Italy And Japan Confirm Bond Bonanza Story Is Real

Picture 7More information is coming in about the discovery of various bonds on the border of Switzerland and Italy.  Namely, there is a tremendous paucity of information.  This is one of several mysteries of life we would like to see resolved.  At least the news is making the news, ever so slightly.   It came to Bloomberg News, for example!  So let’s look at the latest developments:

Here a a photo of the bonds taken by the border police:

Picture 7

My opinion: they look quite new.  If they were kept in a safe, they shouldn’t have yellowed like this, the paper used for these sorts of bonds usually was not the acid-based paper materials because these deteriorate rapidly over time.  But I am only guessing because this hasn’t been investigated yet, by experts.  There are ways of verifying the nature of these paper products using modern technology.  Then, we have to verify the identity of the ‘Japanese’ gentlemen, too.

Japan Probes Report Two Seized With Undeclared Bonds (Update2) –

Japan is investigating reports two of its citizens were detained in Italy after allegedly attempting to take $134 billion worth of U.S. bonds over the border into Switzerland.

“Italian authorities are in the midst of the investigation, and haven’t yet confirmed the details, including whether they are Japanese citizens or not,” Takeshi Akamatsu, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said by telephone today in Tokyo. “Our consulate in Milan is continuing efforts to confirm the reports.”

An official at the Consulate General of Japan in Milan, who only gave his name as Ikeda, said it still hasn’t been confirmed that the individuals are Japanese. “We are in contact with the Italian Financial Police and the Italian Public Prosecutor’s Office,” Ikeda said by phone today.

Well, this is one story that wasn’t a fake story.  It is very hard to confirm stories online, there are lots and lots of fake stories inserted into the news in hopes this will confuse people and embarrass news reporters.  I have learned to be very, very careful about ‘breaking’ these sorts of stories which is why I didn’t give this one a high rating when I first mentioned it.

Now, it looks like a real mystery and one that should be solved, pronto.  I look forwards to learning more information.  Some posters online are speculating along the same lines I suspect, namely, since this is probably a true story now [Japan and Italy confirmed this today] then, the list of possible culprits is not very long.  Namely, North Korea is at the head of the line, big time:

2 Japanese carrying $134 bil worth of U.S. bonds detained in Italy › Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion

bertoldo at 03:06 AM JST – 12th June

weird, definitely. I’m italian, and I confirm that the sum is correctly translated (“miliardi” stays for billions). the story is covered mainly by blogs, conspiracy sites,local swiss newspapers, but it is on some italian mainstream media as well and on the police site, without great emphasis though (in the “strange but true” sections, so no analysis at all).

a blog published an interview to a police officer in which he confirms the fact, and that the police is collaborating with some Us secret agents to establish whether the bills are false or not:

the two men apparently tried to reach switzerland mixed with ordinary commuters on a train.

nothing more, very few links on the international sites. it’s usual that people crossing the border are asked if they have something to declare, and there can be a search, but not always and not in so accurate way.

bdiego at 06:20 PM JST – 12th June

Consider these background facts: * North Korean faced international sanctions over institutional counterfeiting of US $100 bills. The country has no qualms about mass producing counterfeit money. * North Korea has repeatedly manufactured fake passports, such as the Dominican Republica one used by Kim Il Jung’s son to repeatedly enter Japan (where he was caught wearing a diamond encrusted watch). He claimed he was visiting Disneyland, but witnesses say he went straight to the red light district. The country has no qualms about mass producing counterfeit passports and claiming fake citizenship. * There are a million ethnic Koreans in Japan who are otherwise Japanese, about a third of whom identify with North Korea and have supported North Korea’s policies including kidnapping, murder, and international terrorism. North Korea has in fact admitted to these allegations, which are the crux of Japan’s stance in six-way talks. North Korea has no qualms about terrorism, murder, kidnapping, or any crimes in general. * North Korea’s counterfeiting, missile sale, and opium production are all designed to generate hard currency it desperately needs to survive. It will do anything to get money. * One of the few safe havens in the world for North Korea is Switzerland due to its strong neutrality. Kim Il Jung’s heir went to school there and Switzerland serves as a repository for much of North Korea’s currency and banking needs. * North Korea has been known to use its small fleet of ships to transport agents into various countries for its crimes – as demonstrated by their use in kidnapping operations off Japan. Agents prefer to disembark by ship and cross borders by land. * As only China, Japan, and Russia even possess this amount in bonds these are the only nationalities any smugglers would claim. Alas, such denominations of bonds do not exist in this amount and would be accounted for in any case, and they are almost definitely forgeries. * North Korea has a colorful history of organized crime dating back decades – not many years have to pass for another bizarre pattern of crimes to emerge and it was only a couple of years ago they were caught for mass counterfeiting of dollars.

