Taken from Market Skeptics: Gold (Price) Manipulation and Naked Short Selling Are One Conspiracy
As I mentioned in my last entry, the two biggest, most enduring, and most credible “conspiracies” in the financial world revolve around gold manipulation (See GATA’s website (Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee)) and naked short selling (See DeepCapture.com). Although they are treated as distinct from and unrelated to each other, these two conspiracies are in fact ONE.
Let’s begin with a quick overview of gold manipulation and naked short selling in order to show how they are connected.
SUMMARY OF THE GOLD MANIPULATION CONSPIRACY
GATA provides a summary of the gold manipulation conspiracy.
A Summary of GATA’s Work – Andrew Hepburn
Submitted by Administrator on Mon, 2004-01-12 08:00.
By Andrew Hepburn
The Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee(GATA) believes that central banks, acting through certain investment banks, have surreptitiously manipulated the price of gold.Such activity appears to have started in the mid-1990s and continues to this day. Prominent entities involved include J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, and the Bank for International Settlements. GATA specifically alleges that the U.S. Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund[ESF] has been used, contrary to official denials, for gold market interventions. Furthermore, GATA believes that the official sector intervened in the late 1990s to prevent an impending gold derivative crisis, the result of excessive short positions accumulated over many years.
These claims are based on analyses of publicly available government documents and statistics, trading abnormalities, and material presented in a GATA-backed lawsuit. Howe vs. Bank for International Settlements et al. accusing the BIS, Federal Reserve, U.S. Treasury, and four bullion banks of gold market manipulation. Though the suit was dismissed in 2002 on two technicalities, the evidence presented in it is recognized by many knowledgeable observers as having sufficiently proven the price-fixing allegations. …
Central banks lease gold either by making gold deposits with, or by making gold loans to, bullion banks, the largest of which are international banks or other financial institutions. In both cases, the gold is placed with a bullion bank usually at a very low rate of interest, often 2% or less. This so-called “leased” gold is then sold into the market and the currency proceeds delivered for investment or other use by the bullion bank and/or its customer. When the gold deposit is called or the gold loan comes due, the physical gold required for repayment must generally be repurchased in the market.
The benefit to the bullion banks lay in the difference between gold lease rates and prevailing interest rates. By borrowing gold cheaply, selling it into the spot market, and investing the proceeds in interest-bearing instruments, the gold borrowers realized substantial gains. …
Understanding the mechanics of the gold leasing (gold manipulation)
The Goldseek article below does a Forensic Examination of the Gold Carry Trade.
Forensic Examination of the Gold Carry Trade
– Posted Wednesday, 13 May 2009
By: Rob Kirby
… Central Banks “swap” and “lease” gold is an undeniable matter of public record. …
… Central Banks claim to “officially” have somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 metric tonnes of gold bullion in their vaults. However, the reality is that Central Banks possess LESS physical gold than they officially report – how much less is a matter of speculation and a closely guarded secret.
The following formula explains the mechanics of the Gold Carry [lease] Trade:
** Do not confuse the Gold Forward Rate [GOFO] with the Gold futures price – they are not related.
What Happens When Gold Is Leased?
When Central Banks lease gold, it PHYSICALLY leaves the vault and the recipient / borrower sells the physical metal into the marketplace to raise cash – to invest or to finance capital expenditures. In this regard, we can say that “GOLD LEASING” is a means by which physical bullion is made available in the market place – thereby lowering the gold price. After the gold physically leaves the vault of the Central Bank, it is replaced with an I. O. U. and the Central Bank, for accounting purposes, “double counts” by continuing to claim that they still possess the same amount of physical bullion in the vault. It is notable that fraudulent accounting practices relating to gold is promoted by lawmakers the world over. This is contrary to generally accepted accounting practices and promotes market opacity instead of the much talked about need for transparency. Explicitly, it serves to promote the supremacy of the fiat U.S. Dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
I’ve circled the 10 % spike in lease rates on the chart below:
Now, let’s stop and consider WHO did the lending of metal in Sept. 1999 – expelling physical precious metal, intentionally at a loss, in the face of a RISING PRICE of GOLD.Remember folks, 3 month GOFO [the gold forward rate] is the return “earned” by the lender of bullion:
So ask yourself WHO would lend physical gold bullion to ANYONE with a guarantee that you would get LESS bullion back in 3 months????????????
What to take away from the passage above is that the gold lease rate is an indicator of how much central bank gold is being leased out. The higher the lease rate, the more leased gold is being sold
It is also key to note that when leased gold is sold to investors around the world, the money collected is brought to the US and put into “interest-bearing instruments”. This means more gold is leased out, the more demand is created for dollars and US treasuries.
