Skip to comments.Smuggling Or Counterfeit-Printing?
Posted on 06/11/2009 5:12:23 PM PDT by FromLori
Ok, this was rumored several days ago, but now I can find actual news reports - at least, outside the US:
Milan (AsiaNews) Italys financial police (Guardia italiana di Finanza) has seized US bonds worth US 134.5 billion from two Japanese nationals at Chiasso (40 km from Milan) on the border between Italy and Switzerland. They include 249 US Federal Reserve bonds worth US$ 500 million each, plus ten Kennedy bonds and other US government securities worth a billion dollar each.
Those sound like Bearer Bonds - at least the Kennedy ones do.
We no longer issue those (nor does pretty much anyone else) for obvious reasons - they're essentially money and can be had in VERY large size, making them great vehicles for various illegal enterprises.
But folks: This is $134.5 billion dollars worth.
If they're real, what government (the only entity that would have such a cache) is trying to unload them?
If they're fake, this is arguably the biggest counterfeiting operation ever, by a factor of many times. I've seen news about various counterfeiting operations over the years that have made me chuckle, but this one, if that's what it is, is absolutely jaw-dropping.
The cute part of this is that if the certificates are real Italy just got a hell of a bonanza - their money laundering laws provide for a statutory 40% penalty for failure to declare instruments and cash in excess of $10,000 Euros, which means they'd garner a close-to-$40 billion dollar windfall.
That ought to help their budget problems!
Notice, by the way, that the US Media has totally ignored this story - even though the securities in question are allegedly US instruments.
Gee, I wonder why? Might the authorities know they're real and be just a wee bit nervous that disclosure of a sovereign attempting to covertly dump nearly $140 billion in debt could cause a wee bit of panic, given that we're running nearly $200 billion a month in deficits?
Inquiring minds want to know what's really going on here.
A billion here, a billion there...
Well, there is plenty of reason to panic. Even the US government (the US taxpayer) has a limit to its ability to spend indiscriminately.
Having a party-crasher into the "stimulus spending" orgy right now is a tad inconvenient, even if legitimate... cerainly if counterfeit.
Madoff, Nadler, Obama, TARP. Where are the journalists?
Seriously could you just imagine someone had a video showing the harping over the economy just the other day when Bush was president and it showed the difference now how they spin it such as unemployment not as bad as we thought. I’ll have to try and find it.
Here’s the Italian police notice, with some small pics.
If these are real they almost have to have been covertly dumped by some nation and again, assuming they’re real, what would be the purpose?
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Where are the journalists? Gone, long gone. Journalists used to to wear cynicism like a badge of honor. Now they are believers. The pay is lousy, so the smart ones get out before they turn 30, leaving only the dullards with a sense of moral mission to infest newsrooms. Their better-paid superiors drank the bean-counters’ KoolAid long ago — as far as they are concerned, news is to be “packaged”, its veracity and content of secondary importance. the focus groups say the public approve of big ears (or used to), so that is the coverage the public gets. this sits very nicely with the dullards, who feel prosletyzing is part of their moral and professional briefs.
Honestly, the news business is stuffed. thoroughly and absolutely stuffed. Mind you, it deserves to be.
It's a real head scratcher, that's for sure. Here is the original FR thread with a lot of good speculation:
One of the things I read that I thought was very significant is that this was not just a huge bunch of bonds. The quantity was so great that five of them were in a denomination only printed for states.
This is our government trying to manipulate the bonds markets.
They’re mine , I apologize I should have known to pay the taxes ... you can keep 40% of the face value and return the rest ,, I promise to use a real accountant and ditch TurboTax next year ,, really I do...
I actually had 7 of these come across my desk a few years ago, people want to use them for collateral on loans. My guess is these Japanese gentleman were actually North Koreans, and they were trying to deposit them in Kim's swiss accounts. It's amazing how many bankers will fall for such an obvious scam.
I was wondering myself if it could have been North Koreans
For most of their history after World War II, Treasury notes have been issued with denominations never rising above a high of $1 million. Yet, from 1955 to 1969, the Treasury issued Treasury notes with the added denominations of $100 million and $500 million.
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