The other day, I posted information about high-denomination Treasury notes.  Here is some more information about them:

History of High-Denomination Treasury Notes

The End of Very-High Denominations

The last issue of very-high-denomination Treasury notes occurred in October 1969.  After that, the maximum denomination returned to the earlier high of $1 million.  It was the drive for further cost savings in debt administration that led to the disappearance of very-high-denomination Treasury notes.  While very-high denominations saved on the costs of handling coupons and printing securities, they could not eliminate these costs or decrease the costs of safe-keeping and transferring bearer securities.

The movement of paper certificates and their filing and refiling, increased the chances of them being lost, and the losses from theft were rising.  While the losses of Treasury securities due to theft amounted to less than $4 million in 1966 by 1969 they had skyrocketed to over $30 million. 7 By late 1970, insurance companies were refusing to cover holders of Treasury securities against loss, threatening the functioning of the government securities market.

Amongst the most hard-pressed by these developments were the Federal Reserve banks.  Federal Reserve banks performed numerous transfers and held securities for numerous entities, including the Federal Reserve’s System Open Market Account.  In the early 1960s, the Federal Reserve began to investigate whether the securities held by member banks and Federal Reserve banks could be held in book-entry form or managed electronically, eliminating the need for physical documents.  Beginning in January 1968, a book-entry option was offered by the Federal Reserve to member banks.  And by January 1970, the bearer securities held in the Federal Reserve’s System Open Market Account were converted into book-entry form. This last action converted almost a quarter of all outstanding marketable debt into book-entry form.  The combination of the conversion of System Open Market Account securities with securities converted to book-entry since January 1968 brought the amount of outstanding marketable debt in book-entry form to some 40% of the total in January 1970.  It was at this point that the Treasury stopped offering very-high-denomination Treasury notes as there was no longer be any need for them.

The maximum denomination was now reduced to $1 million.  Very-high-denomination Treasury notes just were no longer necessary or cost-efficient.  Large buyers of government securities now had the option of holding paper certificates or having the securities electronically entered into their accounts at their Federal Reserve bank.  Such investors were eager to take the cost-saving book-entry option.  For the Treasury, the book-entry system was also a cost saving development.  The Bureau of the Public Debt could track securities and their semiannual interest payments electronically.  Interest payments became lump sums transferred electronically and did not involve the shuffling of paper coupons and money back and forth.  More electronic securities also meant fewer paper securities and less work for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.  Thus, book-entry procedure was a cost saving for both the Treasury and the large investor, obviating the need for very-high-denomination Treasury notes.


In conclusion, very-high-denomination Treasury notes arose from the Treasury’s need to use Treasury notes as the primary vehicle for refunding the public debt.  Treasury notes became the primary method of refunding the public debt because they were the only viable way, at the same time, to lengthen and consolidate the debt, as the government securities market did not support the marketing of long-term Treasury bonds.  With the vast increase in the amount of notes sold came increasing administrative costs both for investors and the Treasury.  Keeping, tracking, and servicing billions of dollars of Treasury notes quickly became burdensome in the early 1950s.  The costs and administrative difficulties were reduced by the issue of very-high-denomination Treasury notes in fiscal year 1955.  A further reduction in servicing costs was made possible with the introduction of book-entry procedures in early 1968.  Electronic record keeping ended the need for the very-high-denomination Treasury notes, and they were no longer offered for sale.

