U.S. Treasury bonds with a face value of $116 billion seized in Italy in August are fake and were destined for U.S. investors, according to the prosecutor running the probe.
A woman from the Philippines, who was to receive the bonds taken in August, and the sender, her brother, who later traveled to Italy, were arrested by local police, the prosecutor said.
Had the notes been genuine, the pair would have been the U.S. government’s sixth-biggest creditor, behind Russia, which is owed $118 billion.
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The Philippine nationals claimed to be Jehovah’s Witnesses and wanted to sell the bonds to finance their religious missions, the prosecutor said.