Friday, June 12, 2009

Primer: How to transport $130 billion

The WTF News of the day:
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. 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. 
Wow! They were caught transporting $134 billion ... not 134 billion yen - which would still be a mind boggling $1.37 billion! Would they have been caught if they were using the Gulfstream IV or Gulfstream V? instead of a car? 

Folks, $135 billion is so much money that it will wipe most of India's External debt ($140 billion). Only 29 countries in the world have more external debt than the amount captured in the raid. Also, i am wondering if this amount is legal or black money. Does it belong to any bank or does it belong to some mafia gang? Why am i thinking that this news will suddenly die down & we will never hear more about this incident?

Another aspect of the news that surprised me - Italian Financial Police. Do these folks go around Financial institutes dressed in coats & ties? I bet India can do well with one such special force dedicated to fight black money? Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, i hope you are listening.


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