Italian border guards seize $134 billion in U.S. bonds at Swiss border

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to navigation Jump to search

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.

Customs office at Chiasso.
Image: Berger.

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.