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Did the Bundesbank get even a little of its original gold back?
3:49p ET Saturday, January 4, 2014
Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:
Correspondence between the German financial journalist Lars Schall and Germany's Bundesbank suggests that the small amount of gold the Bundesbank claims recently to have repatriated from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York was not returned in the form in which it was deposited many years ago -- that, indeed, the original German gold was not and is not available to be returned because something undisclosed was done with it.
Schall's correspondence with the Bundesbank is appended along with a statement by Peter Boehringer of the German Precious Metal Society and a leader of the movement in Germany seeking repatriation of the country's gold supposedly vaulted abroad, who raises questions the Bundesbank has yet to answer.
CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.
* * *
December 26, 2013
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am an independent financial journalist.
In connection with the transfer of 37 tons of Bundesbank gold from New York to Germany, I came across the news that the bars were a melted before the transfer. May I kindly ask you for the following information:
Why were the bars melted at all? And why couldn't that wait until the bars arrived in Frankfurt?
* * *
January 3, 2014
Dear Mr Schall:
Thank you for your enquiry.
At a press conference on the topic of Germany's gold reserves on 16 January 2013, Executive Board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele presented the Deutsche Bundesbank's new storage concept. In addition to the relocation of gold bars, this concept includes, amongst other things, measures to ensure that the specifications of the London Good Delivery (LGD) standard are met. You can find these specifications on Page 17 of the following presentation:
Storage plan (new)
..................... 2012 ........... 2020
Frankfurt ....... 31% ............ 50%
New York ....... 45% ............ 37%
London .......... 13% ............ 13%
Paris .............. 11% .............. 0%
-- Phased relocation of 300 tonnes of gold from New York to Frankfurt.
-- Phased relocation of 374 tonnes of gold from Paris to Frankfurt.
-- Achieve LGD standard, where this is not already the case.
You can find the specifications for the London Good Delivery (LGD) standard at the following address:
In cases where these specifications were not already met, the Bundesbank had these original gold bars melted down and recast in order to meet this standard. This was achieved without any difficulties.
Please understand that in order to ensure the security of the gold transports and our employees, the Bundesbank is unable to provide you with any further information.
60431 Frankfurt am Main
Tel.: +49 69 9566x3511 or 3512
* * *
Statement by Peter Boehringer, president of German Precious Metal Society and co-initiator of the Repatriate our Gold campaign --
-- on the Bundesbank's response.
Why does the Bundesbank continue to avoid transparency regarding Germany's gold holdings?
Why not just come up with easy-to-deliver facts instead of repeated rhetoric about an alleged remelting of gold bars in the United States that even people with some knowledge of the gold industry and some common sense fail to understand?
There is no reason why the original gold bars acquired in the 1950s and 1960s (if they ever existed at all, which has never been proven, as by publication of bar lists or photos) had to be melted down and recast into LGD-compliant bars in New York as opposed to Frankfurt. Nor is there reason why all this had to be done in obscurity without any published report of the recasting.
The public is still waiting for answers to crucial questions like these:
-- What kind of gold bars were melted? Original material from the 1950s and '60s?
-- How can the Bundesbank hint in its press release that some of the old bars already met the LGD specifications when those specifications were not defined and made a standard for central bank bars until 1979?
-- Why has the Bundesbank not published a bar number list of the old bars? How can there be security concerns about bars that no longer exist? Why has the Bundesbank not published a bar number list of the newly cast bars?
-- Who exactly melted the bars? Where exactly was this melting performed? Is there a smelter at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York?
-- Who witnessed the melting and recasting of the bars?
-- Are there any reports on this in writing with a valid signature? By whom?
-- And especially: Why was it deemed necessary to perform this action in the United States as opposed to Frankfurt or nearby Hanau, where there are some of the best facilities in the world for metal probing, melting, and recasting? Had these actions been performed in Germany in a fully transparent manner, it would have been so easy for the Bundesbank to dismiss all questions from "paranoid gold conspiracy theorists."
The Bundesbank is just the custodian of Germany's national gold, which is worth more than $125 billion. The Bundesbank owes the public full transparency in all these gold matters. That is, physical audits, independently verified storage reports, and a publication of the full bar lists of all its gold in all national or international vaults.
Despite having now had the excellent opportunity of this partial repatriation, the Bundesbank has again failed to produce any proof or indication that at least 37 tonnes (out of 1,500 tonnes of German gold at the New York Fed) still existed through 2013 in their original 1950s-'60s bar form. Instead, Germany is now owner of almost 3,000 LGD-compliant standard bars, which proves nothing and dismisses no allegations of decade-long manipulation of the gold price.
It is still possible and even probable that the old German bars were lent into the market long ago or that they have multiple owners or are backing multiple gold exchange-traded fund derivatives. Of course the same holds for our remaining 120,000 bars at the New York Fed.
The "repatriation" of a mere 1.5 percent of Germany's foreign gold holdings and the supposed melting and recasting of the original gold bars do not prove the continued existence of Germany's remaining gold holdings supposedly vaulted at the New York Fed.
The Bundesbank has missed a great opportunity to bring transparency to Germany's gold reserves. What a pity. And at its current speed the Bundesbank will require 60 years to accomplish the repatriation mission forced upon it by an impatient public. What a shame.
The initiators of the Repatriate Our Gold campaign --
-- are considering legal action based on freedom-of-information law against the Bundesbank and possibly also against its auditors, who have certified the Bundesbank's balance sheet without having adequately considered the risks associated with a non-transparent gold hoard, which is the only asset of substance on the Bundesbank's books. (Ninety percent of those assets are mere paper claims, many of dubious quality, like "Target 2" claims.)
Our objective remains to achieve the publication of all gold bar lists and full transparency involving Germany's gold. The German people are entitled to have all information about their golden property.
And the American people have a right to know as well. After all, it is the U.S. Federal Reserve System and the U.S. Treasury Department that have been obscuring their gold holdings and foreign gold holdings since the last proper audit in 1953.
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