Skip to comments.The Japanese Bond Smugglers Are Missing
Posted on 06/17/2009 9:31:51 PM PDT by FromLori
A reporter is sent to Italy to learn more about the bond smuggling story. But nobody knows where the two men are.
At least the Japanese press is sitll interested in story of the two Japanese men caugh withs ome $134.5 billion in (presumably fake) US bearer bonds.
We can't read Japanese, and Google Translate isn't particularly helpful, but a reader informs us that the gist of this story is that a newspaper sent a reporter to Como, Italy and found that the men had been released, with their whereabouts unknown.
Now, the easiest, most-benign explanation for this whole thing is that it's just a counterfeiting scheme. Fine, but then why do you let them go without tracking their whereabouts.
(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...
obviously, there’s nothing to see here........... right...
Yup. We don't need to know...Obama will take care of it.
We just need to go back to work now and mind our own business.
This story just keeps getting better every day.
If they were counterfeit, that would be a crime, and they would not have been released.
Logical conclusion: They were the real deal, and the men were released no doubt with a little urging from the Japanese embassy there.
Or the American Embassy?
I think that 0’s bosses took care of it.
It's gone from strange to downright sublime.
These guys get caught crossing the border with 134 BILLION in U.S. bonds and they're just "released?"
What planet is this? I need to stop reading here.
They went missing, eh? Just like our money, our future, our country. /pessimism
(bump for later reference)
Unless certain Sicilian families were involved. Then one phone call to the right person in the police would open the jail doors.
I'm still betting on real bonds which some country is trying to dump but doesn't want to start a panic before they get out of US bonds.
I wonder if the Italians got to keep (by their law) 30% of the seized value? (I think it’s 30%)
Well, there’s obviously more to the story than what is being told.
I don’t know what to make of it. From a persepctive of an American who holds at least some US currency, I’d probably hope they’re forgeries.
If they’re real, watch out...
If the story at the top of the thread is true, you win your bet."
That can be the only plausible explanation - they were real bonds that some HUGE bond-holding nation was unloading legally (but off the open market), therefore no actual crime was committed.
I'm thinking that if the story is true, they have to be real bonds. See my previous post.
But then, when ya got 134 billion in BEARER BONDS in 500 Million Dollar denominations, a bond or two might buy you a key purty darn quick!
Mr Phelps, your mission - if you decide to accept it......
Down the memory hole.
I was thinking about that, and aI dmittedly know nothing about the particular international laws, but I would imagine that if the two Japanese couriers were acting as fiduciaries of a government (which the would have had to have been with that much in REAL bonds), they then would have been operating under an entirely different set of laws than a private traveler.
... or real bonds that were converted from stimulus money that was being secretly sent to pay off someone, some company, or some country.
At first, I thought that the bonds were real, on the grounds that a fake $500 million bearer bond would be (I thought) impossible to unload. But I was corrected with a 2002 story (http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2002/10/07/daily40.html) showing that bonds in this denomination are forged.
So I now believe that they are fake. Which makes the release of the two men very mysterious, and causes me to think it was a Mafia operation.
I’ll point out that if this is a government operation, it is NOT an operation to quietly unload T-bills. Completely bypassing the issue that bearer bonds are not needed to quietly unload something, a government could have stuck them in a diplomatic “black bag”. If this is a government operation, the intent was for the men to get caught, possibly to make an anonmyous gift of several billion to the cash-strapped Italians.
(1) They abet money laundering, because, unlike currency, just one piece of paper might have been worth millions of dollars.
(2) It was often very complicated to track sales and to tax interest payments.
In 2009, all US Treasury bearer bonds have matured, but apparently some have still not been redeemed.
The amount of unredeemed Treasury bearer bonds is not completely clear to me.
One financial website claims “less than $5 billion,” and Wikipedia claims “$100 billion.”
There's a web page at “Treasury Direct” that appears to state the amount is $100 million.
In any event, it seems likely that this huge amount of smuggled bearer bonds is counterfeit.
The scam usually works like this...
The con man offers to sell the bearer bonds for a fraction of their value because the “real owner” can't risk cashing them in because “he'll be arrested” or “assessed huge tax penalties” or some other nonsense.
When the buyers take the bonds to the US Treasury to cash them in, the Treasury just confiscates the fraudulent bonds and the buyer loses 100% of his investment.
All your bonds are belong to us!
Thank you Professor now I can stop wondering.
Japan holds over 600 Billion in US bonds. ...And Italian cops aren’t too hard to bribe.
I’ll bet $10 both of those guys are dead by now.
Their bodies will never be found.
Dead men tell no tales....
The outstanding amount of U.S. Treasuries bonds in bearer form is about $100 million. The Wikipedia entry was corrected to match the Treasury web site. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bearer_bonds
I am not sure if there was a crime committed under Italian law if there was no attempt to pass the bonds off as genuine, or is it a crime merely to possess counterfeit certificates without the act of committing a fraud?
It's not a government. If it was a government, they could have transported their bonds into Switzerland in a diplomatic pouch. Nor is it a company with enough clout with its own government to persuade it to transport the bonds for them.
The big question: what were the bonds doing in Italy in the first place?
Switzerland is landlocked. Only way to get there is by auto or plane. The main emphasis would have been on not implicating the bond owners. The Japanese men caught were just transporters. Doubt if they were Japanese Mafia since in Japan everyone knows who the mafia are (or perhaps that explains the media blackout - anyone see images of these two smugglers ?). Heck the mafia in Japan has offices with the mafia gang name.
The problem with transporting the bonds in a diplomat pouch is it leaves a solid trail to the owning country.