Italian police seize $6 trillion of fake U.S. bonds

Italian police said on Friday they had seized about $6 trillion worth of fake U.S. Treasury bonds and other securities in Switzerland, and arrested eight Italians accused of international fraud and other financial crimes.

The operation, co-ordinated by prosecutors from the southern Italian city of Potenza, was carried out by Italian, Swiss and U.S. authorities after a year-long investigation, an Italian police source said.

It began as a investigation into mafia loan-sharking, but gradually expanded as prosecutors used telephone and computer intercepts to unearth evidence of illegal activity surrounding Treasury bonds.

The fake securities, worth more than a third of U.S. national debt, were seized in January from a Swiss trust company where they were held in three large trunks.