Italian border guards seize $134 billion in U.S. bonds at Swiss border
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Italian police of the Guardia di Finanza have seized US$134 billion (€96 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 arriving by train, and were undeclared. They were uncovered by inspectors beneath a false bottom in a suitcase.
If genuine, Italian law will permit the government to seize 40% of the value, some $54 billion (€38 billion) for failure to declare these bonds.
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.
Joe Weisenthal of The Business Insider speculates that the bonds are indeed forgeries. The United States no longer issues bonds in such high denominations. Further, according to the U.S. Treasury only the nations of China, Japan, and Russia own this much in U.S. debt instruments. Wikinews has been unable to confirm that "Kennedy Bonds" were ever issued.
- Joe Weisenthal. "Italy Seizes $135 Billion Of US Bonds" — , June 11, 2009
- "2 Japanese carrying $134 bil worth of U.S. bonds detained in Italy" — , June 11, 2009
- "Chiasso: "Niente da dichiarare" In valigia hanno 96 miliardi di euro" — , June 6, 2009 (Italian)
- "134 miliardi di dollari in Bond Usa nel doppiofondo della valigia. Titoli sequestrati al confine con la Svizzera" — , June 5, 2009 (Italian)
- Press Release: "Sequestrati a Chiasso titoli USA per novantasei miliardi di euro" — Guardia di Finanza, June 4, 2009 (Italian)
- "Major Foreign Holders of Treasury Securities" — , May 15, 2009
- "Bearer and Registered Securities Balances as of May 31, 2009" — , May 31, 2009