UK Lord claims mysterious Foundation wants to give Britain £17B, no strings attached

Charlie Stross links to an official transcript of the Nov 1 debate in the UK's House of Lords in which the Tory life-peer Lord James of Blackheath (a respected industry magnate and financier) claims to have been contacted by a secret foundation with more gold on hand than all the world's bullion reserves combined. This group, "Foundation X," apparently has offered to give the UK £5 billion right away, no strings attached, with another £17 billion to follow before Christmas for works on hospitals, schools and London's crossrail project. Lord James seems to be totally serious about this, and he claims to have brought other respected Lords to meet with these shadowy goldbugs.

So: who's trying to buy Britain?

Lord James of Blackheath: At this point, I am going to have to make a very big apology to my noble friend Lord Sassoon [Treasury Minister], because I am about to raise a subject that I should not raise and which is going to be one which I think is now time to put on a higher awareness, and to explain to the House as a whole, as I do not think your Lordships have any knowledge of it. I am sorry that my noble friend Lord Strathclyde [Leader of the House] is not with us at the moment, because this deeply concerns him also.

For the past 20 weeks I have been engaged in a very strange dialogue with the two noble Lords, in the course of which I have been trying to bring to their attention the willing availability of a strange organisation which wishes to make a great deal of money available to assist the recovery of the economy in this country. For want of a better name, I shall call it foundation X. That is not its real name, but it will do for the moment. Foundation X was introduced to me 20 weeks ago last week by an eminent City firm, which is FSA controlled. Its chairman came to me and said, "We have this extraordinary request to assist in a major financial reconstruction. It is megabucks, but we need your help to assist us in understanding whether this business is legitimate". I had the biggest put-down of my life from my noble friend Lord Strathclyde when I told him this story. He said, "Why you? You're not important enough to have the answer to a question like that". He is quite right, I am not important enough, but the answer to the next question was, "You haven't got the experience for it". Yes I do. I have had one of the biggest experiences in the laundering of terrorist money and funny money that anyone has had in the City. I have handled billions of pounds of terrorist money...

The point is that when I was in the course of doing this strange activity, I had an interesting set of phone numbers and references that I could go to for help when I needed it. So people in the City have known that if they want to check out anything that looks at all odd, they can come to me and I can press a few phone numbers to obtain a reference. The City firm came to me and asked whether I could get a reference and a clearance on foundation X. For 20 weeks, I have been endeavouring to do that. I have come to the absolute conclusion that foundation X is completely genuine and sincere and that it directly wishes to make the United Kingdom one of the principal points that it will use to disseminate its extraordinarily great wealth into the world at this present moment, as part of an attempt to seek the recovery of the global economy.

Did somebody just try to buy the British government?

(Image: NBP Gold, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from 11139043@N00's photostream)


  1. My shortlist for whose name is on that check
    • Dr Evil
    • Mrs. Windsor
    • Mr. Bush (any of them)
    • Madonna
    • The reptilians

  2. What they’re not telling:
    They were contacted about this by email from Doctor Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria.
    I get offers like that all the time!

  3. “All I need to do is send him my bank information and the foundation will wire the funds immediately.”

  4. Let me try this again:

    My shortlist for whose name is on that check:
    • /b/
    • Scrooge McDuck

  5. Meanwhile, in a large desk on a half-lit room, Björk joins fingers and considers that everything is going according to plan.

  6. Someone wants to make some serious naked short-selling profits on bullion by crashing its price through the UK Government.

    It’s brilliant.

    1. The old adage, considering who stands to gain as a clue to the possible identity and motives of an unknown actor, fits well.

      You could really move the highly leveraged and known-to-be-manipulated gold market if this identity had even a small fraction of the gold claimed.

      Or, as you say, it could be a naked short, aka a total bluff!

  7. The link says that 17 billion would follow, not 17 million:
    “if the British Government would like it as well, if it will help, the foundation will be prepared to put up money for funding hospitals, schools, the building of Crossrail immediately with £17 billion transfer by Christmas”

  8. When does he get to the part about how Foundation X takes the left over fractions of cents from every financial transaction on Earth?

  9. “I have had one of the biggest experiences in the laundering of terrorist money and funny money that anyone has had in the City. I have handled billions of pounds of terrorist money… ”

    Did he just confess to laundering terrorist money? WTF?

