Showing posts with label Alan Greenspan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alan Greenspan. Show all posts

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Money for Nothin’ - Writing Checks for Free



http://www.pimco.com/EN/Insights/Pages/Money-for-Nothin-Writing-Checks-for-Free.aspx

Money for Nothin’ 
Writing Checks for Free
William H. Gross

[Bill Gross is the founder of PIMCO the world's largest trader of bonds - AK]

It was Milton Friedman, not Ben Bernanke, who first made reference to dropping money from helicopters in order to prevent deflation. Bernanke’s now famous “helicopter speech” in 2002, however, was no less enthusiastically supportive of the concept. In it, he boldly previewed the almost unimaginable policy solutions that would follow the black swan financial meltdown in 2008: policy rates at zero for an extended period of time; expanding the menu of assets that the Fed buys beyond Treasuries; and of course quantitative easing purchases of an almost unlimited amount should they be needed. These weren’t Bernanke innovations – nor was the term QE. Many of them had been applied by policy authorities in the late 1930s and ‘40s as well as Japan in recent years. Yet the then Fed Governor’s rather blatant support of monetary policy to come should have been a signal to investors that he would be willing to pilot a helicopter should the takeoff be necessary. “Like gold,” he said, “U.S. dollars have value only to the extent that they are strictly limited in supply. But the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press (or, today, its electronic equivalent), that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.”

Mr. Bernanke never provided additional clarity as to what he meant by “no cost.” Perhaps he was referring to zero-bound interest rates, although at the time in 2002, 10-year Treasuries were at 4%. Or perhaps he knew something that American citizens, their political representatives, and almost all investors still don’t know: that quantitative easing – the purchase of Treasury and Agency mortgage obligations from the private sector – IS essentially costless in a number of ways. That might strike almost all of us as rather incredible – writing checks for free – but that in effect is what a central bank does. Yet if ordinary citizens and corporations can’t overdraft their accounts without criminal liability, how can the Fed or the European Central Bank or any central bank get away with printing “electronic money” and distributing it via helicopter flyovers in the trillions and trillions of dollars?

Well, the answer is sort of complicated but then it’s sort of simple: They just make it up. When the Fed now writes $85 billion of checks to buy Treasuries and mortgages every month, they really have nothing in the “bank” to back them. Supposedly they own a few billion dollars of “gold certificates” that represent a fairy-tale claim on Ft. Knox’s secret stash, but there’s essentially nothing there but trust. When a primary dealer such as J.P. Morgan or Bank of America sells its Treasuries to the Fed, it gets a “credit” in its account with the Fed, known as “reserves.” It can spend those reserves for something else, but then another bank gets a credit for its reserves and so on and so on. The Fed has told its member banks “Trust me, we will always honor your reserves,” and so the banks do, and corporations and ordinary citizens trust the banks, and “the beat goes on,” as Sonny and Cher sang. $54 trillion of credit in the U.S. financial system based upon trusting a central bank with nothing in the vault to back it up. Amazing!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

US$15 TRILLION ENDS UP AT THE ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND


I came across this strange tale by Lord James on the theft of assets from one of Indonesia's richest men by Timothy Geither and Alan Greenspan and the subsequent incoming wire transfers for 15 trillion dollars to England. That's more money than the entire USA national deficit budget! These numbers are so huge its hard for a working man to wrap their heads around it. But the inability to wrap one's mind around the sum involved does not make it untrue. But I'll let Lord James relate the tale in the delightful English manner that I could never duplicate on my own:



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House of Lords

Lords Chamber Meeting started on Thursday 16 February at 11.04am. Ended at 6.39pm

Lord James of Blackheath (Conservative)


My Lords, I hope the minute that that has taken has not come off my time. I do not wish noble Lords to get too encouraged when I start with my conclusions but I will not sit down when I have made them. I will then give the evidence to support them and, I hope, present the reasons why I want support for an official inquiry into the mischief I shall unfold this afternoon. I have been engaged in pursuit of this issue for nearly two years and I am no further forward in getting to the truth.

There are three possible conclusions which may come from it. First, there may have been a massive piece of money-laundering committed by a major Government who should know better. Effectively, it undermined the integrity of a British bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland, in doing so. The second possibility is that a major American department has an agency which has gone rogue on it because it has been wound up and has created a structure out of which it is seeking to get at least €50 billion as a pay-off. The third possibility is that this is an extraordinarily elaborate fraud, which has not been carried out, but which has been prepared to provide a threat to one Government or more if they do not make a pay-off. These three possibilities need an urgent review.

In April and May 2009, the situation started with the alleged transfer of $5 trillion to HSBC in the United Kingdom. Seven days later, another $5 trillion came to HSBC and three weeks later another $5 trillion. A total of $15 trillion is alleged to have been passed into the hands of HSBC for onward transit to the Royal Bank of Scotland. We need to look to where this came from and the history of this money. I have been trying to sort out the sequence by which this money has been created and where it has come from for a long time.

It starts off apparently as the property of Yohannes Riyadi, who has some claims to be considered the richest man in the world. He would be if all the money that was owed to him was paid but I have seen some accounts of his showing that he owns $36 trillion in a bank. It is a ridiculous sum of money. However, $36 trillion would be consistent with the dynasty from which he comes and the fact that it had been effectively the emperors of Indo-China in times gone by. A lot of that money has been taken away from him, with his consent, by the American Treasury over the years for the specific purpose of helping to support the dollar.