Due to theft, these bonds were stopped.  And there is no way North Korea could have nearly $200 billion in such notes if they were from the pre-1974 era.  Even if the stolen bonds from back then rose terrifically in value, it wouldn’t be this much.  On top of this, these bonds are unconvertible in present forms.  Unless someone unscrupulous were to gradually feed them into world financial markets, slowly, one by one?

Quite possible.  Using fake bonds and getting them to slither though the system via selling them to gullible third world DRUG dealers, anxious to turn profits into legitimate bonds?  Quite possible.

The other problem is, when the Fed went electronic in 1974, guess what happened next?  INFLATION TOOK OFF!  Duh!  And frankly, to me, this is the REAL crime, the BIGGEST HEIST ON EARTH.  We should have forced them to stick to paper bonds.

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44 responses to “Italy And Japan Confirm Bond Bonanza Story Is Real

  1. RobG

    As Denninger says, CDS are like a neighbotr taking insurance out against your house and then seeing him stockpile some gas.

    A Daring Trade Has Wall Street Seething:

    The trade involved credit-default swaps and securities backed by subprime mortgages. The original securities … were backed by $335 million of subprime mortgages mostly on homes in California made at the housing bubble’s peak in 2005 …

    Following a wave of refinancing and defaults, only $29 million of the loans were left outstanding by March 2009, half of which were delinquent or in default…

    Believing the securities would become worthless, traders at J.P. Morgan bought credit-default swaps over the past year from Amherst … Other banks including RBS Securities … and BofA also bought swaps on the securities from different trading partners.

    The banks … paid as much as 80 to 90 cents for every dollar of insurance, the going rate last fall according to dealer quotes, expecting to receive a dollar back when the securities became worthless …

    At one point, at least $130 million of bets had been made on the performance of around $27 million in securities …

    In late April, traders at some banks were shocked to find out from monthly remittance reports that the bonds they had bet against had been paid off in full. Normally an investor can’t pay off loans like that but if the amount of outstanding loans falls to less than 10% of the original pool, the servicer … can buy them and make bondholders whole.

    That’s what happened in this case. In April, a servicer called Aurora Loan Services at the behest of Amherst purchased the remaining loans and paid off the bonds.

  2. emsnews

    Yes, credit default swaps should be outlawed.

  3. Kurt Eren

    These bonds cannot possibly be fake. A single bond worth $1B can only be sold to someone who will also buy the Brooklin Bridge from a stranger. Selling it to a Swiss Bank, forget it. They didn’t become the wealthiest banks by buying fake paper.

  4. emsnews

    Kurt, it does sound totally bizarre. Yet, the Swiss can be fooled, they lost a few billion to Madoff, for example. And they were fooled into selling off most of their gold reserves, too, another dumb thing.

  5. CK

    Oh those wily North Koreans. They so manufacture fake $100 dollar bills, except that they have neither the specialized printing presses, the proper paper, or the one source ink.
    So how do they make those $100 bills sooooo well….Korean Magic of course. ADF ( any damn fool ) knows that Korean Magic is the beanz.
    Assuming that they people carrying the paper were japanese, two ideas come to mind. They work for the Japanese Treasury department or they work for the Yakuza ( which is a major subsidiary of the Japanese Government.)

  6. emsnews

    It is very hard to counterfeit money printed in the last 3 years. So doing this with bonds seems easier.

  7. CK

    One of the minor requirements to counterfeit a thing is to have had the real thing in your possession. Getting one’s hands on a hundred dollar bill is not difficult. Getting one’s hands on a billion dollar bearer bond, that is difficult.
    And there really is no need to counterfeit the new ugly money 100’s, the old Franklins are still accepted.

  8. zip

    some one mentioned that it could be a “payment” to fiat (for the chrysler deal)

  9. emsnews

    Zip, yeah! That’s a good one. But the amount is way too big.

    I know, it is the AIG BONUSES! 🙂

  10. criticalcontrarian

    Or the drug cartel money share of the Vatican. LOL.

