$6 Trillion In US Bonds Seized In Zurich, Said To Pose "Severe Threats To International Financial Stability"

Tyler Durden's picture

Back in the summer of 2009, a peculiar story circulated when two Japanese individuals were arrested trying to smuggle $134 billion in US bonds into Switzerland from Italy. The story quickly died down after it was subsequently reported that the bonds were merely fake bearer bonds. Nobody heard much about it since then. Until today, when out of the blue we get a new story which blows that one out of the water. According to Bloomberg, "Italian anti-mafia prosecutors said they seized a record $6 trillion of allegedly fake U.S. Treasury bonds, an amount that’s almost half of the U.S.’s public debt." From here the story just gets weirder: "The bonds were found hidden in makeshift compartments of three safety deposit boxes in Zurich, the prosecutors from the southern city of Potenza said in an e-mailed statement. The Italian authorities arrested eight people in connection with the probe, dubbed “Operation Vulcanica,” the prosecutors said. The U.S. embassy in Rome has examined the securities dated 1934, which had a nominal value of $1 billion apiece, they said in the statement. Officials for the embassy didn’t have an immediate comment." ...And weirder: "The individuals involved were planning to buy plutonium from Nigerian sources, according to phone conversations monitored by the police." ...And really, really weird: "The fraud posed “severe threats” to international financial stability, the prosecutors said in the statement." Ok great, however one thing we don't get is just how can $6 trillion in glaringly fake bombs be a "threat to international financial stability."

More from Bloomberg:

The financial fraud uncovered by the Italian prosecutors in Potenza includes two checks issued through HSBC Holdings Plc in London for 205,000 pounds ($325,000), checks that weren’t backed by available funds, the prosecutors said. As part of the probe, fake bonds for $2 billion were also seized in Rome.


HSBC spokesman Patrick Humphris in London declined to comment when contacted by telephone.


Phony U.S. securities have been seized in Italy before and there were at least three cases in 2009. Italian police seized phony U.S. Treasury bonds with a face value of $116 billion in August of 2009 and $134 billion of similar securities in June of that year.


The U.S. Secret Service averages about 100 cases a year related to bonds and other fictitious instruments.

As a reminder, total US debt in circulation is just over $10 trillion. So if the allegedly "fake" bonds were sufficiently threatening to put international financial stability at risk, just what is going on here?

Some more from the BBC:

US officials confirmed that the bonds were counterfeit.


Fake US securities have been seized in Italy before and there were at least three cases in 2009.


But this case is on a different scale to previous investigations as the fake bonds have a value equivalent to almost half of the entire US debt pile.


"Everything began with an investigation into mafia clans in the Vulture-Melfese area in the southern Basilicata region," said Giovanni Colangelo, the head of the prosecutor's office in Potenza.

Here is what the bonds look like:

And here is where they were kept:

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The Swedish Chef's picture

Counterfeiting, bitchez!

BaBaBouy's picture

The GLOBAL Financial Paper Ponzi Is Out-Of-Control...


Trust ONLY Physical GOLD.

Conrad Murray's picture

Dear Employees of Evil,

You go to work at the bank/firm/political office in the morning not really thinking about the consequences of your actions. Your implicit acceptance and promotion of the neo-feudal system doesn't cross your mind when you're only concerned about paying your bills. Sure, somewhere inside, you know your employer committed crimes on a scale previously unimaginable, but you didn't personally have a hand in that, right? You certainly didn't intend for these things to happen, right?

Unfortunately for you, "I was only doing my job" will not bring comfort to the millions of individuals that have been foreclosed on and/or booted from their jobs. It is time to consider a new, less parasitic profession.


Because that person on the bench across from your office taking pictures isn't a photography major or an architecture enthusiast. That person is taking pictures of you and everyone you work with. While you are blindly going about your day, some of those millions you helped to ruin are amassing dossiers on those responsible.

You're a big shot, but that nice young woman you met at the bar isn't interested in you for the money or power. She didn't go back to your place because you're a stud. You didn't notice the camera in her handbag archiving all the details of your layout.

Remember the other day when your takeout food tasted a bit off? That's because Bob, who used to make $60,000/year before the crisis, ran into some people with ideas he liked. You've never seen him, but he definitely knows who you are. He took that cook job, for $25,000/year, because he knows your ilk frequent the place. Just be thankful that it's only bodily fluids and not something from the collection of goodies the hive is replicating on agar. This time.

TL;DR - When you go home tonight, ask yourself, "Would I give my life for this job?". If the answer is no, perhaps it is time to move on.

