Monday, March 21, 2016

Somebody Robs NY FED for $80 Mil: Escapes!

To my mind the fascinating thing about this story is SWIFT, the System for Worldwide Interbank Financial Transfers, which still uses the old telexes for security reasons, got hacked.  As far as I know that never happened before.  The article wonders if it was an inside job, but since two bankers have collared as participants, the fact is it was.  From SWIFTs point of view, this is a relief.  But the big question is whether the "inside man" is a central banker.

Two parts, first, finally a mainstream writer restates the obvious:

It’s an unfortunate historical anomaly that people think about the paper in their wallets as money. The dollar is, technically, a currency. A currency is a government substitute for money. But gold is money.
Now, why do I say that?
Doug has to get apologetic?  "Technically?"  Sheesh.... nothing technical about it, and no need to apologize.

Now even less so is digital media.  What was stolen is tallies of Bengla Deshi accounts, last seen going into Filipino casinos, and there the trail goes cold.    (I doubt that, forensics will tell all.)

But here is the story, no doubt soon to be a movie starring Jet Li:
Now, the first thing that should jump out at you there is that Friday is a weekend in Bangladesh, a fact which probably should have set off alarm bells. But alas, it didn’t and by the time the hackers who sent the transfer instructions screwed the pooch by spelling “foundation” wrong in one of the requests, more than $80 million was sent to the Philippines where it landed in four accounts and eventually ended up transferred to at least two casinos and one unidentified man “of Chinese origin” who has since been named as a Weikang Xu.
Read the whole article, especially the point where the Filipines has an exception to anti-money laundering laws: casinos!  So if you can get digits in to a casino, trade for chips, then return the chips for dollars, and then disappear without a trace, you converted from digital to paper, a step up.  With paper you can buy gold without a trace.

Hong Kong has private companies that compete against each other with their currencies, as we once had in USA (indeed the legal fiction is USA has twelve private banks which issue our currency, but that is well... fiction.)

We see further insecurity in the hegemons' gargantuanism here.  We need strict separation of banking and state.

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