  11. Robert Paulson

    Zero Hedge’s take on it by “Marla Singer”. The feeling over there is that they are fake:

    “No doubt you are already aware of the wild stories circulating in response to the news that two Japanese nationals were caught trying to smuggle some $134 billion in U.S. Government bearer bonds into Switzerland from Italy. Since the Secret Service seems a bit slow in addressing the issue (What’s the problem? Haven’t you hired an undersecretary of Secret Service motivation yet? Couldn’t you get Agent Frank Horrigan out of retirement and send him on special assignment or something?) and the Italians change their story about the instruments almost as often as they change governments, we thought you might benefit from some of our analysis.”

  12. DrKrbyLuv

    I don’t see why anyone would try to counterfeit bonds of this magnitude. It just doesn’t make sense.
    Karl Denninger has an interesting theory:
    “Are we willing to assume that all the “issue” of Treasury bonds has been done “above board” as required by law. If Treasury has been surreptitiously issuing bonds to, say, Japan, as a means of financing deficits that someone didn’t want reported”
    My understanding is that these bonds are “non-negotiable” which I think means that they may not be sold or traded. They may only be redeemed by the issuer. I am not sure if there is a maturity date on these bonds.
    Let me add a possible motive for Denninger’s theory. It may be that the owner wants to dump these bonds but how – if they are non-negotiable?
    Maybe the US has refused to redeem them at this time. So, you send a couple of “mules” with the bonds to the Swiss border and arrange for them to be arrested.
    Now, the US has a big problem. If the bonds are legit, but illegally issued, then they will have to quietly buy them and publicly agree that they were fakes.
    It should be noted that the two “mules” were detained but not arrested. If the bonds were fake, wouldn’t they have been promptly arrested in compliance with Italian law?
    Determining their authenticity should be a very simple matter, they all have serial numbers and I think these denominations have not been issued since the early 70’s.
    This thing must be investigated and not allowed to stay out of sight by the MSM. I smell a skunk and strongly suspect that it is our uncle…Sam.

  13. emsnews

    That story is a total muddle so far. We know virtually nothing solid, for example, I haven’t seen close up photos of these paper instruments. There is very, very little information so speculation is nearly useless right now. I do know that we should have more information. Wish it was forthcoming.

  14. charlottemom

    Couldn’t the Feds be “double dipping” on bond issuance? Why not, lots of playing fast and loose by our gov these days. Although it seems like a banana republic thing to do, but aren’t we just that desperate and corrupt?

    This double-dipping bond issuance isn’t a new thing. In fact this and bond counterfeiting wasn’t unusual at all during WWII and WWI?

  15. emsnews

    The counterfeiting was done by the Nazis.

  16. Another gem is that these bonds were dated 1934 and were labeled ‘Kennedys.’ Could not have been JFK. Could have been Nixon’s Treaury Secretary whose last name is also Kennedy. Could the Nixon Administration printed these bonds on yellow paper to make them look old and neat, backdated them to 1934, so then issued them with no intent on redeeming them when they “mature???” After all, Tricky Dicky revoked the international gold standard (which was flat-out unconstitutional) so I wouldn’t be surprised he’d order the mass printing of backdated bearer bonds as well. And signed by his own Treas. Sec., HAHAHAHA. 🙂

  17. DrKrbyLuv

    charlottemom said: “Couldn’t the Feds be “double dipping” on bond issuance? Why not, lots of playing fast and loose by our gov these days. Although it seems like a banana republic thing to do, but aren’t we just that desperate and corrupt?”
    Agreed, this is as likely as any other scenario.
    Elaine said: “There is very, very little information so speculation is nearly useless right now. I do know that we should have more information. Wish it was forthcoming.”
    Call me cynical but I suspect that there will be very, very little accurate information on this matter even some months from now.

  18. emsnews

    Probably because it doesn’t matter. One thing we must beware of is being sidetracked by useless issues or things that really don’t matter. The easy credit/free trade system is the much bigger fraud here and the ideological battle over this matters much, much more.