  10. Who exactly do foundation x want to donate to? They can’t donate to the government if they are foreign – well, okay, they can, but not legally…

    ( @cjp: If only. )

  11. Quick, someone start writing the Doctor Who episode. And you can’t use cybermen or daleks, not their style…

    1. Clearly it’s the Vogans- this is simply brinksmanship against the Cyber-menace. They just want to remind all the major inter-galactic and inter-temporal players that they can place tonnes of gold at the disposal of Torchwood or UNIT at a moment’s notice.

  12. I’m not sure why you cut out the terrorist organization piece:

    Not into my pocket. My biggest terrorist client was the IRA and I am pleased to say that I managed to write off more than £1 billion of its money. I have also had extensive connections with north African terrorists, but that was of a far nastier nature, and I do not want to talk about that because it is still a security issue. I hasten to add that it is no good getting the police in, because I shall immediately call the Bank of England as my defence witness, given that it put me in to deal with these problems.

  13. It is, of course, Sir Paul McCartney. Man owns more than anyone in England excepting the Crown and knows he cannot possibly take it all with him.

    Rooks stay on the Tower for another generation.

    Blackbird singing in the dead of night
    Take these broken wings and learn to fly
    All your life
    You were only waiting for this moment to arise

  14. It’s the Diogenes Club. They’ve always run Britain but they’re going to do it out in the open now.

  15. Mad as a badgers ball-bag. Yet another reason to put this unelected bunch of in-bred yahoo’s and failed politico’s out to pasture

  16. I can’t be the only person who, after reading this post and its comments, looked up wikipedia for both Lord James of Blackheath and OITC and spotted that they were both involved in supposed bids for MG Rover. Fair enough, PWC didn’t take the crazy one seriously and I’m not sure how much of the James one wasn’t just attention seeking but it does make you wonder.

  17. It’s funny.

    But also, as a foreigner living in the UK there are some elements that make me despair. Firstly, if a state official in any other European country spoke about consorting with some “foundation X” s/he would be in trouble, possibly even suspended and investigated until full transparency in his/her dealings had been established. The British public however are quite forgiving when it comes to a bit of hush-hush. A second point is how unembarrassed the lord is about being such a typical upperclass twit. While he firstly claims to be knowledgeable about dodgy money, it turns out that this knowledge is essentially “a set of phone numbers and references”. Such typical posh boy crap, you’re whole professional worth is who you know not what you know.

  18. Gov: “We need money, FAST!”
    Treasury: “But we can’t! Our coffers are empty!”
    Gov: “Well, what about printing a few billions? It won’t hurt anyone..”
    Treasury: “Are you crazy? We cannot just pull cash out of thin air! It has to come from *somewhere*!”
    Gov: “Wait a second.. I might have an idea…”

  19. I’ve always wondered what happended to the trillions-gazillions that the content industries, self-reportedly, lose out on from piracy. Where is all that mad cash? As it turns out, X has been stashing it!

  20. From start to finish it sounds like a 419.

    If that turns out to be the case then this guy should lose his job.

  21. i think i got that email too,

    it started

    “dear sir, Im a nigerian prince and have recently inherited £17B i wish share it with you, if you would like to send me some money first to confirm the transaction then i can send you the full amount….” etc..

    its a scam! ;)

  22. No no.. its all legit no strings attached..
    Its just a exchange between friends..

    and as friends when we ask for a favour.
    A friend would’nt refuse! :)

  23. “Anonymous messages are held for moderation. This could take a (long) while. ”

    you are funny…and fast!

  24. My guess is this is from the British National Alchemy Club.

    On a side note the price of lead has skyrocketed in Brittan due to a sudden mysterious shortage.

    1. I second the recommendation to watch the video of his speech linked by Anon@59.

      When you’re done watching Lord James speak, be sure to fast forward to 3hr 25mins to see some tongue-in-cheek reaction to his offer.

  25. When Brits say “billion” they mean what Americans mean when we way “trillion”. Who could have $17 trillion in gold? And how would they give it to anyone without having an army to move it?

  26. It’s cousin Vinnie, if they refuse his offer they will get a castle that boosts land value, aura, and other great things to the surrounding area of construction. :)

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