Two Japanese smugglers were busted on the Italian-Swiss border with a suitcase whose false bottom was stuffed with $134.5 billion in US treasury bonds, including two one billion dollar Kennedy bonds (a denomination used for national currency reserves). Either these guys are the world's dumbest, most ambitious counterfeiters, or they're the biggest currency smugglers ever caught.
It gets better: Italian law says that the penalty for currency smuggling is 40% of the seized cash, and that 40% (US$28 billion) will take a huge bite out of Italy's public debt.
If the certificates were real, for Italy it would be like hitting the jackpot. The fine alone would amount to US$ 38 billion, five times the estimated cost of rebuilding quake-devastated Abruzzi region. It would help Italy's eliminate its public deficit.
If the certificates are fakes the two Japanese nationals could get a very lengthy jail sentence for fraud.
As soon as the seizure was made the US Embassy in Rome was informed. Italian and US secret services were called in to assist the Italian financial police.
Some important international financial newspapers had already reported on the existence of 'funny money' circulating on parallel, i.e. unofficial, financial markets.
US government securities seized from Japanese nationals, not clear whether real or fake
Level Scapes' desktop microterrariums are matchbox-sized, stackable sealed boxes with miniature ferns and mosses that only require water and sunshine; they're $39 for a set of six (25% of with the coupon code yankodesign). (via Yanko Design)
[I've been in love with Negativland since their legendary copyright battle with U2 and they've been a part of Boing Boing since 2001; it's a pleasure beyond words to be able to debut More Data, their characteristically trenchant video about data privacy and surveillance; see below for notes from Negativland. -Cory]
A once-underground movement of Finnish girls who conduct elaborate dressage routines with toy hobbyhorses has gone mainstream, with coaches, competitions and trainers, and is spreading abroad.
Seasoned chefs have a bit of a love-hate relationship with their cutlery. A really good set of knives has to prove its worth by being put through the wringer – and if they’re really good, they’ll still look great afterward. So it is with the Damasukasu Japanese 3-Piece Master Chef Hanshu Knife Set. Sitting in […]
With the intuitive software out there today, anyone can become a music producer. You’ve probably heard that from any number of laptop impresarios, but you still have to know how to use the tools – and Logic Pro X is one of the best platforms out there right now. In order to get the most […]
Believe it or not, PDF files have been the go-to format for contracts and forms of any type since 1993. And sure, they’re easily shareable – but that’s about it. When you need to edit or sign a document – and you will – that’s when frustration can set in. Luckily, there are workarounds, and […]