America's Dumbest Move Yet: Seizing A Foreign Bank

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man blog,

Ten dark suited men entered the premises of FBME bank in Cyprus on Friday afternoon and took it hostage.

It must have looked like a scene from the Matrix. And given the surrealism of how this conflict is escalating, maybe it was.

The men were from the Central Bank of Cyprus (CBC). And they commandeered FBME because an obscure agency within the US government recently issued a report accusing the bank of laundering money.

It just so happens that FBME… and Cyprus in general… is where a lot of wealthy Russians hold their vast fortunes.

Bear in mind, there has been no proof that any crime was committed. There was no court hearing. No charges were read. It wasn’t even the government of Cyprus who accused them of anything.

There was just a generic report penned by some bureaucrat 10,000 miles away.

Funny thing—when HSBC got caught red-handed laundering funds for a Mexican drug cartel last year, the US government gave them a slap on the wrist. HSBC got off with a fine.

Yet when the US government merely hints that FBME could be laundering money, the bank gets taken over at gunpoint.

Welcome to warfare in the 21st century. It’s not about battleships and ground troops anymore.

This time the adversaries are battling each other using what ultimately affects everyone: money.

And on this battlefield the US doesn’t really have many options.

  • US banks still form the nucleus of the global financial system, but this is quickly being replaced.
  • Just last week the BRICS nations met in Fortaleza, Brazil to launch the origins of a brand new, non-US financial system.
  • The US is still the largest economy in the world, but will likely lose this status to China by the end of the year.
  • The US dollar is still the most widely used currency in global trade, but even America’s closest allies (Canada, Western Europe) recognize that the time has come to move beyond the dollar.

So while the US is still running around and barking at others, it is quickly losing its capacity to bite.

Their only tactic is to haphazardly attack Russian interests wherever they can.

They’re sanctioning Russian companies. They’re trying to torpedo international support for Russia. And now they’ve resorted to plundering Russian assets held in other sovereign nations.

Imagine you’re Qatar. Or China. Or Kuwait. Or Singapore. Or anyone else who holds substantial amounts of US debt.

All of these countries understand the lesson loud and clear: when the US doesn’t like you, they will do everything they can to make your life difficult.

Does this inspire confidence? If you’re holding hundreds of billions of dollars of US Treasuries, does this really improve your level of trust in the US?

Probably not.

By terrorizing Russian interests, the Obama administration is begging the rest of the world to reconsider their misplaced trust in the United States.

All these foreign countries really have to do if they want to retaliate is start dumping their US Treasuries. Or simply stop rolling over when the notes mature.

That will cause catastrophic consequences in the United States. Interest rates will soar, inflation will kick in, and the government will be even closer to default than it already is.

Inexplicably, Mr. Obama is practically begging the world to do this. It’s tremendously arrogant.

It’s like the economic warfare equivalent of Napoleon pompously leading his overstretched, exhausted army into Russia.

And neither Napoleon nor Obama gave the slightest consideration to the big picture consequences.

At $17.6 trillion in debt, the US is trying to wage economic war without any ammunition. It’s not something that is going to work out well for them.

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Sudden Debt's picture

Isn't that the same as a invasion and isn't cyprus part of Europe?!?!?

That's actually a act of war!

And we're bullshitting about Russia?!?

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

Welcome to warfare in the 21st century. 

This is not 21st Century warfare. It is warm up to 21st Century warfare. The pawns are picking their sides.

knukles's picture

Warfare.  Yes, Prime Directive.
Of Cloward Piven Agenda


Destroy America from Within

AlaricBalth's picture

FBME Bank was established in Nicosia as a subsidiary of the Federal Bank of Lebanon SAL. In 1986 it changed its country of incorporation to the Cayman Islands and its banking presence in Cyprus was transformed to that of a branch of the Cayman Islands entity. 

In 2003 FBME Bank (Federal Bank of the Middle East) terminated its banking presence in the Cayman Islands and established its parent company and operational headquarters in Tanzania. At the same time, its Cyprus banking operations became a branch of FBME Bank, Tanzania. 

 As of September 2013, FBME was the largest commercial bank in Tanzania, with a total asset base valued at approximately US$2.72 bln, with shareholders' equity of approximately US$179.63 mln. 

