Euro Fall Prompts New Hedge Fund Criticism

Feb 11 2010 | 9:06am ET

With the euro facing pressure from short-sellers, European lawmakers are turning to their favorite scapegoats: hedge fund managers.

Several European Union lawmakers and finance ministers are demanding severe restrictions on speculators and short-sellers in the wake of the euro’s decline, which many blame on hedge funds. Those rules would go above and beyond those already on the table, which would impose strict reporting and custody requirements on hedge fund and private equity managers, as well as possible leverage limits.

“I am going to try to introduce a ban on naked short-selling for alternative investment funds,” Jean Paul Gauzes, a conservative member of the European Parliament and a close ally of newly-minted EU internal markets commissioner Michel Barnier, said. “I am in favor of asking the commission to come up with proposals, but there is nothing to stop us doing it already.”

Short-sellers have been all over the euro in recent days, concerned by debt problems on the parts of Greece, Portugal and Spain.

Barnier is also set to face pressure from the French and German finance ministers at a meeting of EU finance ministers next week.

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