2 Japanese Men with $134 Billion in US Bonds Busted in Italy
Two unidentified Japanese nationals have been detained in Italy after they were found carrying $134 billion in undeclared U.S. bonds.
The men, who carried the bonds in a suitcase with a false bottom, were allegedly trying to enter Switzerland with the money.
No charges have yet been laid but it's hard not think of a good — and legal — reason that any two men, regardless of their nationality and identity, would be carrying more than a hundred billion dollars around in a suitcase.
Two Japanese nationals were detained by Italian financial police last week after trying to enter Switzerland with $134 billion worth of undeclared U.S. bonds, mostly Treasury bonds, an Italian daily said Wednesday. The Japanese consulate general in Milan confirmed that the detention had taken place and said it was trying to confirm with Italian authorities whether the two were indeed Japanese nationals and their identities.
According to the report in il Giornale, two unidentified Japanese in their 50s concealed the bonds, including 249 U.S. Treasury bonds each worth $500 million, in a suitcase with a false bottom that was searched by the Italian authorities June 3 when they were in Chiasso, at the border with Switzerland, about 50 kilometers north of Milan. The daily did not say on what charges they have been detained, but the two may have been detained on suspicion of attempting to take a large amount of securities out of Italy without declaring it because the paper said they had not declared the bonds.
Some bloggers have suggested that the bonds may in fact be counterfeit. But if they are real — Italy is in for a mini-financial windfall. Here's why:
The cute part of this is that if the certificates are real Italy just got a hell of a bonanza - their money laundering laws provide for a statutory 40% penalty for failure to declare instruments and cash in excess of $10,000 Euros, which means they'd garner a close-to-$40 billion dollar windfall.
That ought to help their budget problems!
Notice, by the way, that the US Media has totally ignored this story - even though the securities in question are allegedly US instruments.