Time Frame of the gold leasing fraud
The gold leasing that was rampant in the 1990s was ended by the “Washington Agreement”. The gold sextant explains how this happened.
February 1, 2000. Two Bills: Scandal and Opportunity in Gold?
On September 26, 1999, 15 European central banks, led by the ECB, announce that they will limit their total combined gold sales over the next five years to 2000 tonnes, not to exceed 400 tonnes in any one year, and will not increase their gold lending or other gold derivatives activities. Besides the ECB and the 11 members of the EMU, Britain, Switzerland and Sweden are parties. The 2000 tonnes include the remaining 365 tonnes of British sales and 1300 tonnes of previously proposed Swiss sales, leaving only 335 tonnes of possible new sales. The announcement, made in Washington following the IMF/World Bank annual meeting, is ironically christened the “Washington Agreement” although the government in Washington played no role. However, the BIS, IMF, U.S. and Japan are all expected to abide by it, and the BIS is expected to monitor it.
…the agreement was hammered out secretly among the members of the EMU, the BIS and Switzerland, that the British were given a chance to sign on after the fact, and that the U.S. was not informed until just before the Sunday announcement. For references to European press commentary on the genesis of the agreement, see W. Smith, “Operation Dollar Storm,” www.gold-eagle.com/editorials_99/wsmith111099.html.
The notion,shared by many,that the EMU would forever acquiesce in the trashing of its gold reserves by bullion banks operating in the largely paper gold markets of London, New York and Tokyo appears in retrospect to have been incredibly naive.… With the euro successfully launched, they quickly lost reason to continue capping the gold price…
… Currently the European central banks through the BIS and within the limits of the Washington Agreement are engaged in a tightly controlled feed of modest amounts of gold into the market. …
Verifying timing through gold lease rate data
The gold lease rate data going back to 1990 can be found by visiting the LBMA’s website (LBMA = The London Bullion Market Association), as seen below.
By graphing this data, we see the gold leasing really took off in the 1990s. However, after the 1999 Washington agreement, the flow of leased gold started to die off until it ended completely in the 2001/2002 period.
(Remember: The gold lease rate is an indicator of how much central bank gold is being leased out. The higher the lease rate, the more leased gold is being sold.)
SUMMARY OF THE NAKED SHORT SELLING CONSPIRACY
Deedcapture explains that miscreants are selling billions of dollars of stock that simply does not exist (phantom stock).
The Story of Deep Capture
You can download a printable version of The Story of Deep Capture here.
By Mark Mitchell, with reporting by the Deep Capture Team
Introduction - by Mark Mitchell
August 12, 2005…the proudest day of Patrick Byrne’s life. … Patrick is on a conference call with 500 blue chip investors and a few journalists. He tells his telephone audience that he’s been talking to this fellow named Bob …, and … he’s laid out this scheme, he’s made some predictions… so everybody please download Patrick’s computer generated slide show and follow along from home.
The first slide reads, “The Miscreants’ Ball.” Patrick says the miscreants are selling billions of dollars of stock that simply does not exist– phantom stock. They have destroyed hundreds of public companies for profit. Some journalists,meanwhile, are “crooked.” They’re “lickspittles.” They are famous journalists and they cover up the miscreants’ crimes. They attack all who oppose them. …
And that’s not all, follow along please with the slides — they show how the miscreants and the journalists have ties to government agencies and private investigators, maybe the Mafia, and also an arms dealer, an undercover mole, a corrupt law firm, and Eliot Spitzer. …
The crimes are the work of Wall Street hedge fund managers and brokers who engage in a common trading strategy known as short-selling. A short sale is a way of making money when the price of a stock goes down. You borrow shares from someone else and immediately sell them off. If the price drops, you buy the shares back and return them to the original owner, pocketing the difference. If a company goes out of business, short-sellers hit the jackpot.
This is perfectly legal and unobjectionable. But some short-sellers do not play by the rules. A small group of powerful hedge fund managers stop at nothing to annihilate the companies they sell short. Their tactics include: blackmail, smear campaigns, espionage, fraud, harassment, extortion, bribery, rumor-mongering, sabotage, off-shore money laundering, political cronyism, frivolous lawsuits, witness tampering, biased financial research, false identities, bogus credit ratings, bribery, libelous blogs, bad science, forgery, wiretapping, counterfeiting, collusion, lying, cheating, threats and theft.
Their most egregious trick is to sell “phantom stock.” By exploiting a glitch in Wall Street’s computerized trading system, and a loophole in federal regulations, some hedge funds sell virtually unlimited amounts of stock that they have not yet borrowed or purchased. This is often referred to as “NAKED SHORT SELLING.” Hedge funds use this tactic to flood the market with supply and drive down prices – which is blatantly illegal.
