2 September, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 06/18/2009
ASIA – ITALY
Mystery surrounding 134.5 “fake” billion US dollars seized in Ponte Chiasso remains
After two weeks a US Treasury official says securities were fakes. Italy’s financial police is silent. The case is still baffling and full of discrepancies.

Milan (AsiaNews) – US government bonds seized by Italy’s financial police (Guardia di Finanza) at Ponte Chiasso, an the Italian town on the border with Switzerland, are “clearly fakes,” Stephen Meyerhardt, spokesman for the US Bureau of the Public Debt, is quoted as saying in a news report by the Bloomberg agency. AsiaNews contacted the divisional headquarters of Italy’s financial police in Como, which is responsible for Ponte Chiasso, asking for an explanation but none has come forth yet. 

For some days the affair has been in the limelight [1]. Importantly, at the time of the bonds were seized it was not possible to determine whether the US government bonds and US Federal Reserve certificates were real of fakes.

Right after the seizure Colonel Mecarelli, Guardia di Finanza commander in Como, said that for at least some of the securities, especially the ‘Kennedy Bonds’, there were doubts about their authenticity. As for the others, some were so well made that it was hard to tell them apart from real ones.

The seizure was carried out two weeks ago. The bonds were in the possession of two Oriental-looking individuals in their fifties with Japanese passports. The two men, were travelling from Milan to Chiasso, in Switzerland, on a local train used primarily by Italian workers commuting to-and-fro Switzerland for work.

At the customs office both men said they had nothing to declare but a check by financial police agents revealed a false bottom in their respective suitcases, each containing a fortune in US securities.

Also inside the agents found extensive and detailed original bank documents about the bonds.

If the latter were real the two Asian men had in their possession (although not necessarily in their ownership) a big chunk of the US debt which would have made them the fourth largest creditors of the United Sates.

Despite what US Treasury spokesman Meyerhardt said, and until more information is forthcoming from Italy’s financial police in Como for AsiaNews the mystery is still there.

Under Italian law when law enforcement agencies seize fake bonds or counterfeit money they are under the obligation to arrest the bearers. And in order to avoid misappropriation, the agency seizing the material, in this case the financial police, must quickly proceed to its destruction (i.e. incineration).

However, in case of real securities, after the securities holders are identified, the financial police must release them immediately after issuing a statement of confiscation and imposing a fine valued in this case at € 38 billion (US$ 53.4 billion). In this case, why were the two men released right away without any fine imposed?

That is not the only discrepancy. It is not clear how statements by US Treasury spokesman Meyerhardt and Italian financial police can be reconciled. For the former the bonds “are clearly fakes”; for the latter, speaking at the start of this whole affair, some bonds were indistinguishable from the real ones when it comes to quality and detail.

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.

Whether it is counterfeit money or money laundering, what happened is potentially more dangerous for the stability of the international system than the results of Iran’s elections.

If the bonds are real it means someone with a lot of cash no longer trusts the US dollar as a reserve currency. If this is the case then it would spell the end of the Bretton Woods system and most likely negatively impact world trade.

Unfortunately the international press and main TV networks, with some exceptions, have ignored the whole affair. These days this is actually the real news.

[1] See “US government securities seized from Japanese nationals, not clear whether real or fake,AsiaNews, 8 June 2009, and “Seizure of US government bonds from two Japanese men in Italy raises questions,AsiaNews, 8 June 2009.


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
06/23/2009 ASIA – ITALY
Securities seized in Chiasso still between a wall of silence and a flow of disinformation
06/12/2009 ASIA – ITALY
Seizure of US government bonds from two Japanese men in Italy raises questions
06/08/2009 ASIA – ITALY
US government securities seized from Japanese nationals, not clear whether real or fake
06/30/2009 ASIA-ITALY
Everything suggests that the American bonds seized at Chiasso are real
06/21/2011 CHINA
China buying Euro debt

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.