The bank is family owned owned by A-F M Saab and F M Saab and maintains two branches in Cyprus, four in Tanzania and a representative office in Moscow. 

"The United States Treasury report, dated July 15, listed a number of suspicious transactions and legal violations from FBME over the last decade, including allegations that a bank customer “received a deposit of hundreds of thousands of dollars from a financier for Lebanese Hezbollah.”

Save_America1st's picture

just wondering where the source of this story is?  Not that I doubt those scumbags would do such a thing.  But I'd like to see some links verifying this story please.

The Alarmist's picture

The guy at Standard Chartered who complained about the f-ing Americans was dead-on right, but realised the deck is stacked against him and the bank, and so the backbone melted away.  Game over.  These and cases like BNP are just a massive corporate version of the civil asset forfeiture scams being run across the land and now the world.

nidaar's picture

This is nothing new, "their boys did it".

Elvis the Pelvis's picture

What we really need are more bank seizures and negative interest rates. Let's flex those muscles. Bitches.

zaphod's picture

If they are innocent then they can prove that in court.

That is how the system works. You are guilty of a crime if one of ten thousand government agencies accuse you of one, and while in jail (with all your assets seized) you have the opportunity to prove your innocence. 

This is modern America.

disabledvet's picture

Do they even have courts over there?

Richard Chesler's picture

Read to the tune of Ghostbusters...

Who's the kenyan puppet gonna call?

Goldman banksters!




Son of Loki's picture

Smells fishy ... kinda like an 8-day-old escobar.

WhackoWarner's picture

Yeah.  Won't rest until they own everything including the air we breathe.  Shite. Who would have thought that a sovereign nation could be forced into bankruptcy from some idiot judge in NY?

Thanks ever so much IMF and NY shysters.  Corporations are people? and are allowed to buy politics? Corporations are the law?  This is current US law.  And tentacles are everywhere.  Exceptional? 

Got nothing against the uneducated massed in US.  Just abhor the country.

Nick Jihad's picture

I'd be careful casting aspersions on the uneducated, if I were you. FYI, Citizens United was correctly decided. But perhaps you'd like to defend the position that only the corporate press enjoys First Amendment protection?

jeff montanye's picture

the current situation resembles the 1890's when the gop and the corporate trusts ran everything.

things improved a bit when william mckinley was assassinated and theodore roosevelt moved to the white house.

however we are kind of short on t.r. figures at the moment.

walküre's picture

Why the fuck is any of this the US' problem? Shall we discuss where the CIA launders its funds?

How much gold is in the vaults of FBME two branches in Cyprus? That's really all that matters now. Paper is fucking worthless.

Chupacabra-322's picture

Spot on. The Criminal CIA park its stolen loot at various Global Crminal Banks. Word on the street is, at the IMF aswell.

gold-is-not-dead's picture

Aren't central banks the main criminals at the top of the chain?

QEternity's picture

The end to all of this will be nuclear

SilverIsMoney's picture

No it wont. They can't kill ALL the serfs...

gold-is-not-dead's picture

As soon as people realize that the nuclear weapons aren't practical force, things could change. No one has the guts to kill all the slaves. 10 guys with knives are more powerfull than nuclear nation because nuclear force can't be used without end for all.

barre-de-rire's picture

just to say, usa already used it, twice...


what on earth can make you sure nobody will trigger another one day or another, because they feel weak or to responsible to do it ? wait until the olds die, taking away their memories of the war,  wait until new generations of people raised in decaded virtuality, have you seen what kind of video games is available now ? you still think nobody in the futur can trigger a nuke shot ?




man, in 20 years we will be +9 billions, africa will be raised, we cannot keep system goin with a 7 billion ponzi, and you wanna keep thing goin with +20% players ?




when only one guy got something, it is unique, others want it too. when everybody got same stuff, it is banal.

human tend to give less importence to banal things.

keep that in a corner of your soul. we'll discuss it in another life.

Tall Tom's picture

They are the proverbial "Dog in the Manger"


If they cannot have it then they will make damn certain that nobody will.


