Добавлено: Пт Июл 03, 2009 12:23 am Заголовок сообщения: 2 Japs caught with $134 billions bonds
Seizure of US government bonds from two Japanese men in Italy raises questions
Seized US bonds are worth US$ 134.5 billion. The whole affair touches a number of economic and political issues. For some the resignation of Japan’s Interior minister might be related to it.
Milan (AsiaNews) – There have been new developments with regards to the story of US$ 134.5 billion in US government bonds seized by Italy’s financial police at Ponte Chiasso on the Italian-Swiss border, which AsiaNews reported four days ago. News about it initially made it to the front page of many Italian papers, but not of the international press. Since yesterday though, some reports have published by English-language news agencies. And some commentators are starting to link the story to reports in US press dating back to 30 March.
On that date the US Treasury Department announced that it had about US$ 134.5 billion left in its financial-rescue fund, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), whose purpose is to purchase assets and equity to buttress companies in trouble. The existence of such means that the Obama administration may not have to go to Congress for additional funds, something which is especially important since many lawmakers have vowed to oppose any requests for more money.
At the same time, Japan’s Kyodo news agency has reported that the resignation of Japan’s Interior Minister Kunio Hatoyama might also be related to the Ponte Chiasso affair. Officially the minister quit as a result of a row over who should head the state-owned Japan Post, but some sources have suggested that such a scenario is not very plausible since Mr Hatoyama was Prime Minister Taro Aso’s main ally in his rise to the prime minister’s office, and is especially unconvincing since the ruling coalition government has to face elections in just two weeks time. Indeed there are many reasons to connect the Ponte Chiasso incident to the minister’s resignation.
First of all, the men carrying the bonds had a Japanese passport. Secondly, they were not arrested. Under Italian law anyone in possession of counterfeit cash or bonds worth more than a few tens of thousands of euros must be arrested. By comparison the value of the seized counterfeit bonds is equal to 1 per cent of the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Thirdly, how the seizure took place is worthy of a Monty Python movie—two well-dressed Japanese men carrying a briefcase travelling in a local train usually used by Italian manual labourers who commute to Switzerland for work had as much chance to go unobserved as two European businessmen travelling in the Congo.
For AsiaNews the incident raises several questions. For example, why did Italy’s press, of every stripe, first give the matter great visibility, only to drop it as quickly? Also, if we are to assume that the bonds are real, why were they in Italy on their way to Switzerland? If these were the unused TARP funds why would they be in US Federal Reserve denomination? Would it not have been better to wait to see how they would be used before the bonds were issued? If they are authentic and owned by a foreign state, why were they not transported in a diplomatic bag, which cannot be inspected at customs? And what will the Italian government do insofar as the issue represents an offence under Italian law? Will it impose a fine of 38 billion euros, and run the risk of a row with an ally, or return the money without any penalty to the rightful owner and show the world that Italy is some kind of banana republic, a semi-colonial protectorate that violates its own laws and constitution?
Whatever the case may be, for Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi it is a heavy burden to bear, given the legal and criminal consequences he might face.
The only people who come out of it well are Italy’s tax cops, reason for them to show off their success on their website.
Добавлено: Пт Июл 03, 2009 12:25 am Заголовок сообщения:
Everything suggests that the American bonds seized at Chiasso are real
Official U.S. sources continue to say they are fakes, but there is no news that American experts have inspected them in person. Arrested for another matter, the director of a U.S. radio who says the bonds are real and Japan was trying to sell in Switzerland, not trusting the ability of the United States to honour its debt.
Milan (AsiaNews) – Four weeks have passed since American bonds were confiscated from two Japanese who were travelling on a direct train to Chiasso, Switzerland, and while there has been clarification of some points, very few, Italian authorities have remained silent on the rest of the episode.
In addition, a strange coincidence in the timing of the arrest of a director of an internet radio who had made revelations regarding the incident increases the already strong oddities surrounding the case. This added to the revaluation of the fact that among the evidence seized there were "Kennedy Bond" all points toward the authenticity of the items seized by the Guardia di Finanza (GdF) in early June.
