Last week I reported on the silence of this explosive news story: Italy’s financial police Seize $134.5 billion US Bonds on the Border between Italy and Switzerland: Smuggling Or Counterfeit.
The relevant question was the authenticity of this mind boggling bust, $134 billion - larger than the GNP of many a small nation.
I speculated that if the bonds were fake (which it is now being reported that they are) that it was the work of the North Koreans. This is what the NORKS do. Counterfeit. And they are bloody good at it. So good, in fact, that it took two weeks to determine that they were fakes. Asia News wonders the same thing:
Italy’s Guardia di Finanza has a reputation for being a highly specialised and expert financial police agency. How could it be so easily duped! And if the bonds are “clearly fakes” why did it take US authorities two weeks to find out.
Another discrepancy is the fact that, along with the securities, original and recent bank documents were seized as proof of their authenticity.
If what Meyerhardt says is true, some major financial institutions have been deceived by the securities carried by the two Asian men. This would be a bombshell and raise serious questions as to how many bank assets are actually made up of securities that for Meyerhardt are “clearly fakes.”
If counterfeit securities of such high quality are in circulation the world’s monetary system, let alone that of the United States, is in danger. International trade and exchanges could come to a halt.
June 18 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. government bonds found in the false bottom of a suitcase carried by two Japanese travelers attempting to cross into Switzerland are fake, a Treasury spokesman said.
“They’re clearly fakes,” Stephen Meyerhardt, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of the Public Debt in Washington, said yesterday. “That’s beyond the fact that the face value is far beyond what’s out there.”
Italy’s financial police last week said they asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to authenticate the seized bonds, with a face value of $134 billion. Colonel Rodolfo Mecarelli of the Guardia di Finanza in Como, Italy, said the securities, seized in Chiasso, Italy, were probably forgeries.
Meyerhardt said Treasury records show an estimated $105.4 million in bearer bonds have yet to be surrendered. Most matured more than five years ago, he said. The Treasury stopped issuing bearer bonds in 1982, Meyerhardt said.
Had the notes been genuine, the pair would have been the U.S. government’s fourth-biggest creditor, ahead of the U.K. with $128 billion of U.S. debt and just behind Russia, which is owed $138 billion.
According to the Italian authorities, the seized notes included 249 securities with a face value of $500 million each and 10 additional bonds with a value of more than $1 billion, as well as securities purported to be “Kennedy” bonds. Meyerhardt said no such securities exist.