  19. me again

    What if a Swiss bank was being audited? What if a Swiss bank did not have the assets on it’s books it said? What if a Swiss rogue trader wanted to cover his tracks? Where would he get high quality forgeries, Japan (maybe even North Korea)?

  20. Mark

    I can’t understand why everyone is missing the obvious that Japan wanted to sell them because they want to reduce their huge holdings of us treasuries and got caught because the peopel carrying them were so nervous about the amount of money they were carrying.
    Why I am mote convinced than ever about this is the total news blackout that has occured on this story if they were fake or forgeries it would all over the news…
    It looks to me like this is being sqleched surprised there are any references to the story left on the web..

  21. emsnews

    I think the Italians made this so weird. They probably hadn’t enough an idea what was going on here and so, as per usual, while waiting for the papers to be examined, someone in the border patrol leaked the story.

    We don’t hear about lots of loopy things going on, this is a big planet with many things going on. This story struck me, for example, too much like a hoax story and since there is little information, we must assume there is something more like a hoax here rather than hard news….SO FAR.

    Again: we need more information. So far, 100% of the information floating around is exactly the same information that came out in an out of the way news site, the Asia News. Nothing has ‘developed’ so far. I can’t imagine Japan doing this at an official level. It makes no sense. They would use a DIPLOMATIC POUCH which can’t be searched.

  22. Nate

    My bet is the bonds are related to this story:

    2 Trillion in counterfeit bonds discovered by Manilla police.

  23. emsnews

    Nate, thank you for that story. Sounds very, very similar to the present story, you are probably right.

  24. criticalcontrarian

    Maybe, maybe. But something to think about, on March 30, 2009, the US Treasury Department announced that USD $134.5 billion remained in its Troubled Asset Relief Program [TARP]. The stated amount of seized bearer bonds was $134.5 billion. Coincidence? I love coincidences. 😉

  25. emsnews

    Except, this happened in June, not March.

  26. criticalcontrarian

    Maybe someone should check if the funds are still in the TARP? They could have done a Bremer? 🙂

  27. criticalcontrarian

    This article analyses the inconsistencies of this story. Strange Inconsistencies in the $134.5 Billion Bearer Bond Mystery (

    I particularly agree with the following: “According to a brief Bloomberg article regarding this story, the seized bearer bonds allegedly were dated as of 1934. Since bearer bonds in denominations of $500 million did not exist in 1934, the bonds were deduced as fake, though the Italian police are still waiting for a declaration regarding the bonds’ authenticity from the SEC. There is something truly “off” about this declaration. How can the quality of the forged bearer bonds be so meticulous that they “are indistinguishable from the real ones”, yet the people involved in the alleged forgery so ill-informed as to not date the bearer bonds with a more recent year that would not immediately identify them as fraudulent? How hard would it have been to date the bearer bonds with a more recent year?”
    And, “Bloomberg story also reported that there is no known existence of the alleged 10 Kennedy bonds that were discovered in the smuggler’s suitcases, each with a denomination of $1 billion. Again, this discovery defies any logical explanation. Why would expert counterfeiters make 249 bearer bonds with denominations of $500 million apiece, each indistinguishable from the real thing, and then instead of just making 20 more such bonds, decide to make 10 bonds in denominations of $1 billion a piece in a bearer bond design that has never existed? Were the alleged counterfeiters just too lazy to confirm if Kennedy bearer bonds were ever a legitimately issued security? Again, this story makes no sense.”
    And, “if the bonds were indeed authentic and owned by a nation state, they could have been transported in a diplomatic pouch exempt from customs searches that would have guaranteed transport without detection.”

    Remember Mr. Miami Vice and the $8 billion at the German – Swiss border? (

  28. criticalcontrarian

    The plot thickens, now two Italian men are arrested carrying $20 billion worth of Japanese bonds through the same checkpoint at Chiasso.