Have you ever heard of the term, "Scorched Earth"?


Hitler, losing the war in his bunker at the end, was asked why the needless bloodletting. He said that since the German people did not have the will to be victorious then they deserved to die.


These guys are psychopaths bent of obtaining and keeping power at all costs. If they cannot have it then nobody will. Oh yes they will screw the pooch to keep that power. They will nuke you into oblivion and not bat an eye.


You and SilverIsMoney are fucking delusional.

Lore's picture

It was supposed to be limited nuclear, but there are indications that the situation is changed, with power and escape routes taken away from psychopaths. Some oligarchs seem to be working toward a better outcome. 

HardAssets's picture


What ever happened to all those big American banks caught money laundering drug money ?

(sound of silence)

ATM's picture

That's funny because a sitting US President received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds from Hezbollah too.

presidentsarkozy's picture


uncle sam will continue to be the hegemonic currency for at least 15 years because there us nothing to replace it .

Euro too unstable and toxic . yuan nit sufficiently convertible yen not liked and like US DROWNING IN NATIONAL DEBT .
sterling FORGET it . al the rest too smsll and also - rans .

plus if china singapore etc started selling greenbacks either the greenback woukd collapse thus exposing thise markets to monumental exchange losses or yell,en would just print more rendering certitude of fiat money inflation which will affect first second and third worlds .

tyler baby -- you re pissing in the wind . Give it at least 20 years.

caShOnlY's picture

US banks still form the nucleus of the global financial system, but this is quickly being replaced.

US banks still form the nucleus of the global financial PONZI system........   had to fix it for you.  When the dollar is at the center, you know its a ponzi!

disabledvet's picture

Phucking Simon "de Bolivar" Black and god damn phucking bullshit again.

We've really been stitching with some thin threads of late. I mean talk about putting "the alternate" in "alternate reality." I don't even know where we ever got the idea that we would be taken seriously. Not that "spleen venting" isn't a noble enterprise in my book. But we are....truly....acting like total reality cowards here...not as bad as the White House mind you...but barely registering on the "not a super freak" meter.

The friggin Russians are launching massive rocket barrages across the border into Ukraine you morons!


Kina's picture

This is by far the stupidity of the USA for holding a policy of taking control of the Ukraine and having military and missile bases along the Russian border, and to deny it the resources of the Ukraine. This has been US geopolitical wet dream for decades and this is what this is ALL about.


Likewise the Crimea is fundamentally critical to Russia - Everybody knows this and all would know that Russia would do anything to retain access throuh there - it was bizarre that the US thought they could get their hands on that.

Now Russia as all do, know the geopolitical plan of the US in the Ukraine and of course will do anything possible to stop it.

To put this in some context that people can relate to it would be exactly the same as Russia install its boy as President of Mexico and then being allowed to build military and missile bases all along the US-Mexico border.

This is exactly what the US is endeavouring in the Ukraine. What would the US do if Russia did in Mexico exactly as the US in the Ukraine???  Well of course it would be all out war and invasion of Mexico by the US. So why is it so hard for people to understand this in respect of the Ukraine.

Listen carefully - Russia will go to ALL Extremes to ensure that the US does not have military or missile bases in the Ukraine. As the US would do if it were in the same position.


So this nonsense of Russia is firing rockets etc into the Ukraine (which I don't believe) would be the least  you would expect - they will not allow the US a foothold in the Ukraine.


If the US goes to extremes in prosecuting its goals in the Ukraine you will Definately see retaliation of Russia against the USA's most sensitive Middle East oil supplies and Oil prices, the impact of which would trash the USD and economy. Russia has the ability because of the US weakness in oil supply and prices, to totally trash the USD through overt action on major oil producers in the ME. It wont do this unless it is the last ditch effort to save itself, as it could lead to something much bigger...


So I expect a warning shot across the bow by Russia at some sensitive US area.







Lore's picture

Kona - Don't you agree that all Russia needs to do is stand on guard and WAIT?

Tall Tom's picture

You are really worried about that bullshit over there?


GET FUCKING REAL. When the "Bail In" happens here in the USA there will be people who will actually kill Bank Executives and Tellers for stealing their money.


