be careful where you clique
The largest international financial smuggling conspiracy event ever…. went down on Wednesday June 3, 2009, in the remote Italian-Swiss border town of Ponte Chiasso. Two “Japanese” men, who have yet to be named, were allegedly carrying USD $134.5 billion worth of financial instruments. The Guardia Italiana di Finanza who is carrying out the investigation claims to have tracked the men from Milan where they boarded a train for Lugano, but transferred en route to a local train to cross over the border. In a hidden compartment of a suitcase, officials found 249 US Federal Reserve bonds each worth $500 million, plus ten Kennedy bonds with face values of $1 billion. One of the men is reported to be from Kanagawa prefecture, the other from Fukuoka. Here’s a Japanese news report.
Anonymous bearer bonds are the medium of choice when it comes to laundering money internationally. You can carry a ginormous amount around on a piece of paper, and as long as it's in your hand, you own it- no signatures, no notaries... puff, puff, give. The security on these things is so problematic that the Treasury hasn't been known to issue solely paper notes since the early 80's. They've since tried to keep a registry of sorts on who is holding what debt and track down all outstanding paper trails from years gone by.
But it's tricky. The Germans were making fake bonds during WWII, in an attempt to destabilize Allied economies. Operation Bernhard was intended to drop banknotes and bonds from passing airplanes over Britain.... the deposit never materialized, but the notes did. Even the CIA has had some forged bonds printed here and there. Some of these went down with a DC-10 plane crash in the Philippines and ended up in the hands of MILF rebels among others (note- there are entire islands under the control of MILF forces- the Moro Islamic Liberation Front- in the Philippine archipelago). Some of these notes surfaced in San Diego in 2004.
As for the Italian job, a spokesperson for the US treasury department, Stephen Meyerhardt, has stated that the notes are "clearly fakes" but even that claim was based on an internet photo assessment. The only official statements regarding the whole fracas were those made by the border patrol on June 4 right after the "instruments" were seized and the report issued by Colonel Rodolfo Mecarelli of the Como provincial finance police when the two men were released.
If the bonds are phony, why were the men released? Fraud after all is a crime, and if there was legitimate evidence that the US bonds were going to be put up as collateral for Swiss francs or Euros, the men could be held for conspiracy to commit fraud. However, if the bonds were in fact real... under Italian law, the men cannot be arrested. They can only be fined for exceeding the legal take-out limit of 10,000 euros. Incidentally the fine is 40% of the amount found.... and that 40% would go straight to the government of Italy- who probably wouldn't want to talk about it.
And that's where the fun begins.
If these bonds are fake... they're still very expensive to make, or at least keep other people's grubby hands off of: Where did they come from? Who made them? Are there more? Where were these guys headed? Why were they carrying them in a suitcase and not under better cloak and dagger? Even Don Johnson knows traveling in Switzerland requires a Mercedes and some henchmen.
If these bonds are real:
Who wins? 40% of 134.5 billion is a lot of money that goes straight to Italian coffers. That could clear up a good chunk of the nation's debt. Does the rest come back to America? Was this planned as some kind of payoff to Fiat for helping cover the auto failure?
Who loses? was Japan caught trying to secretly drop their American good faith? Or is this some kind of arranged deal to preemptively knockout Japan's attempt? In the days after this report surfaced, the Japanese Finance minister resigned. Japan has stated publicly it is steady with it's holdings. These may be completely independent events. The Japanese guys may or may not even be Japanese. One Italian news site reports that atleast one of the men is a well known Filipino con man named Yohannes Riyadi....another Asian news affiliate suspects one of the men could be Tuneo Yamauchi, a brother-in-law of Mr. Toshiro Muto, who was until recently Deputy Governor of the Bank of Japan.
The Human need to pattern keeps the internet awash with plenty of conspiratorial debauchery.