Patrick has written a blog explaining how this works in laymen’s terms. An economist has written a detailed history of “FAILURES TO DELIVER” (i.e. stock sold and not delivered, because it is phantom stock) for Regulation magazine, published by the Cato Institute. A former SEC Chairman has spoken extensively against the problem. Many other researchers, several professors, a former SEC economist, and a former deputy secretary of commerce have also written papers on the subject. If you are interested in the mechanics of the crime, read some of those papers here, here, here, here, here, and here.
In addition to the 300-plus companies on the SEC’s list, as many as 1,000 companies have already been wiped off the map by illegal short-selling,according to some experts.
Understanding the mechanics of stock “failures-to-deliver” (naked short selling)
Deedcapture describes the process through which naked short selling is used to destroy US companies.
It was in October 2004, and the Easter Bunny [Patrick Byrne's anonymous Wall Street informant] … made some predictions. He said that Gradient would continue to publish outrageous information at Rocker’s behest. He said the same information that had ended up in The Wall Street Journal, would soon get into the hands of specific reporters at Fortune, Forbes, MarketWatch.com, Barron’s magazine, and TheStreet.com – all of whom would call in the coming weeks. And he said that Overstock would soon become the target of a nonsensical federal investigation.
The Easter Bunny also laid out THE MECHANICS OF SOMETHING CALLED “NAKED SHORT SELLING.”He predicted that OVERSTOCK WOULD SUDDENLY BE LISTED, WITHOUT ITS AUTHORIZATION, ON A BUNCH OF FOREIGN STOCK EXCHANGES—making it easier for hedge funds to sell phantom stock. And he predicted that Overstock would appear on the SEC’s Reg SHO list of victim companies, scheduled to appear for the first time in January, 2005.
Over the next two weeks, Patrick received calls from precisely the predicted journalists at Forbes magazine, Barron’s, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, and Fortune magazine – all of them reading the same list of questions supplied to them by Gradient.…
Within a few weeks, the Federal Trade Commission in San Francisco began a bizarre investigation into Overstock that went nowhere. Within a couple of months, OVERSTOCK HAD MYSTERIOUSLY APPEARED ON EXCHANGES IN STUTTGART, MUNICH, FRANKFURT, BERLIN, AND AUSTRALIA. And come January, the company was indeed on the SEC’s victim list (along with three other companies that Rocker had just hammered in a column for Barron’s magazine).
“The power of any theory is its ability to make predictions,” Patrick later says in his “Miscreants’ Ball” presentation. “It doesn’t matter how wacky a theory sounds, if it makes predictions that are confirmed, you’ve got to pay attention to it.”
There are two important points to note here about the naked short selling crimes outlined above:
1) The targets of naked short sellers get listed on foreign exchanges
Before companies are attacked by naked short selling, they are listed on foreign exchanges without their knowledge. This 2005 Euromoney article offers confirmation of this process.
Naked shorting: Stung by the German connection
by Peter Koh
Thousands of US stocks are being traded on a little-known Berlin exchange, without the knowledge of many of the companies involved.…
A YEAR AGO Ted Noble, chief financial officer at Advanced ID Corporation, a Calgary-based microchip-tracking company, received some surprising news.
“We were congratulated by a third party who saw that our shares were trading on the Berlin Stock Exchange,” he recalls. “That came as news to us because WE’D NOT DONE ANYTHING TO GET LISTED IN GERMANY. I talked to a few people and we couldn’t figure out whether it was good or bad.”
Noble soon found out when his company’s shares started behaving oddly on the US OTC bulletin board. “April 29  was a slow day, and only about 10,000 of our shares had traded. Then 370,000 shares traded in the last 20 minutes before the close. It knocked our stock price down from 58 cents to 41 cents, before closing nearly 20% down at 48 cents.That was very unusual for our stock. I’d never seen anything…
2) The money from selling “phantom shares” doesn’t go to the naked short sellers
When stock IOUs are sold by naked short sellers, the money paid by the buyer goes into collateral (US treasuries) to backup the stock IOUs. This letter to the SEC confirms that “phantom shares” are collateralized.
Ms. Florence Harmon Acting Secretary Securities and Exchange Commission 100 F. Street, NE Washington, DC 20549-9303 Re: Release No. 34-58773; File No. 87-30-08 Amendment to Regulation SHO Interim Final Temporary Rule
The foundation for the DTCC-administered clearance and settlement system in use in the U.S. has been illegally converted to one based upon mere “collateralization versus payment” or “CVP” wherein the seller of securities is only asked to collateralize the monetary amount of the failed delivery obligation on a daily marked to market basis. This policy invites abusive naked short selling activity in that the failures to deliver shares results in the procreation of what are referred to as “securities entitlements” that are allowed to be readily sellable as if they were legitimate “shares” of a corporation due to the wording unfortunately incorporated into the text of UCC Article 8-501.