Comay Mierda's picture

Conrad, you are falling into the trap.  this whole economic implosion was desiged to bring on violence as an excuse for the totalitarian crackdown on all liberties.  A revolution is needed, but it has to be an INTELLECTUAL revolution.  The anger you are directing to the pawns of the system would be better placed in creating awareness among the billions of people on this planet of how they are getting screwed and the answer is willful non-compliance to the system.  Violence/hatred plays right into the fucking agenda. dont you get it?

economics1996's picture

The federal government will wither away like the USSR-1991.  My guess is 2018.  You are correct that there is a time to hold your fire, but there will also come a time when you need to unload.

espirit's picture

In 1934, could anyone count as high as a "Billion"?

That would have been at the time the GDP of say, most of the world.


trav7777's picture

so we have bond counterfeiting scammers trying to buy "plutonium" from Nigerian scammers...looks like 419 bitchez all around

Silver Dreamer's picture

The USSR did not wither away.  Their "collapse" was one step towards a long term goal.  We are seeing the end game of that strategy now.  What do you think the EU is?  Who runs it?  What are their policies?  The whole thing should look awfully familiar to the old USSR.

ONO47's picture

I don't knbow about 2018, those Mayans seem quite prescient these days.

rufusbird's picture

I just checked with Paul Krugman. He said "It's all good, It will help the economy."

Conrad Murray's picture

The totalitarian crackdown on liberties is already here and moving along quite rapidly(PATRIOT Act, NDAA, etc). There's two options:

1. Frog in the pot
2. Direct action

The first leads to complete enslavement. The second may do the same, but there is also the chance a revolution is successful. Not an intellectual revolution, that will never come. Half of the United States of America is on the dole, not paying taxes, etc.

I'm all for willful non-compliance, but I do not share your hope that enough people can be convinced to follow. Even if that would happen, violence, unfortunately, is nearly unavoidable at this point. Those 50% that are leeches aren't going to go silently when the teat gets yanked.

Comay Mierda's picture

self-defense is fine if it comes to that.  but you gotta realize these satanists are hoping to sit back and watch the world burn in the warfare/violence/hatred the sheeple engage on each other.  stay positive, spread awareness, and prepare for the worst (nuclear false flag, etc) just in case.

Neo's picture

And that will happen to a certain extent, there has been plenty of hatred fostered among the sheep. What the PTB is counting on is that we will all be too preoccupied with tearing eachother appart to have time to focus on the real culprits, them.

I have faith that there are some out there that will not be so easily distracted.


bigkahuna's picture

people in general have a difficult time realizing that before politicians, before banksters - we are dealing with luciferians. These folks are just plain evil, manipulative, sociopathic types - not to mention , they are world-wide.


What I believe all of these wars are for is to consolidate power for the nastiest one of them. After that step is done, most of the sheep will be unnecessary. Goodbye welfare/unemployment/medical/social security - the people in these programs are the most expendible. They will be cleaned up by the stronger sheep, who will then be subjected to yet stronger sheep and so on until the only thing left are the strongest sheep and the lucifarians themselves--who will promptly liquidate the rest of the sheep.

dwdollar's picture

You can't educate someone who is paid not to understand.

We could have people being marched to death camps right fucking now... and a certain percentage of people would be okay with that as long as they were being fed and given enough for a little entertainment every month. Don't believe me? Read history.

combatsnoopy's picture

Comay, no.  I think the BAby Boomers are just threatened by new money.  They actually have a lot more power than anyone realizes and they don't know how to use it.  Either that or the freeloading demographic simply hates the younger generation.  The media airs trainwreck stories to appease them, not us.   There's a real trend here.  If you were in China's shoes and you had to put up with these bumbling fools, you'd be crazy too. 

VanillAnalyst's picture

These counterfeiters are just flat out retarded. How do you go to all that trouble creating something that looks as it should, and then make the denomination a billion fucking dollars. Perhaps check to see what denominations they actually come in first? Idiots....

dukeland's picture

Cut them some slack. Their only mistake was to forget adding the Z$ in the paper.. Bernanke is recalling that paper and plans to hand write 'Z' before $.

mikla's picture

These counterfeiters are just flat out retarded. How do you go to all that trouble creating something that looks as it should, and then make the denomination a billion fucking dollars.

"Counterfeit" is a definitions-of-terms problem.  The mechanism for bond issuance is misunderstood.

  • Bonds are typically created by their governments with "intentional glaring errors" so that upon a whim, when otherwise inconvenient, the issuing government can claim the bonds to be "counterfeit" to avoid liability or embarrassment.  They can then do "side-deals" to "make-whole" (at some level) with the "real" bearer-of-the-bonds.
  • There are two bond markets.  One is "public", and yes, these are large numbers in the context of that "public" market.  The second bond market is "private", and participants are Sovereigns and Central Banks.  These numbers are in-line with that market, and these bonds are associated with that "second-market".  The public is not supposed to be aware of this market, and the notional values involved.