Mr Riyadi has sent me a remarkable document dated February 2006 in which the American Government have called him to a meeting with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which is neither the Federal Reserve nor a bank. It is a bit like "Celebrity Big Brother". It has three names to describe it and none of them is true. This astonishing document purports to have been a meeting, which was witnessed by Mr Alan Greenspan, who signed for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York of which he was chairman, as well as chairman of the real Federal Reserve in Washington. It is signed by Mr Timothy Geithner as a witness on behalf of the International Monetary Fund. The IMF sent two witnesses, the other being Mr Yusuke Horiguchi. These gentlemen have signed as witnesses to the effect that this deal is a proper deal.

There are a lot of other signatures on the document. I do not have a photocopy; I have an original version of the contract.

Under the contract, the American Treasury has apparently got the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to offer to buy out the bonds issued to Mr Riyadi to replace the cash which has been taken from him over the previous 10 years. It is giving him $500 million as a cash payment to buy out worthless bonds. That is all in the agreement and it is very remarkable. Establishing whether I have a correct piece of paper is just two phone calls away-one to Mr Geithner and one to Mr Greenspan, both of whom still prosper and live. They could easily confirm whether they signed it. Mr Riyadi, by passing these bonds over, has also put at the disposal of the US Treasury the entire asset backing which he was alleged to have for the $15 trillion. I have a letter from the Bank of Indonesia which says that the whole thing was a pack of lies. [stating] He did not have the 750,000 tonnes of gold which was supposed to be backing it; he had only 700 tonnes. [it claims] This is a piece of complete fabrication.

Finally, I have a letter from Mr Riyadi himself, who tells me that he was put up to do this, that none of it is true, and that he has been robbed of all his money. I am quite prepared to recognise that one of the possibilities is that Mr Riyadi is himself putting this together as a forgery in order to try to win some recovery. But it gets more complicated than that because each of the $5 trillion payments that came in has been acknowledged and receipted by senior executives at HSBC and again receipted by senior executives at the Royal Bank of Scotland. I have a set of receipts for all of this money. Why would any bank want to file $5 trillion-worth-$15 trillion in total-of receipts if the money did not exist? The money was first said to have come from the Riyadi account to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and from there it was passed to JP MorganChase in New York for onward transit to London. The means of sending it was a SWIFT note which, if it was genuine, ought to have been registered with the Bank of England.

When this came about, I took it to my noble friend Lord Strathclyde and asked what we should do with it. He said, "Give it to Lord Sassoon. He is the Treasury". So I did, and my noble friend Lord Sassoon looked at it and said immediately, "This is rubbish. It is far too much money. It would stick out like a sore thumb and you cannot see it in the Royal Bank of Scotland accounts". He went on to say, "The gold backing it is ridiculous. Only 1,507 tonnes of gold has been mined in the history of the world, so you cannot have 750,000 tonnes". That is true. The third thing he said was, "It is a scam", and I agree with him. The problem is that at that point we stopped looking, but we should have asked what the scam was instead of just nodding it off.

We have never resolved it. Today, I have this quite frightening piece of paper, which is my justification for bringing it into this meeting. It is available on the internet and I am astonished that it has not already been unearthed by the Treasury because every alarm bell in the land should be ringing if it has. It is from the general audit office of the Federal Reserve in Washington-the real Federal Reserve-and its audit review to the end of July 2010 on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. It has on it some 20 banks listed to which $16.115 trillion is outstanding in loans. That is the sore thumb that was being looked for by my noble friend Lord Sassoon. But more particularly there are two other interesting things. The first is that Barclays Bank has $868 billion of loan, and the Royal Bank of Scotland has $541 billion, in which case one has to ask a question, because they could have earned back in three weeks their entire indebtedness and could pay off the taxpayers of Britain. Why have they not done so and could we please ask them to put a cheque in the post tonight for the whole $46 billion?

The next thing that is wrong with it is that every bank on this list, without exception, is an MTN-registered bank, which means that they are registered to use medium-term notes to move funds between themselves with an agreed profit-share formula, in which case these banks are investing this money and, most extraordinarily, not a penny of interest does the Federal Bank of New York want paid on that vast amount, $16 trillion. Anyone who knows what the IMF rules are will immediately smell a rat. The IMF has very strict rules for validating dodgy money. There are two ways of doing it. You either pass it through a major central bank like the Bank of England, which apparently refused to touch this, or you put it through an MTN-trading bank, which is then able to use the funds on the overnight European MTN trading market where they can earn between 1 per cent and 2.5 per cent profit per night. The compound interest on that sum is huge. If it is genuine, a vast profit is being made on this money somewhere.

I believe that this is now such an important issue that I have put everything that I have got on the subject on to a 104-megabyte memory thumb. I want the Government to take it all, put it to some suitable investigative bureau and find out the truth of what is going on here, because something is very seriously wrong. Either we have a huge amount of tax uncollected on profits made or we have a vast amount of money festering away in the European banking system which is not real money, in which case we need to take it back. I ask for an investigation and for noble Lords to support my plea.

Hansard source (Citation: HL Deb, 16 February 2012, c1016)

Update: 2/26/12 A very interesting commentary on this speech by Lord James can be found here:
http://sirratatap.com/category/banking/2-19-12-corrupt-banking-at-the-highest-levels/