Huge sums of Treasury bonds seized on italian-swiss border

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  • Mon, Jun 08, 2009 - 12:55pm

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    guybrush.threepwood

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    Huge sums of Treasury bonds seized on italian-swiss border

A short summary in english, i found the news in italian only.

On june, 4th the Italian police officials of the "Guardia di Finanza" and swiss authorities stopped two japanese businessmen arriving in Switzerland from the italian border at Chiasso; at the customs check the two declared nothing and were discovered having hidden in their luggage 249 FED Bonds ($500 millions each) and 10 "Kennedy" bonds ($1 billion each) for a total of $134 billion in value.

Investigations are underway, officials say.

I found the news here (italian only):

Mercato Libero Blog (italian financial blog):

http://mercatoliberonews.blogspot.com/2009/06/la-stangata-del-millennio.html

Ticino Online (swiss newspaper): 

http://www.tio.ch/aa_pagine_comuni/articolo_interna.asp?idarticolo=464556&idsezione=1&idsito=1&idtipo=3

Guardia di finanza (official site):

http://www.gdf.it/GdF__Informa/Notizie_Stampa/AdnKronos/Adnkronos_2009/Adnkronos_Giugno_2009/info-1518911049.html

Other references can be found on adnkronos.

  • Mon, Jun 08, 2009 - 07:53pm

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    Re: Huge sums of Treasury bonds seized on italian-swiss …

But they had nothing of value to declare……

  • Mon, Jun 08, 2009 - 08:01pm

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    Re: Huge sums of Treasury bonds seized on italian-swiss …

[quote=gyrogearloose]

But they had nothing of value to declare……

[/quote]

Well, just that 134 billion or so in treasuries in case the car broke down or something. 🙂

If this is true, is this not a huge story? What are the Japanese doing smuggling this massive amount of treasuries into Switzerland?

I sent this post to Matt Drudge and asked him to break the story in the U.S. We’ll see.

  • Tue, Jun 09, 2009 - 06:59pm

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    Re: Huge sums of Treasury bonds seized on italian-swiss …

I keep coming back to this post hoping to see some additional news on this.  Seems very fishy to me and I coudn’t find any other news items about it anywhere.

  • Tue, Jun 09, 2009 - 08:38pm

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    Re: Huge sums of Treasury bonds seized on italian-swiss …

http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=15456&size=A

[quote]» 06/08/2009 15:18
ASIA – ITALY
US government securities seized from Japanese nationals, not clear whether real or fake
Bonds worth US$ 134.5 billion are seized. This is the largest financial smuggling case in history. But are they real? Concern over ‘funny money’ or counterfeit securities is spreading in Asia. The international press is silent.

Milan (AsiaNews) –  Italy’s 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. [/quote]

Italian authorities have not yet determined whether they are real or fake, but if they are real the attempt to take them into Switzerland would be the largest financial smuggling operation in history; if they are fake, the matter would be even more mind-boggling because the quality of the counterfeit work is such that the fake bonds are undistinguishable from the real ones.

What caught the policemen’s attention were the billion dollar securities. Such a large denomination is not available in regular financial and banking markets. Only states handle such amounts of money.

The question now is who could or would counterfeit or smuggle these non-negotiable bonds.

In order to stop money laundering Italian law sets a ceiling of 10,000 euros per person for importing or exporting money without declaring it. The penalty for violating the law is 40 per cent of the money seized.

If the certificates were real, for Italy it would be like hitting the jackpot. The fine alone would amount to US$ 38 billion, five times the estimated cost of rebuilding quake-devastated Abruzzi region. It would help Italy’s eliminate its public deficit.

If the certificates are fakes the two Japanese nationals could get a very lengthy jail sentence for fraud.

As soon as the seizure was made the US Embassy in Rome was informed. Italian and US secret services were called in to assist the Italian financial police.

Some important international financial newspapers had already reported on the existence of ‘funny money’ circulating on parallel, i.e. unofficial, financial markets.

For AsiaNews a few points need considering:

1.      When it comes to Italy the world press has tended to focus on Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi’s personal problems rather than on stories like the bonds smuggling affair which has been front page on Italian newspapers.

2.      The fear of counterfeit bonds and securities has spread across Asia with the result that real securities are also considered with suspicion.

3.      During the Second World War several countries at war printed and put in circulation perfectly counterfeit enemy money. It is also historically established that some central banks, like the Bank of Italy 65 years ago, issued the same securities twice (identical registered number and code). This way they could print more money with legal tender than they officially declared. The main difference though is that 65 years ago the world was involved in a bloody war, which is not the case today.

 

 

  • Wed, Jun 10, 2009 - 06:55am

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    Re: Huge sums of Treasury bonds seized on italian-swiss …

For AsiaNews a few points need considering:

1.      When it comes to Italy the world press has tended to focus on Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi’s personal problems rather than on stories like the bonds smuggling affair which has been front page on Italian newspapers.

 

Actually, what AsiaNews is saying about the Italian press is false.

