Saturday, June 13, 2009

134 Billion dollars in Bearer Bonds! You're Kidding Me!

Courageous or Dumb?

Okay, I've just got to stop what I'm doing and ask the question - What possibly could be going on here?

If it looks like a Duck, smells like a Duck, sounds like a Duck; Maybe it's a Duck!

I just heard about this and my curiosity is peaking!

On Thursday, June 11, 2009 Italian police of the Guardia di Finanza seized US$134 billion of United States bearer bonds at the border with Switzerland at Chiasso. The bonds include 249 Treasury bonds worth $500 million each, and ten $1 billion Kennedy Bonds. Bearer bonds are unregistered bonds that are redeemable by whoever is in possession.

The bonds were being transported by two men claiming Japanese citizenship. The bonds were undeclared and were uncovered by inspectors beneath a false bottom in a suitcase. The United States no longer issues bonds in such high denominations and according to the U.S. Treasury, only China, Japan, and Russia own this much in U.S. debt instruments.

So are these bonds forgeries?

No one is saying yet. So they must be pretty good forgeries. And that creates a bigger set of issues and questions. But if they are genuine, Italian law will permit the Italian government to seize 40% of the value, some $54 billion for failure to declare these bonds. That's a big bonus for the Italian government and Seppuku for the transporters. Dumb move guys! And if they are real, what the heck was going on? Who walks around with 134 billion dollars of negotiable monetary instruments in their possession without armed guards and high-tech security. Once again- Dumb move guys! Unless you're up to no good! And then you have lots of guns and ammunition with you and fight your way out. Still a Dumb move!

The Japanese government has said that they are aware of the situation and that they are working with the Italian government to confirm the identity and nationality of the individuals.

A bearer bond is a debt security issued by a business entity, such as a corporation, or by a government. It differs from the more common types of investment securities in that it is unregistered – no records are kept of the owner, or the transactions involving ownership. Whoever physically holds the paper on which the bond is issued owns the instrument. This is useful for investors who wish to retain anonymity. The downside is that in the event of loss or theft, bearer bonds are extremely difficult to recover.


Chris said...

This is fascinating! I hope you follow up on it so we know what happened!

intrepidideas said...

You're right Chris, a juicy story to sat the least...

Chomp.. chomp!

Heather Dugan (Footsteps) said...

~And they were probably just running out for some decent Italian food. Yikes.
Someone bought a used car with $1000 worth of forged bills south of town here last week. They relied on a basic copy machine and low lighting. Probably not relevant to the case but thought I'd better mention it...

Summer said...

Wow. It's exciting and mysterious!! Keep us posted.

Jane Turley said...

OOO.. this saga sounds like something out of a Bond movie!

(The Pun was intended - just incase you missed it Mr I!)

They must be forgeries, surely no one would carry that amount of money like that? Although I suppose they could have been going for the concept that the simplest ruse is the cleverest one?

Just imagine walking around with 134 billion dollars tucked ugder your arm!

Mmmm....feels rather good to me...

You haven't got a printing press I could borrow have you??

intrepidideas said...


You bring up a good point. With such easy access to great technology, it's easier for the average criminal to try his/her hand at counterfeiting.

Summer, I just posted an update. Not sure if there's more news out there but I'm looking.


Nice pun! I'm humming the 007 theme in my head now. Great set up for a movie. There's something fishy going on. I just don't know what yet.


Nice pun! I'm humming the 007 theme in my head now. Great set up for a movie. There's something fishy going on. I just don't know what yet.

Anonymous said...

I don't think it is all that dumb. Obscurity is a common form of security. It is fine as long as some one doesn't stumble upon it. During the wild early 90's in Russia one money transporter would stuff an old taped-up duffel bag full of 100 bills and casually check it in as luggage. If something happened to it, it would be his life. But why so much? They could have split up the amount. But then the chances of getting caught are increased. Being caught with just one of these certificates would not be a good idea. Better one mad dash across the finish lines. Besides what are the chances of being caught? :)

Anonymous said...

An addition to my previous post. Just saw that the US claimed that they were fake. All the more reason to attempt the dash. But then who would have paid for them?

intrepidideas said...

Well Put, Anonymous. So you think it was a calculated gamble? One big dash to limit the risk of being discovered? I like that. Have you seen my post:

Is that how they got caught?

intrepidideas said...

Thanks for the tip - Anonymous! So they're fake huh? I guess that does answer some of the questions. I could see trying to cross the border with fake bonds. Not much to lose right? So part of the Mystery is solved.