So when “phantom shares” of US companies are sold “on exchanges in Stuttgart, Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin, and Australia”, the money collected from buyers is transferred to the US and put into treasury securities. The more “phantom shares” are sold abroad, the more demand is created for dollars and US treasuries.
Time Frame of the naked short selling fraud
Naked short selling wasn’t a major problem during the 1990s. It was only more recently that companies started getting wiped out of existence by “phantom shares”. To see exactly when, we need to look at the data.
While the DDTC only started releasing failures-to-deliver (naked short selling) data for stocks after 2006, it is possible to get an idea when naked short selling started to be a problem by looking at the failures-to-deliver data for treasury securities, agency debt, and MBS. This data is readily available on the Fed’s website going back to 1990, as seen below.
By graphing this data, we see that naked short selling problem started in the 2001/2002 period.
Comparing the gold lease rate and failure-to-deliver data
If we combine the gold lease rate and failure-to-deliver data into one graph, we get a pretty interesting result, as seen below.
The graph above shows how naked short selling sprung up after the 1999 Washington agreement and became epidemic as gold leasing died out. The odds of this being a coincidence are astronomically low. Essential, the gold leasing fraud was replaced by the naked short selling fraud.
Motive behind gold manipulation and naked short selling
To find the connection between gold leasing and naked short selling, all you need to do is “follow the money”.
Gold leasing: Investors around the world pay billions in foreign currencies to buy the thousands of tons of gold being leased out. These foreign currencies are than converted into dollars (helping keep the US currency strong) and used to buy US treasuries (helping the US treasury finance the federal deficit) to serves as collateral for the loaned gold.
Naked short selling: Investors around the world pay billions in foreign currencies to buy the millions of phantom stock in midsize companies listed on foreign exchanges. These foreign currencies are then converted into dollars (helping keep the US currency strong) and used to buy US treasuries (helping the US treasury finance the federal deficit) to serves as collateral for the phantom stock.
The naked short selling fraud, which began after the 1999 Washington Agreement, was meant to replace the enormous flow of money into the dollar and US treasury market that was about to be lost due to the end of gold leasing.
The party responsible for both frauds
Since gold leasing and naked short selling both support the dollar and the US treasury market, the obvious party responsible is the Treasury’s Department’s Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) which is officially in charge of defending the dollar. The ESF role in gold manipulation has long been recognized by GATA and others, as explained by the Golden Sextant.
February 1, 2000. Two Bills: Scandal and Opportunity in Gold?
Evidence is accumulating that … the Clinton administration has effectively capped the gold price by using the ESF to backstop the selling of gold futures and other gold derivative products by politically well-connected bullion banks. …
The odd behavior of the gold price over the past five years, including massive gold leasing and heavy bouts of futures selling apparently timed to abort threatened rallies, has generated considerable speculation regarding intentional manipulation by governmental authorities. …
The Fed and the ESF are the only arms of the U.S. government with broad statutory authority “to deal in gold” and thus by reasonable extension in gold futures and derivatives. Were the Fed to engage in such activities, it would of necessity have to do so subject to all the institutional safeguards that govern its more important functions. Unlike the Fed, the ESF is virtually without institutional structure or safeguards. It is under the exclusive control of the Secretary of the Treasury, subject only to the approval of the President. Indeed, direct control and custody of the ESF must rest at all times with the President and the Secretary. The statute further provides (31 U.S.C. s. 5302(a)(2)): “Decisions of the Secretary are final and may not be reviewed by another officer or employee of the Government.”
Originally funded out of the profits from the 1934 gold confiscation, the little known ESF is available for intervention in the foreign exchange markets. …
… the allegation that knowledgeable gold market participants and observers are making … is that the ESF– by writing gold call options or otherwise – is making sufficient gold cover available to certain bullion banks to allow them safely to take large short positions in gold, thereby putting downward pressure on the price and in the process making huge profits for themselves.
While the ESF’s role in gold manipulation is recognized, its role in naked short selling, on the other hand, is not.
Patrick Byrne and Deep Capture unfortunately seem to believe that naked short selling is a wall street crime motivated by greed. That isn’t right. It isn’t the government regulators (SEC, etc…) that have been “deep captured” by Wall Street Interest. It is Wall Street (DTCC, primary dealers, hedge funds, etc) that has been corrupted by the treasury department (specifically the ESF).
Conclusion: It is all ONE conspiracy
The gold manipulation conspiracy alledged by GATA and the naked short selling conspiracy alledged by Deepcapture are one and the same, and the Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF) is the force behind gold leasing and “phantom stocks”.
(for the more about the Treasury’s ESF, see my entry *****What I have been afraid to blog about: THE ESF AND ITS HISTORY*****)