I’m Italian and nothing whatsoever surfaced on national newspapers regarding this story, let alone the front page, even if press agency adnkronos reported the news; same goes for the tv.

 

  • Wed, Jun 10, 2009 - 01:14pm

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    Re: Huge sums of Treasury bonds seized on italian-swiss …

Thanks for sharing this CB!

  • Fri, Jun 12, 2009 - 10:06pm

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    Re: Huge sums of Treasury bonds seized on italian-swiss …

Broke on Drudge……..Thanks for breaking this story in the U.S. guy:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601101&sid=ayy1QKcwcGN0

  • Sun, Jun 14, 2009 - 12:07am

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    Re: Huge sums of Treasury bonds seized on italian-swiss …

A few days ago I had trouble comming up with the asia news link. Today google stats had 12k entries on this subject. This link for JapanToday repeats the basic story and people speculate in comments that North Korea may have been involved – counterfeit bonds and fake passports… toward what end I have no idea – the amount is so huge.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/2-japanese-carrying-134-bil-worth-of-us-bonds-detained-in-italy

The buuz seems to be that the amount was correctly reported and the incident did occur.

from comments:

[quote]

bertoldo at 03:06 AM JST – 12th June

weird, definitely. I’m italian, and I confirm that the sum is correctly translated ("miliardi" stays for billions). the story is covered mainly by blogs, conspiracy sites,local swiss newspapers, but it is on some italian mainstream media as well and on the police site, without great emphasis though (in the "strange but true" sections, so no analysis at all).

a blog published an interview to a police officer in which he confirms the fact, and that the police is collaborating with some Us secret agents to establish whether the bills are false or not: http://crisis.blogosfere.it/2009/06/96-miliardi-di-bond-intervista-al-col-mecarelli.html

the two men apparently tried to reach switzerland mixed with ordinary commuters on a train.

nothing more, very few links on the international sites. it’s usual that people crossing the border are asked if they have something to declare, and there can be a search, but not always and not in so accurate way.

  • bdiego at 05:51 PM JST – 12th June

    $134 Billion suggests it’s either fake or from a sovereign fund. However that amount is a large fraction of what most countries hold of US treasuries – it’s unlikely that China would just hand 5% or 10% of all US Debt they own to a pair of guys. It would be as likely as someone carrying 70 out of all 72 Monet’s in the world across the border – fakes.

    What’s more likely is this is North Korea smuggling forgeries, first by landing in port in Italy by private ship then crossing the border by land into Switzerland where NK’s financial stash is known to be. The idea is there’s less scrutiny at border crossings than by plane where it will pass through x-ray (true to a degree). Italy is the simplest entry to Switzerland by boat, and NK employs several boats for smuggling as has been thoroughly documented and in fact being discussed as we speak at the UN for the new resolution.

  • bdiego at 05:57 PM JST – 12th June

    More info: There are only three countries in the world that even possess that much in US bonds: China, Russia, and Japan. Furthermore the denominations are suspicious as they are no longer in print, and in any case as they are part of sovereign funds are almost definitely fake by this fact alone.

  • bdiego at 06:20 PM JST – 12th June

    Consider these background facts: * North Korean faced international sanctions over institutional counterfeiting of US $100 bills. The country has no qualms about mass producing counterfeit money. * North Korea has repeatedly manufactured fake passports, such as the Dominican Republica one used by Kim Il Jung’s son to repeatedly enter Japan (where he was caught wearing a diamond encrusted watch). He claimed he was visiting Disneyland, but witnesses say he went straight to the red light district. The country has no qualms about mass producing counterfeit passports and claiming fake citizenship. * There are a million ethnic Koreans in Japan who are otherwise Japanese, about a third of whom identify with North Korea and have supported North Korea’s policies including kidnapping, murder, and international terrorism. North Korea has in fact admitted to these allegations, which are the crux of Japan’s stance in six-way talks. North Korea has no qualms about terrorism, murder, kidnapping, or any crimes in general. * North Korea’s counterfeiting, missile sale, and opium production are all designed to generate hard currency it desperately needs to survive. It will do anything to get money. * One of the few safe havens in the world for North Korea is Switzerland due to its strong neutrality. Kim Il Jung’s heir went to school there and Switzerland serves as a repository for much of North Korea’s currency and banking needs. * North Korea has been known to use its small fleet of ships to transport agents into various countries for its crimes – as demonstrated by their use in kidnapping operations off Japan. Agents prefer to disembark by ship and cross borders by land. * As only China, Japan, and Russia even possess this amount in bonds these are the only nationalities any smugglers would claim. Alas, such denominations of bonds do not exist in this amount and would be accounted for in any case, and they are almost definitely forgeries. * North Korea has a colorful history of organized crime dating back decades – not many years have to pass for another bizarre pattern of crimes to emerge and it was only a couple of years ago they were caught for mass counterfeiting of dollars.[/quote]

  • Sun, Jun 14, 2009 - 02:10am

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    Re: Huge sums of Treasury bonds seized on italian-swiss …

 If this story is true. The implications are grave.  They are likely real.  Why fake those types of bonds?

 

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