It is difficult to locate any follow-up information regarding this matter on the internet. The story broke over a month ago and this post is the sole response to a Google search on the event this afternoon. Why do you think that is?
Let’s take a quick look at the facts of this fiasco.
On June 3, Italy’s Guardia di Finanza (Financial Police) arrested two Japanese men trying to cross the border into Switzerland. They were described as “in their fifties.” After initially indicating they had nothing to declare, a search of their briefcase turned up a false bottom with, yes, you read that correctly, $134,500,000,000.00 in U.S. bearer bonds.
Bear in mind that Italian law allows for government seizure of 40 percent of the value that exceeds 10,000 euro. That is to say, 10,000 euro is the amount you may legally cross the border with, undeclared. Forty percent of $134.5 billion, less 10,000 euro at current exchange rates. You do the math, but I can tell you, that’s a lot of tomatoes.
Did the Japanese fear the imminent collapse of the U.S. dollar and set out to dump these bonds at a discount in Switzerland? Are the Italians expecting their lawful cut of nearly $60 billion U.S.? Wait, it gets better.
For nearly two weeks, Italian authorities attempted to determine the authenticity of these bonds. They then called upon the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to figure out what in the hell was going on. SEC spokesman John Heine declined to comment either way.
Who were the men smuggling these bonds? I can find no information about them save for being identified as “Japanese nationals.”
Are we to believe that someone would print or copy a ONE BILLION DOLLAR bond and expect to pass it off as legitimate? That’s like trying to buy a pack of Marlboros at the 7-11 with a thousand-dollar bill. Do you think anyone purchasing a bond of that amount wouldn’t bother to thoroughly investigate it’s authenticity?
Why has the web been virtually scrubbed clean of any updates to this story? Why does Bloomberg News quote Treasury spokesman Stephen Meyerhardt as calling the bonds “clearly fakes?”
If they are clearly fakes, this has to be the greatest counterfeiting scheme in global history. Why no follow-up on it?
Could it be the Japanese really were trying to shake off this loan before the financial “big one” hits this fall? If that’s the case, they sure picked the right way to go about it. I woudn’t want to shake things up, either.