The major English-speaking newspapers ignored the story for a couple of weeks. They only started to report on it after the Bloomberg agency carried a story on 18 / 6, in which a spokesman for the Treasury, Meyerhardt, declared that the bonds, based on photos available on the Internet, were "clearly false." The same day, the Financial Times (FT) published an article whose title laid the blame for the (alleged) infringement at the feet of the Italian Mafia, despite the fact that the article failed to make even one possible connection with the episode in Chiasso. Nevertheless, the version of events as reported in FT was taken up by others as being "appropriate" (given that it is a very common cliché about Italy and it is a sequester that took place in Italy) and in the end "colourful." It’s a pity that it goes against all logic: that the Mafia tried to pass unnoticed in its attempt to dump fake bonds amounting to 134.5 billion dollars and moreover were to "stung" a mere step from their gaol, is not very credible.
Most recently last week, 25 / 6, the New York Times reported on the story in particular, the allegations of CIA spokesman, Darrin Blackford: the U.S. Secret Service carried out inspections, as required by the Italian judiciary, and found that they were fictitious financial instruments, never issued by the “U.S. government”. It is not clear, however, how the checks mentioned Blackford were carried out and whether they were also are carried out via internet. According to official Italian sources, in fact, the Commission of American experts, expected in Italy, have yet to arrive. Furthermore, the bonds were accompanied by a recent and original bank record. It is therefore unclear how the U.S. authorities can declare fake documentation that does not originate from the Fed or the U.S. Department of Treasury.
On the contrary, claims in support of the bond’s authenticity were made 20 / 6 on the Turner Radio Network (TRN), an independent radio station broadcast via Internet. On that date in a massive exposure, TRN stated that the two Japanese arrested by the Guardia di Finanza (GdF) and then released in Ponte Chiasso were employees of the Japanese Ministry for Treasury. AsiaNews had also received similar reports: one of the two Japanese arrested in Chiasso and then released is Tuneo Yamauchi, brother of Toshiro Muto, until recently vice governor of the Bank of Japan. On its website, the creator and presenter of Radio, Hal Turner, had also claimed that his sources had revealed that the Italian authorities believe the evidence to be authentic and that the two Japanese officials are from the Japanese Ministry for Finance. They were supposed to bring the bonds to Switzerland because the Japanese government had apparently lost confidence in U.S. ability to repay its debt. Japanese financial authorities therefore were trying to sell a part of the securities in their possession through parallel channels ahead of an imminent financial disaster, thanks to the anonymity which, Turner said, is guaranteed by the laws of Switzerland.
AsiaNews does not know to what extent Turner’s revelations can be held as credible, given that in this case too, it is difficult to believe that $ 134.5 billion would pass unnoticed anywhere in the world. It seems far more logical to assume that the bonds, if authentic, were directed to the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, BIS, the central bank of central banks ahead of the issuance of securities in a new supranational currency. Turner had in any event added that as evidence of his support of his revelations he would have provided the serial numbers of the seized bonds. Before it could do so, however, was imprisoned. Hal Turner is the journalist who long ago first broke the news of a secret plan to replace the dollar, after a severe financial crisis, with a common North American currency, the Amero. In a dramatic phone call from inside the prison in which he is detained pending trial, relayed via internet, Hal Turner claims that his arrest is political and it is in relation to securities seized in Chiasso, because the authorities are terrorized by his revelations regarding the bonds’ authenticity. Of course, the allegations made against him have to nothing to do with the story and thus an already intricate story becomes increasingly complex. Turner maintains that he did not personally formulate the disclosure for which he has been imprisoned. Although it was clearly his responsibility to remain vigilant, it is also true that blogs from around the world and the U.S. themselves are full of threats and provocations. The coincidental timing, the unusual diligence and the details of his arrest arouse suspicions about the true motives of the American federal police. Indeed, this very arrest suggests that the evidence seized from GdF are truly authentic.
