England’s House of Lords heard a stem-winding speech on Feb. 16 from a nobleman who claimed $15 trillion had been secretly transferred into British banks by a man he estimated was the world’s richest person.
No, not Mexican investor Carlos Slim Helu, whose wealth Forbes magazine estimates at $63.3 billion. This alleged money man, according to Lord David James of Blackheath, was worth trillions.
Lord James told his colleagues that $15 trillion of the $36 trillion personally held by a Mr. Yohannes Riyadi wound up in the HSBC Bank “for onward transit to the Royal Bank of Scotland.” He claimed the United States had been gradually stealing Riyadi’s money “for the specific purpose of helping to support the dollar.”
“Mr. Riyadi has sent me a remarkable document dated February 2006,” Lord James continued, “in which the American Government have called him to a meeting with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.” That meeting, he said, “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,” he continued, “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.”
Riyadi, as the tale continues, supposedly had 750,000 tons of gold backing the $15 trillion the United States took from him to prop up the U.S. dollar.
The World Gold Council, however, estimates the only 165,000 tons of gold have been mined in the history of the world.
But Lord James, keeping calm and carrying on, justified the story by pointing to a first-of-its-kind audit of the Federal Reserve system, published in July 2011 by the Government Accountability Office and publicized by the self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders, a senator from Vermont.
Sanders claimed at the time that the audit showed “that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world.”
The GAO report itself, on page 144, does describe $16.1 trillion in loans issued by the Fed from December 1, 2007 through July 21,2010. And adding the Fed’s “broad-based emergency program” loans, the report documents about $26 trillion of borrowing over a 31-month period.
For a nation worried over its $15.4 trillion national debt, the idea of a cash reserve that big would be reassuring — if the money were all in one place at the same time. But the Fed’s money ebbs and flows in and out with surprising speed, making the $26 trillion figure a deceptive one. Confusing that total with the Fed’s net worth would be like confusing a taxpayer’s annual salary with the value of his checking account.
Yet conspiracy theorists from Bernie Sanders to former Democratic Florida Rep. Alan Grayson — and even the Occupy Wall Street movement — have pointed to last year’s GAO report as evidence of a global conspiracy of Ron Paulian proportions.
The real news in the report was that some banks and other firms bailed out with Federal Reserve money had massive conflicts of interest in the form of officers who were also in positions of power inside the Fed itself. In any event, the list of the 20 largest Fed borrowers, each of whom was loaned at least $124 billion, does not include HSBC.
Still, Lord James breathlessly trumpeted the report. “I have this quite frightening piece of paper, which is my justification for bringing it into this meeting,” he intoned. “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.”
There’s a reason the bells might not have gone off in Parliament. The right honourable gentleman, as British peers are fond of calling one another, could have figured out why by spending 10 seconds with the Earl of Google.
“The Federal Reserve is aware of a fraudulent scam,” the page reads, “involving individuals using the names Yohannes Riyadi and/or Wilfredo Saurin, or persons claiming to be representatives of these two men.”
“In a typical version of this scam, Mr. Riyadi and/or his delegates falsely claim that they have on deposit with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York several U.S. Treasury Checks issued to Mr. Riyadi amounting to billions of dollars. … The fraudulent scheme includes multiple documents which purport to have the signatures of various Federal Reserve officials, including Chairman Ben Bernanke.”
So it emerges that the name “Yohannes Riyadi” is synonymous with the names of various apocryphal Nigerian princes whose spam emails promise riches in exchange for help moving their inheritances to American banks.
It’s a good thing — for the British, at least — that Lord James apparently doesn’t have a computer.