The last time the Ukraine had a transition of power, the new president defaulted on the debt issued by the old president. Well, the then-new president, Petro Poroshenko, has to face the voters again in less than two weeks, and the polls say he’s gonna get significantly less than the 54% of the vote he managed last time. In fact, if the most recent polling is to be believed, he might not even make the run-off to face the likely top vote-getter, a romantic comedy film star—since that whole entertainer-at-the-head-of-a-populist-political-movement thing is working out so well for we Americans and the Italians.

To be fair, given that there are only a few days left until Election Day, Poroshenko isn’t likely to be run out of the Mariyinsky Palace by a torch-wielding mob like the predecessor whose credit card bills he quickly disavowed. Still, when the cash-strapped Ukrainian treasury started hitting up the usual sources for some much-needed capital, some of those sources understandably said, “Can we wait a few weeks?”

Not so Jamie Dimon: He and his little bank were only too happy to extend a $350 million hand of friendship to the Ukrainians for a bit of a discount, and even happier to unload them all before President Ukrainian Ryan Gosling gets a chance to weigh in on the coupon payments.

JPMorgan proposed that Ukraine issue an additional $350 million of its outstanding bond due in 2028 and sell the incremental debt privately to the bank’s bond trading desk, the people familiar with the matter said.

The bank paid around 98.88 cents on the dollar for the bonds and has been reselling them to investors at the market rate of about 100.50 cents on the dollar, the people familiar with the deal said. If JPMorgan sold all of the bonds at that price it would make a profit of roughly $5.7 million on the trade.

JPMorgan Trading Desk Lends Ukraine $350 Million [WSJ]


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