One more element in favour of the bond’s authenticity is found in the securities, which in the June 4 statement, the GdF termed "Kennedy Bonds” with photos provided. These photos reveal that the securities under discussion are not bonds but Treasury Notes, because they are securities that can be immediately exchanged for their worth in goods or services and because they are devoid of interest coupons. One side carries a reproduction of the image of the American president, the reverse side that of a spaceship. From confidential, usually well-informed sources, AsiaNews has learned that this type of paper money was issued less than ten years ago (in 1998), although it is difficult to know whether those seized in Chiasso are authentic. But the fact that the release of this particular State Treasury was not completely in the public domain tends to exclude the possibility of counterfeiting. It highly unreasonable to suppose that a forger would reproduce a State Treasury not commonly in circulation and of which there is no public knowledge. For this reason, it can be concluded that the 124.5 billion dollars divided in 249 bonds of 500 million each are authentic. These titles, although referred to as "Federal Reserve Notes" are actually bonds, because they accrue interest and are redeemable at maturity. But one question remains unsolved regarding them. It is somewhat hard to understand why the securities, which were from the outset indistinguishable from the original to the GdF, all have their coupons. Any ordinary investor, even a state, would have cashed in the interest coupon every year, so as not to lose purchasing power.
Добавлено: Пт Июл 03, 2009 12:28 am Заголовок сообщения:
Update on Japanese Smugglers with $134.5 Billion in US Bonds
by James Buchanan
On June 3rd, two Japanese were caught in Italy attempting to smuggle $134.5 billion in US bonds in the false bottom of a suitcase to Switzerland. An article on Motley Fool confirmed that Japan holds $686 billion in US bonds. The bonds that were being smuggling were reportedly bearer bonds, which can be transferred around much like cash. (Although you might want to check their serial numbers and history before paying $500 million for one.) One strong possibility is that the Japanese were trying to dump US bonds in exchange for euros. Obviously the bearer bonds could be sold with the least attention –assuming the people assigned to do this don’t get caught smuggling them. If these bonds are real, this could have a catastrophic effect on world confidence in the dollar. The US government issued a speedy denial regarding the authenticity of these bonds, but not everyone believes this denial.
Why so little media coverage of what-must-be either the world's greatest counterfeiting or smuggling story?
A recent update on the $134 billion US bond smuggling incident reports “One other important, but ignored story: Italian authorities say they have arrested two Japanese men who were smuggling $134-billion (U.S.) of undeclared U.S. bonds into Switzerland. Police said the two suspects were carrying a total of 259 bonds, including 10 with a value of $1-billion each and 249 with a value of $500-million. Since then, it is sketchy but it seems that the Kennedy bonds were fake. However, the only way to make a fake bond is to have a real one to look at. Where did they get a billion-dollar bond and why would they be carrying 259 bonds? Who were they taking it to? What does this mean to the US? It is considered the largest smuggling case in history, yet barely a word has been written about it. I find that strange.”
This article makes an excellent point: Assuming the bonds were fake, why isn’t this incident getting some press for being the crime story of the decade? Why has the story dropped so far off the radar that only a few news outlets in Asia and a few perceptive bloggers are taking note of it. To add to the strangeness, the suspects are apparently no longer in Italian custody. Was the Japanese government involved? Was it organized crime? Think about what they’re telling us: “Nothing to see here. Only the world’s biggest attempt at counterfeiting.”
The very bizarre media handling of this story could be because the Japanese really were trying to unload their US bearer bonds because the world is losing confidence in the dollar. There is a large coordinated effort to cover this up (combined with the laziness of certain reporters and an unwillingness to think beyond what a US government spokesman tells them). If this were a counterfeiting incident, the details would be getting published as soon as they came out.
Another article reports “At least the Japanese press is still interested in [the] story of the two Japanese men caught with some $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… ”
How could they let the biggest counterfeiters of all time go? Is this a new “catch and release” policy for counterfeiters? We’ve all seen the gigantic amount of media attention that Bernie Madoff has gotten. But Madoff simply ran a Ponzi scheme involving a “paltry” 60 billion dollars. These smugglers had $134.5 billion in (allegedly fake) US bonds. Now which is the bigger crime story??
US authorities have claimed that only about $103 billion in bearer bonds are in circulation. US authorities also claimed that the bonds were “fake” –apparently before even looking at them. The bonds were still in Italian custody as of June 18th, and a US Treasury department spokesman called the bonds fake also on the 18th. Both of these denials are somewhat suspect because the US government has a HUGE interest in making this story go away.
One thing is certain: The official story from the mainstream media makes no sense whatsover. Could it be that the Obama-loving liberal media does not want a panic to start over the worth of the dollar? Could it be that the Japanese were trying to dump their US bearer bonds in exchange for euros? Enquiring minds want to know.