    Hey you incompetent couriers, send some over here, we only charge 4% penalty fee! 😉

  29. criticalcontrarian

    The plot has lost its way… “One summer afternoon, two “Japanese” men in their 50s on a slow train from Italy to Switzerland said they had nothing to declare at the frontier point of Chiasso.. a false bottom of one of their suitcases, Italian customs officers and ministry of finance police discovered a staggering $134bn (€97bn, £82bn) in US Treasury bills… is unclear but Italian and US secret services working together soon concluded that the bills and accompanying bank documents were most probably counterfeit…
    The mystery deepened on Thursday as an Italian blog quoted Colonel Rodolfo Mecarelli of the Como provincial finance police as saying the two men had been released. “They are all fraudulent, it’s obvious. We don’t even have paper securities outstanding for that value,’’ said Mckayla Braden, senior adviser for public affairs at the Bureau of Public Debt at the US Treasury department. “This type of scam has been going on for years.’’
    Officials in Tokyo were nonplussed. Takeshi Akamatsu, a Japanese foreign ministry press secretary, said Italian authorities had confirmed that two men carrying Japanese passports had been questioned in the bond case but Tokyo had not been informed of their names or whereabouts. “We don’t know where they are now,” Mr Akamatsu said.
    So the bonds are fraudulent fakes and what did the authorities do, they let the perps go. Brilliant! Must be friends of Paulson and Bernanke. 😉

  30. criticalcontrarian

    Fingers still typing faster than my brain. LOL.
    Link to that story @

  31. Hi cc – Today I saw some reporting on this topic “on” the TV news…….HLN I think. Who-da thunk.

    I told my wife.

    I knew about this a wekk ago.

    This story should have a trail.

    A paper trail. An easy trail to follow….

  32. 134 Billion is still big.

    Especially, when you have the bonds “in hand”.

    The bonds by definition have paper associated with them.

    There begins the trail if I was investigating —— somebody had to sign for something. Probably more than once. Many signatures. Many communications.

    Who do these bonds belong too anyhow?

  33. emsnews

    The bond boondoggle story makes less and less sense except in one matter: the bonds are obviously fake. What the plans were, we don’t know yet. Obviously, these were going to be used for some sort of fraud. But in Switzerland?

    Talk about strange place. I could believe this being done in Nigeria. Sort of like, ‘This is the billions in bonds my deceased father left me but I couldn’t deposit them in a bank…’ sort of scam. 🙂

  34. I haven’t seen anything that convinces me the bonds are fake. Most seem to be speculating as such.

    I’ve seen things though that make me conclude that if they were a forgery — the forgery was top-notch “so to speak”.

    So this begs the question.

    Is paper vulnerable?

    I think the answer to that is obvious.


  35. I’ve said for a long time – “paper burns”.

    This is also obvious.

    Gold and Silver do not (for the most part).


  36. I also recently read that the US is fixing to sell 400 tons to the IMF.

    Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    Stupid and obvious.

  37. Some things are obvious.

  38. criticalcontrarian

    Hmmm, BK you may have chanced upon the point of the exercise. The dollar is quickly loosing its “haven of safety” status, this certainly is not helping, in fact, I’d wager it creates an atmosphere of mistrust, could the Fed be printing funny money, or worse, NOT declaring what it is printing an issuing. These criminals could just print of few B’s for their stash, eh? Their past actions would certainly support this thinking. Now you got me thinking. 🙂

    Oh, and two weeks in a row, first 134.5 billion, then another 20 billion which seems to be even more filtered and censored. Heh!

  39. cc – I have no idea what the point of the exercise is. I have no idea. But history is history and the telling of it ought be fair. With the internet we have a tool of immense value. I pray for peace.

    I pray for peace.

  40. I know this though. The Summer is on its way. The Earth moves around the Sun. The summer comes. The summer goes.

    Peace cc.

  41. paolo

    To know where these bonds came from, read Benjamin Fullford…..and one thing….one of the two mysterious Japanese is the brother in law of the Central Japanese Bank previous president, by the way

  42. Thank-you paolo.

    Can you back up what you say with a link?

    This story ought not go to the rabbit hole per some sort of nefarious 9-11 commission bullshit.

    Some things are obvious.

  43. paolo – I checked a link, but it didn’t seem worthwhile to me.

    Back it up.

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