece will default tomorrow for the IMF.
The first time a developed country has ever done this to the Fund.
[16:40:03] ANNA-MICHEL ASIMAKOPOULOU, NEW DEMOCRACY PARTY FINANCE SPOKESWOMAN: Great. That's all we need now. We have banks that are shut
down, our economy is at a standstill. What else is Mr. Tsipras going to do to this country?
You have to realize, Richard, this is a plan. This referendum - this parody of a referendum, this surreal referendum about a non-existing deal
is the last act in a plan - Mr. Tsipras' plan - to take us out of Europe.
QUEST: Right. So do you think that even though the minister says it is not a vote for the euro or the other one - drachma - do you see this as
vote euro or drachma?
ASIMAKOPOULOU: Of course it is. There - anything -
QUEST: (Inaudible) anything wrong with that? There's nothing wrong with that for people will have a chance to give their view on that very
ASIMAKOPOULOU: Well. You know Mr. Tsipras promised the people a whole different thing. What Mr. Tsipras said is that he would get them a
better deal and keep them in the Eurozone. Because if he had said he was taking us out of the Eurozone, they wouldn't have voted for him.
He also promised them 11 billion worth of handouts and then he put his name to a deal of 8 billion worth of taxes on your average citizen and the
private sector -
ASIMAKOPOULOU: -- to hire his cronies in the public sector.
QUEST: If it's one thing I've tried to get to grips with, it is how did bailout plans that worked in Ireland, Spain, Portugal and elsewhere
fail to work here? And that's where you have to bear some of the blame and the previous governments in this country from 2010 to today.
Do you accept the blame or part of the blame for the failures of the plans so far?
ASIMAKOPOULOU: Listen, democracy which was born in Greece is not just about rights, it's also about responsibilities. Yes, the political system
has failed the people of Greece. We achieved a remarkable fiscal adjustment and an unprecedented amount of structural changes.
QUEST: But you didn't make the structural changes required. You didn't. The private sector did, the public sector didn't.
ASIMAKOPOULOU: We did a lot more than this person is about to do. He doesn't want to do that at all. This is now about the Greek people. I'll
accept responsibility for not inspiring enough hope. But this is suicide. Yes is yes to Europe and no is absolute chaos. Now there is still time.
QUEST: Well you say there's time, but where is that time? Because, you know, Juncker says he feels betrayed, Tsipras says financial
asphyxiation. After Sunday, where is the time? What do you want to see happen after Sunday?
ASIMAKOPOULOU: I want Greeks to tell this unscrupulous, ruthless demagogue -
QUEST: (Inaudible) political view - that's a political point you're making.
ASIMAKOPOULOU: Yes. I want Greeks to say yes and when Greeks say yes and do what you said - take responsibility for paying the price for staying
in the Eurozone - I want Europe to answer back and say yes, we can figure this out.
QUEST: Why should Europe believe the next five years of the next bailout would be any more successful than the poor success of the last five
years of the previous two bailouts?
ASIMAKOPOULOU: I think we've come a long way. We were just about to get out of this - we didn't have much longer to go, and then this person
came and took advantage of the weak - took advantage of us when we had made a contribution of 30 percent of our GDP just to move forward.
Now there wasn't a lot more ground to cover, now there is. I think he'll hear the Greek people say maturely, `Yes, we are willing to do this
because we are Europeans. And I hope that our European partners, in spite of what they've been through and our destroyed credibility -- no thanks to
Mr. Tsipras - will say yes back to us.
QUEST: Good to see you, (inaudible). Thank you very much -
ASIMAKOPOULOU: Thank you.
QUEST: -- for joining us, putting it into perspective. Doing our best as we can to sift through the various arguments without getting too
enmeshed in the internal politics of Greece which of course is pretty difficult when it comes to the Greek financial crisis.
As it goes into its next act, the curtain rises on another debt drama. This time it's a small country with a high debt load. No - it's in the
Caribbean. This is "Quest Means Business."
QUEST: As the drama unfolds in Greece, another debt crisis is emerging, this time it's in the Caribbean. Puerto Rico announced it will
not be able to make payments on its $73 billion debt. The island's governor's warning it's on the verge of a financial death spiral.
CNN's Samuel Burke is in New York with more. First of all, Samuel, we need to know how did Puerto Rico get through this point?
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Richard, if you are fed up of hearing the words `spending, lending and austerity,' I suggest
when you leave the Mediterranean that you don't head to the Caribbean or at least not to Puerto Rico.
On top of all those factors, people agree that Puerto Rico got to this point in the past after a major real estate crash in 2004 and then just two
years later, Richard, they lost an important U.S. tax break for factories there. And on top of all this, all along, Richard, they've enjoyed a
triple tax-free bond. No local taxes, no state taxes, no federal taxes on their bonds which has made it very attractive for investors to keep on
pumping in their money and keep on pumping up Puerto Rico's debt.
QUEST: Now, Samuel, for those of us not familiar and frankly every time Puerto Rico comes on the news agenda, I have to remind myself what is
the relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States? I know it's a protector of sorts but what's the legal liability here?
BURKE: Well it is part of the United States, Richard, but it's a Commonwealth or a territory, and so yes, they have American passports which
has caused a lot of brain drain. Lots of Puerto Ricans have left. There's been a major exodus. But nobody thinks - not one of the people I
talk to - unlike Greece where you seem to be able to get an opinion from every which direction - not one person that I spoke with seemed to think
that the United States would bail out Puerto Rico the way they might help out a united state - one of the actual 50 states.
But what everybody pointed to, Richard, was the fact that \80 percent of Puerto Rico's debt is in municipal bonds. So many Americans, many
retirees, might wake up and realize that they have exposure in their pensions - some banks, some municipal funds.
