Monday, January 23, 2006

Iran's Billions - Whither goeth those beauts?

Because of Iran's refusal to curtail its nuclear program, an activity very much opposed by the West, the Iranian Supreme National Security Council realises that a Western-led sanction may be imminent. Iran is also aware that parallel with sanction, its assets in the West, especially the USA, will be frozen. It had suffered such a US freeze of its monies in 1979 after diplomatic relationship between the two nations collapsed.

So this time Iran intends to avoid that. The Supreme Council has ordered its assets moved to Asia.

As the 4th biggest oil exporter in the world and the second largest in OPEC, and oil prices being at its best for years, it’s cash rich, and bankers throughout the world are drooling. In a period of just 3 months, it has been forecast that Iran will have earned more than US$40 billion in oil revenues. The current astronomical oil price rise has been due to a number of uncertainties, namely the violence in Nigeria and associated industrial actions, al Qaeda ominous threat against the USA, and Iran's own reduction of oil production.

Iran’s trade and financing arm of the National Iranian Oil Company, is based in Switzerland. How terrifying it must be for Swiss bankers to hear and, worse, visualize all the Iranian cash deposited there being shipped to Asia. It's not always one sees Swiss bankers displaying any emotion, but if Iran does move her assets to Asia, mein Gott, those bankers will be paraphrasing Matthew 13:49-50

So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked Swiss from among the just Iranian money, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I bet there will certainly be much 'wailing and gnashing of teeth' in Zurich should the transfer of Iran's assets occur. So a leading Swiss financial industry representative has quickly assured Iran that Swiss banks would welcome asset transfers by Iran. He said:

"If you're talking in terms of a safe haven proposal, that's where Switzerland is very strong, stronger than Singapore or other places. We are a country that is non-judgmental. Because of its non-discriminatory practices, Switzerland has always been an attractive place and would remain an attractive proposal for Iranian authorities looking to shift some of their assets or to diversify the geographical distribution of some of their assets."

my bold-ing & underlining

Indeed Swiss bankers don’t give a damn who they do business with, as we have been aware, including Nazis during WWII. Switzerland is the most favourite spot for depositing offshore wealth, because Swiss political neutrality and legal guarantees of its banking privacy are virtual assurances of no political interference and no political filching by the global village bully, as had happened to Iraq's offshore assets.

But why do those Swiss bankers imagine it’ll be our neighbour, Singapore who'll be the likely receipient of Iran's wealth shifted to Asia? Iran knows as we do that the Island nation is such a staunch ally of the USA that it will in all probability freeze Iran’s assets on the instructions of the Americans. Another of Asia's financial centres is Japan, also a very staunch US ally, which should void its suitability as a candidate. The other Asian financial centres are of course Hong Kong and our very own Labuan.

But will the Iranians trust us? Afterall, our banks don’t have an unblemished record. Our Islamic Bank has just lost 700 million, and then there were naughty Bank Bumiputra, Bank Rakyat, and even a Central Bank that was reputed to fiddle, unsuccessfully, with money speculation.

I could of course help by providing Iran Supreme National Security Council with my bank account number. I would rather that, mind you just as a samaritan to Iran's predicament, than give it to those several dozens Nigerian bankers who all insist on making me an instant millionaire because their father (same one?), the late President, left so many millions which they themselves couldn't get it out of Nigeria, but only honest KTemoc could ;-)


  1. Interesting thoughts

  2. And since your bank is far too small to handle all that cash, I could help you out. Just 0.01% in my account would do nicely, thank you.