Financial Brinkmanship

Bankers pressure Poland to pay interest on its staggering debts

Some 500 Western banks and the Polish government last week were playing a multibillion-dollar game of financial chicken. On the one side, some American and European financiers contemplated seizing Polish bank accounts, ships or airliners if the Warsaw government fails to make a $500 million interest payment by the end of the year. If just one of the banks started to grab Polish assets, it could set off a dash for cash that would threaten the stability of international banking by calling down an avalanche of lawsuits, tightening credit around the world,...

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