So, no, they don't think the United States will bail them out, but there is exposure outside the island.
QUEST: Samuel Burke with more debt. We are up to our neck in debt, one way and another. From one troubled nation to another, we'll return to
the streets of Greece. We're going to hear from the president of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce. This is "Quest Means Business" and
we are live in Athens on this important week.
[16:51:05] Female: We don't want to have Merkel to say to us `you do that, you do the other.' We don't want to have the Germans to govern us
because we have a government and we want this Greek government to make the decisions -- not the people of the Eurogroup.
Female 2: We do not get their respect. They do not respect us. They feel like the poor relatives of the Euro (inaudible). We've seen no
productivity ph eternal (ph). Try to understand that.
QUEST: So who then pays the bill for -- ?
Female 2: I don't know about that. Ask them who make to feel like we have to owe something (inaudible) we do not get.
QUEST: The people of Greece will head to the polls this Sunday to determine if the country will accept the terms of a new bailout, such
there'd be, from its creditors. Simos Anastasopoulos is the president of the American-Hellenic Chamber of Commerce.
As always, sir, good to meet you. You are in favor of a yes vote?
SIMOS ANASTASOPOULOS, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN-HELLENIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: I believe that indeed we are in favor of a yes. Although, you
know, the question - it's to be clarified - needs to be explained better to the people so we understand the consequences of voting yes or no.
QUEST: Well no the question is - the question is extremely complicated. It all goes to the agreement. But substantially, do you see
this as a vote yes/no on the euro?
ANASTASOPOULOS: Well from the moment that they understand that this is how our partners - our creditors - are taking our answer, then we have
to take into account the perception of the yes or no vote. This is the thing that the Greek people need to understand --
QUEST: But -
ANASTASOPOULOS: - what a no will mean eventually.
QUEST: What do you believe a no means? Do you think a no means out the Euro?
ANASTASOPOULOS: Well, not in the way that our government explains it. But as a consequence - as a consequence of what no means, yes, it
eventually means it believes no other option available for the government I believe.
QUEST: Let's talk about how your members are handling the banking crisis. What are they doing because, you know, how are they managing to do
bank transfers, inter-transfers, national transfers?
ANASTASOPOULOS: Well we had a severe liquidity problem before. So now you can understand that with the banks closed, it's even more
(inaudible) to do business.
You know, you see, the Greek business model relies a lot on post-dated checks. If we're unable to help to take our checks to the bank, it will be
- it is not possible for us to pay salaries, to pay our debts, to pay, you know - (inaudible) to survive.
QUEST: And what about online transfers, online transactions -
ANASTASOPOULOS: Within Greece. That we can do within Greece.
QUEST: So you can - so as long as the money stays within the Greek banking system, you're OK?
ANASTASOPOULOS: Exactly. As long as the money stays within, mini (ph) banking or web banking, they're OK. But it has to stay within. Our
main suppliers are outside the country, you know. Greece imports a lot of raw materials. This what keeps our manufacturing going on.
QUEST: Do you have any idea - do you have any idea how long this is going to last - the banking crisis? Have you been given any indication
from the government?
ANASTASOPOULOS: At least until next Monday. This is what the legislation says, `til next Monday. Now of course depending on the
referendum, depending on the results and what they are going to say, it is very possible that we'll continue next week, hopefully without a haircut.
QUEST: Do you believe that this is the most dangerous time in terms of Greece's euro membership? Are we now looking into the abyss for Greece
in the Euro?
ANASTASOPOULOS: I think we are very close to this point because being made clear I think from our partners today, all the voices from the
European Union, the IMF, bank of (ph) European Parliament, yes, this is a very dangerous time for Greece. We are very close to Grexit.
QUEST: You're very close to Grexit. How will your members cope with that?
ANASTASOPOULOS: With great difficulty I suppose. You know, most of our members are not only Greek companies, there are most of the American
multi-nationals in Greek, but also multiple European with the nationals in Greece. And it will be extremely difficult for them to continue doing
[16:55:05] QUEST: Pulling the strands together then, the vote - between now and the vote - between now and Sunday, almost nothing really
happens - except campaigning and parades (inaudible).
ANASTASOPOULOS: Of course campaigning is there, but at the same time if Greece has enough time to explain what the vote means to the people.
And this has to come from the government's part, because the government has to -
QUEST: Who wants to know.
ANASTASOPOULOS: Exactly. Of course I want to know what the government has to say, definitely. And on the other side, we need to hear
our partners. They have a saying of this - this our decision -
ANASTASOPOULOS: -- that reflects of the European Union also. So they have a saying.
QUEST: Thank you very much, sir.
ANASTASOPOULOS: Thank you, Richard. We appreciate having you here. Thank you.
QUEST: We will have a "Profitable Moment" after the break.
QUEST: Tonight's "Profitable Moment" from Syntagma Square. For so many weeks, the threat has been there. Greece would default, the bailout
would expire, controls would be introduced, financial Armageddon would arrive. Well now many of those threats have become real.
People can only take 60 euros out of the bank. And more than likely, within the next 24 hours, Greece will default to the IMF.
But take a look at the crowds. Anybody who had expected a sense of chaos, confusion or panic or indeed the sort of violent protests that we've
seen in the past, they're seriously mistaken. All this tonight is about the no campaign. They want a no vote in Sunday's referendum. They may get
it, they may not. That isn't the point.
Tonight, once again, the Greek people are showing that , yes, when it comes to democracy, they can still show the way. And that's "Quest Means
Business" for this Monday night. I'm Richard Quest in Athens.
[17:00:03] Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable. I'll see you tomorrow.