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German newspaper faults secrecy around Germany's gold in New York

Section: Daily Dispatches

3,401 Tonnes of Gold:
Picture the Gold Treasure of the Germans in New York

By Ralf Schuler
BILD, Berlin
Tuesday, March 6, 2012

NEW YORK -- It's the most valuable treasure we Germans have: 3,401 tonnes of pure gold -- about 1,800 euros for each of us. Absolutely disaster-proof, divided between high-security vaults in Frankfurt, Paris, London, and New York. And the German Federal Bank (Bundesbank) isn't looking after it!

The incredible gold scandal! On the 19th of November 2011, BILD magazine reported that the German Federal Bank last looked at our gold reserves in New York in 2007, and has thereby even alarmed the Federal Audit Office. (Inquiries are ongoing.)

A clear breach of the law, leading accountancy lawyer Prof. Jorg Baetge told BILD. "A tally of the ingots has to be made at least every three years." The Federal Bank hasn't done that.

... Dispatch continues below ...


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Sloppiness with tangible consequences: The gold reserves (currently worth about 147 billion euros) make up the "considerable" portion (says Baetge) of more than 17 percent of the Federal Bank’s annual accounts. Are the Federal Bank's annual accounts for recent years therefore wrong?

Alarmed by the BILD report, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) member of parliament and expert on international politics Philipp Missfelder wanted to know more.

Involved in talks at the United Nations in New York, Missfelder wants to check the part of the German gold reserves stored there at the Federal Reserve Bank.

According to the BILD report, he is demanding the list of gold ingots from the president of the German Federal Bank, Jens Weidmann.

Missfelder told BILD: "I was shocked. First they said there is no list. Then there were lists, but they were secret. Then they told me that inquiries endanger the trust between the German Federal Bank and the U.S. Federal Reserve."

When the German Federal Bank found out about the BILD investigation into German state gold, its head of communications, Michael Best even tried to block the journalist's visit and the coverage in BILD: "Against this background I ask you to understand that the German Federal Bank cannot further support your request for a visit."

What does the Federal Bank want to hide?

... BILD on site

Number 33 Liberty St., Downtown Manhattan. It goes down five floors below ground. "E-level." Plain floors, humming ventilation, gigantic steel doors. And 7,000 tonnes of gold! More than in the legendary Fort Knox. It is the largest gold storage vault in the world.

But where is the German gold?

Jack Gutt of the staff of the vice president of the U.S. Federal Reserve, said: "It is in some of these 122 steel-lattice compartments. I cannot say more than that."

How many ingots? Everything is secret. No photos!

Only this much: the German gold is somewhere in the latticed chambers here in the New York vault. BILD wants to see it: no way! It will only be shown to the German Federal Bank.

These site inspections are your job, Mr. German Federal Bank Chief! How does one recognise the German gold?

Jack Gutt to BILD: "There are lists of all the ingots. Each ingot has a number, a stamp indicating the purity of the gold and a seal. The German gold reserves can therefore be counted according to law."

In the German parliament the pressure is growing. Missfelder told BILD: "It cannot be the case that for German gold assets the accounting laws are obvioulsy being violated. I demand a transparent stock check."

* * *

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