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发表于 2024-3-10 12:20:07 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Italian police said on Friday they had seized about $6 trillion worth of fake U.S. Treasury bonds and other securities in Switzerland, and arrested eight Italians accused of international fraud and other financial crimes.
The fake certificates signed "Chicago, Illinois, Federal Reserve Bank" were stored in trunks stamped with "Federal Reserve System, Treaty of Versailles" marks. The bonds were carrying the false date of issue of 1934. The bonds were found hidden in false compartments in three safety deposit boxes transferred in 2007 from Hong Kong to Zurich. Two checks issued by HSBC and not backed by funds were also discovered.
Which investigators said could have been used to justify the sums involved as payments between states following World War I.
The operation was "the biggest for this type of investigation," Giovanni Colangelo, the head of the prosecutor's office in the city of Potenza in southern Italy which is leading the investigation, told reporters.
The investigation has allowed detectives to uncover "an international network with people implicated in numerous countries," in the southern Basilicata region, Colangelo said, adding that he believed that more fake bonds were still hidden.
Prosecutors said experts from the US Federal Reserve and the embassy had examined the fake bonds and found they were high quality.
The prosecutors said they had found the bonds — along with a fake copy of the Treaty of Versailles, signed by European powers at the end of World War I — in special compartments in metal crates in a Swiss vault, which the Swiss authorities had sent them last fall following a request for cooperation.
“We had heard that they weighed a lot, but frankly we didn’t expect to find that kind of material,” Giovanni Colangelo, the chief prosecutor in Potenza, said in a telephone interview on Friday.
"The counterfeiting of bonds, the transfer of the deposit boxes from Hong Kong to Switzerland, the global travel (of the suspects) had an enormous cost and we think that the interests are at a high level," Colangelo said.
The arrests on Friday, on fraud and related charges, were part of a broader investigation of organized crime in the Basilicata region, the instep of Italy’s boot, prosecutors in Potenza said in an e-mailed statement.
Prosecutors refused to say anything more. But the Italian news agency ANSA, citing unidentified investigative sources, said phone taps indicated that there had been some interest from the suspects in acquiring plutonium from unidentified Nigerians.
The U.S. Embassy in Rome thanked the Italian authorities and said the forgeries were "an attempt to defraud several Swiss banks."
Contacted by AFP, the US embassy in Rome declined to comment.
The U.S. embassy in Rome examined the securities dated 1934, which had a nominal value of $1 billion apiece, they said in the statement. “Thanks to Italian authorities for the seizure of fictitious bonds for $6 trillion,” the embassy said in a message on Twitter.
Italian daily Corriere della Sera said on its website that the criminal network was believed to be interested in acquiring plutonium, citing sources at the prosecutors' office.
U.S. bond traders took a light-hearted view of the news.
"If there's that much less supply now, Treasuries should be rallying," joked Kevin Flanagan, fixed-income strategist at Morgan Stanley.
A trader at Citigroup said he had swapped jokes with colleagues about the seizure, which would not move markets.
"It's kind of like fake inflation I guess, if you take it to the max, but I don't think it means that much."

Friday's was by no means the first seizure of fake US bonds by Italian authorities but by far the one with the highest face value.
One scam involved newly discovered bonds that purportedly had been bound for China in the 1930s as part of a secret government agreement before being lost for years when the plane carrying them crashed in the Philippines.
In September 2009, Italian police seized $116 billion in phoney bonds and arrested two Filipino nationals carrying them at Milan's airport.
In June of the same year police arrested two Japanese nationals on the Italian-Swiss border carrying bonds with a face value of $134 billion.
In 2009, Italian financial police seized $742 billion of fake U.S. bearer bonds in the of Chiasso, on the Swiss-Italian border.
In 2009 the officers of the Italian financial police arrested two Japanese nationals who tried to cross the Italian border and enter Switzerland with a suitcase full of fake US treasury bonds worth $134.5 billion.
In a similar incident in 2009 two Filipinos were arrested at Milan Airport with a bag of fake US bonds amounting to some $180 billion.
In January last year six smugglers were arrested during a routine search at a highway rest shop. They were carrying a briefcase full of fake bonds valued at approximately $20 billion.

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