Italian police seize $6 trillion of fake US bonds
Italian police announced today they had seized about $6 trillion (£3.8 trillion) of fake U.S. Treasury bonds in Switzerland, and issued arrest warrants for eight people accused of international fraud and other financial crimes.
The operation, co-ordinated by prosecutors from the southern Italian city of Potenza, was carried out by Italian and Swiss authorities after a year-long investigation.
The fake securities, more than a third of U.S. national debt, were seized in January from a Swiss trust company where they were held in three large trunks.
The eight alleged fraudsters are accused of counterfeiting bonds, credit card forgery, and usury in the Italian regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, Lazio and Basilicata, police said.
The Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s office said Zurich state prosecutors had worked on the investigation at the request of the Italian prosecutor. The Swiss handed over their findings in July of last year.
In 2009, Italian financial police seized $742bn of fake U.S. bearer bonds in the northern Italian town of Chiasso, near the Swiss border.
Murdoch announces launch of The Sun on Sunday
Rupert Murdoch has announced his intention to launch a Sunday edition of The Sun newspaper “very soon”.
The new publication has been rumoured ever since the News of the World was forced to close in July 2011 and it is believed that several mock-ups of ‘The Sun on Sunday’ have already been produced, suggesting its launch could be imminent.
The media baron flew into London late last night to placate staff at the tabloid who were furious about their management’s handling of the ongoing police investigations into journalistic practices.
In addition to praising the skills of his journalists, the 80-year-old chairman and chief executive of News Corporation used an email to staff to declare that while “illegal activities simply cannot and will not be tolerated” he would lift the suspension of journalists who have been arrested on the basis that they are innocent until proven otherwise.
Murdoch has a long-standing attached to The Sun, which he founded in 1969. He finished his email to staff with a pledge to stay with his journalists in London “for the next several weeks to give you my unwavering support”.
But News Corp shareholders in the US are understood to be concerned about his commitment to a troubled business that forms a tiny percentage of the group’s revenue, especially given the prospect of a federal investigation into the firm under a law that bars American companies from making corrupt payments to foreign officials.
German President resigns over home loan scandal
GERMAN President Christian Wulff resigned this morning after state prosecutors asked parliament to remove his legal immunity over accusations that he accepted favours.
He has been hit by a scandal over a home loan that he accepted while leading the state of Lower Saxony.
“The developments of the past few days and weeks have shown that (the German people’s) trust and thus my effectiveness have been seriously damaged,” Wulff said in a brief statement.
“For this reason it is no longer possible for me to exercise the office of president at home and abroad as required.”
The resignation deals a blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel, who selected him for the largely ceremonial post of head of state.
Mrs Merkel fought to get Mr Wulff made president in 2010.