The problem today is that the "second-market" is breaking down (as-is the "public" market), and for various reasons participants in the "second-market" are trying to "leak" the "second-market-bonds" the "public" market.  As you point out, because the numbers are orders-of-magnitude in difference, yes, it would be quite destabilizing.

...Which is why all sovereigns and central banks *must* pretend these are not real.

FeralSerf's picture

Why does the system not allow this post to be recommended, while the following post has no such restriction?

GeneMarchbanks's picture

He messed with Italics. See what that gets you?

BigJim's picture

 Italics are a great way to show that you're quoting. But there's a bug on the site (in our browsers?) that means you need to precede the <em> tag with a space. Like I have, here. Try voting me up... see?

kaiserhoff's picture

He imported text which covered the arrows.  You can actually do that to the red arrow only.  Ask CD.  He has this system knocked;)

Timmay's picture

Good post and I agree. Only question is who just tossed out 6 trillion in debt in the open and expects to collect on it? What are the consequences if the U.S. says NO??

I am assuming that someone wants to be paid in GOLD as well???

woolly mammoth's picture

Thanks for clarifying Mikla. It's good to see you around.

BigJim's picture

Thanks, this is something I'd like to explore further - any references you'd recommend?

sleepingbeauty's picture

Do you have a source or more information on the typical creation of bonds with intentional glaring errers. Why would anyone accept said bonds when they can see the glaring errors. I would not accept a dollar that said "The United States of Amerika", would you?

Silver Dreamer's picture

Well, in their defense, they were locked away.  Perhaps they were waiting a few more years when a trillion dollars will no longer really be that much?

Ignorance is bliss's picture

Maybe they were expecting to use the bonds once hyper inflation took off. They were only 6 months early.

Buck Johnson's picture

And this is why I think there is more to this and the incidents in 2009 than meets the eye.  I can't see them actually going to a bank and saying we have a billion dollar bond for collateral or trying to sell it without the financial institution immediately getting in contact with the US Treasuary and finding out if this is one of theirs or not.  If it was for a million they wouldn't go so far to find out, but for a billion you can bet your bottom dollar they will.  I can't buy a criminal organizations would believe that financial institutions or even a govt. that the bonds belong to would okay just like  that a few billion bonds from that long ago.  And these guys had 6 Trillion sitting in vaults. 

I have a theory, what if what is going on is that some institutions know that the US economy will get into trouble.  And they think that the only way they will get out of it is to re-issue US treasuries to treasury holders backed by resources of the US and swap them with old US treasuries.  You would think that they would find out, but with the craziness that would follow, the govt. wouldn't want to be fighting every treasury that came to them and they would just want to swap to get them out of the way quick.

This isn't about counterfetters being stupid, this may be about counterfetters organized at that finding out some real sinister information and are getting ready for a buyback.

Thomas's picture

All of these instances are odd. It's like they came up with a fake Mona Lisa.

redpill's picture

Why bother with the hassle of trying to conterfeit currency in jacksons and hundos when you can print off some 1934 treasury bonds worth billions?  lol mafia

onelight's picture


And the Italian anti-mafia police had to add a Fellini movie-like script flavor to it....

Ying-Yang's picture

For most of their history after World War II, Treasury notes have been issued with denominations never rising above a high of $1 million.  Yet, from 1955 to 1969, the Treasury issued Treasury notes with the added denominations of $100 million and $500 million. 



Badabing's picture

Just sayin

 If the bonds are real, and are now considered fake, then they don’t need to be paid

Silver Dreamer's picture

That's the problem.  All bonds are fake and backed by nothing but a promise.

oddjob's picture

Fake bonds seem to attract air traffic.

Hugh G Rection's picture

Fake blondes seem to attract anal traffic.

bania's picture

did no one else notice the prosecutors were from the southern city of POteNZa?

levelworm's picture

I noticed, but without giving it a sceond thought. What is so important about that city?

Oh, so it's PONZI? lol

dwdollar's picture

I'm wondering if this has Iranian "involvement" somewhere...

BigJim's picture

Probably. They're the root of all evil, doncher know?

GetZeeGold's picture



How many can I put you down for?



Raynja's picture

Fake or not, the ecb will take them as collateral

JPM Hater001's picture

No, the ESF within the Fed, but not a part of the government, but oversaw solely by the Treasury Sec. TIMMY! is busy preparing to compete with themselves.

These amounts stink.  Over half our outstanding debt thrown mysteriously into doubt.

No one thinks this stinks?

JPM Hater001's picture

I'll pack my bags...yes sir...let me just sign off here...FEMA camp?  Has there been a natural disaster in the area...no?  why are we leaving for ...