Being one of the largest transfers of cash in the history of the world, you would think the New York Federal Reserve would know exactly where the money was going. But in this instance, the cash was mishandled and to this day still, haunts market observers as one of the biggest financial mysteries of all time.
Originally, the money was packed and trucked to Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington from the New York Federal Reserve’s compound in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The currency was then flown by a military aircraft to Baghdad’s International Airport with the intent to pay for the reopening of the government and the restoration of basic services.
In total, the New York Fed shipped about 40 billion in cash between 2003 and 2008. But, the recipient of this vast sum is where the story gets fuzzy which still haunts many concerned observers.
There have been:
• Congressional hearings
• Hundreds of pages of reports
• Plenty of inquiries from Washington to Baghdad
Nobody including the Iraqi government itself can say with confidence what exactly happened to all of the New York Fed’s money.
However, CNBC made a significant breakthrough in 2011 when they discovered that every flight to Baghdad carrying the cash was met at the airport in Iraq by the same man.
The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) official was assigned to pick up the cash as it was offloaded from the C-17s and arrange for the money to be delivered to the Central Bank of Iraq.
The CPA official’s name was Basel, an American citizen who was born in Saudi Arabia. Basel transported Cash in Baghdad for the CPA and the American embassy from 2003 until 2008 – totaling, he said, around 40 billion in cash making him the last American to see the money before it vanished into the vaults at Iraq’s Central Bank.
Now you might be asking, why in the hell would the US government puts so much responsibility into the hands of just one man. Which is a great question.
It seems this mystery will REMAIN a mystery…