The Italian Job: Why would you transport US$134.5 billion dollars in your briefcase?

By | June 16, 2009

Something is not right. The story is amazing, the kind of thing you might see in a movie or work of fiction.

Italian financial police uncovered a briefcase literally stashed with bonds and papers worth US$134.5 billion dollars that was being transported by two ‘Japanese’ agents from Italy to Switzerland. And the US media is not covering it at all. I won’t regurgitate all the facts here.

There are too many good speculative stories and a smattering of actual stories:

News

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The story remains buried under a mess of international news,kidnappings, GM bankruptcies… that it makes you wonder if there is a case of deliberate burial of an otherwise significant story or just an inability in US media to portray stories that are significant, accurately and in a timely manner.

Whatever is going on, we note that a number of events are taking place that could indicate the whole situation.

The G8 countries are meeting in Italy at the moment, a Japanese minister just resigned, statements of faith from Russia and Japan, more meetings with the G8…. Can you add any more?

But I’ll add something to the mystery: it is interesting that Timothy Geithner attended a speech on Thursday evening, flew ahead to Italy and on getting there met both the Japanese Finance Minister Kaoru Yosano and Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin in Italy before the general meeting.

While Kaoru Yosano stated clearly "We have complete trust in the fact that the U.S. views its strong dollar policy as fundamental”, you should note the language in another report: “We have complete trust in the fact that the U.S. views its strong-dollar policy as fundamental” which most reports missed quoting. (Source)

So what is he saying? That he trusts the Americans think their strong-dollar is important. He trusts what the Americans ‘thinks’. Since when did bankers and financiers only rely on trust? He’s stuck between a rock and a hard place: he can’t be seen to talk down the dollar when so much of Japanese reserves are placed in US dollars.

The Russians were quite happy to say they are looking to ‘help out’ the IMF.

Russia said on Wednesday it would reduce the share of U.S. Treasuries in its reserves and buy bonds issued by the International Monetary Fund. Russia holds about 30 percent of its reserves in U.S. Treasuries. The country had pledged to buy about $10 billion worth of bonds to be issued by the IMF as part of a fundraising effort to help countries hit by the crisis. (SOURCE)

And the Chinese are unhappy with the US policy on spend-spend-spend. They’ve been calling on the US to be fiscally responsible. But what is clear: China is quietly buying gold, silver, and other assets as well. Yes, they’re still buying US dollars, but … what are they selling to buy these other assets? Could it be a revolving door?

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3 thoughts on “The Italian Job: Why would you transport US$134.5 billion dollars in your briefcase?

  1. John @ Chicago MBA

    Interesting to say the least and that's a lot of money to be packing in a suitcase. Does not sound well planned by the two "agents." I think they were relying on luck a bit too much and bad luck met them instead. I'm sure they aren't the only 2 people with American dollars that they should not have.

    1. InvestorBlogger Post author

      There is a lot odd about the entire case (if you pardon the pun). But why the two 'agents' thought they could escape to Switzerland with so much 'cash' by taking a workers' express belies their own misreading of Italian mores. Ill-planned is about right. But why? Unfamiliarity with Western customs/life styles? Would that hint at these guys being N.Korean? I wonder.

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