There will be BOMBS detonated and Bank Buildings razed...leveled to the FIRE...and deservedly so.


You have NO CLUE as to the chaos here in the USA which is about to happen.


Anyone who works for any Bank is wearing a target on their back. They and their families, their children, will be targets for retribution.


Will that be taken seriously enough???


That is the fucking REALITY. It is not an "alternate reality" That is what will happen if we do not nuke ourselves into oblivion first.


And you worry about that shit over there???


That is fucking laughable.

hobopants's picture

"The US is still the largest economy in the world, but will likely lose this status to China by the end of the year."



Yes I would argue their malinvestment ponzi, is much bigger than our debt shuffling ponzi. Gold and Silver medalist in the special Olympics...


WhackoWarner's picture

i HAVE IT ON GOOD authority that Monsanto just got FDA approval and Congress bypass on International agreements and law....that one bribed NY judge could endorse the corporation patent on replicating Oxygen.

News Release"  Monsanto announces the duplication of "breath of life" and files for world-wide patents.  Claims that Monsanto oxygen is far more stable and needs no "Mother Nature" to influence production.  Monsanto stresses that all molecuules are subject to US patent law. (that applies everywhere according to a consulting NY Judge)....Legal opinion is that all "breathers" need to buy patented molecules seasonally and any violation will be actively pursued in NY  courts. When sought for a comment a recent "ruling" Judge in NY, whose ruling resulting in sovereign debt default had this to say:  "I am happy I was able to serve the greater good.  Monsanto sent me a memo of guidance. I thank them for legal guidance."

They put into their patent proposal many self-financed studies that illustrate the advantages of GMO modified air.  Monsanto is quoted as saying " Our Roundup ready air molecules are projected to increase breathing capablities world-wide"

As a side note  several senior FDA approving agents were hired, due their expertise, by Monsanto.  Monsanto is quoted as saying; "We are fortunate to have these experts offerring input to our corporate vision"



Argentina good luck.  Raped once, raped now by some NY judge who is lifting cocktails with his cronies "dreaming of becoming a Clinton Insider".  Cheers baby.

Buck Johnson's picture

Everyone is picking their side and/or positioning for the next shoe to drop before the war commences.  Here's another thing that those countries that have alot of US debt are worried about.  The day that they decide not to roll their debt over will they get a call from the US that essentially tells them you better roll this over and if you don't we will give you and your country problems.  That is the main reason why most of the west hasn't did this, they are afraid.


HardAssets's picture

I wonder if gold glows when it's been heavily radiated

BandGap's picture

Depends on the wavelength you are measuring. Gold will trap fast neutrons - if near a nuclear strike, almost all metals become radioactive. So will dirt, clays, etc.


CuttingEdge's picture

Just imagine Goldfinger nuking Ft Knox in long does tungsten remain radioactive?

Mesquite's picture

I just checked my calendar....

Thought it must be April 1st..

nope-1004's picture

Pathetic and pitiful fighting.  A once great superpower has diminished itself to waging a banker war.  What a bunch of sissies.



Dr. Richard Head's picture

The BRICS are about to give the US a vasectomy.  Soon to be shooting blanks.

Tall Tom's picture

No. I believe that they are going to make the stud into a gelding. They are going to chop our balls off.


Americans will not be shooting anything as they will lack the testicles (and thus the testosterone necessary to even get wood).


(A Vasectomy just ties off the VAS Deferens and leaves the Balls intact. There is no change in pitch of the voice after that happens although theye may one be during the process.)

daemon's picture

" A once great superpower has diminished itself to waging a banker war. "

The US became a "great" superpower BECAUSE they waged bankers' wars.

nope-1004's picture

Yes, but only because there once was a productive economy, jobs, growth, income, and prosperity.  Now it's all a shell game, held together by "banks" that don't even lend.  They've become financial ponzis full of corruption and dead earnings.  They steal instead of create.  They are a bunch of pussies, and Bernanke quitting, Dimon faking his throat cancer, and others being suicided is proof that there is nothing real backing the banking facade.  The financial sector is one big lie and one day people will wake up and demand answers, instead of preparing for the obvious by looking at the glaring evidence of insolvency that exists today.