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Foundation X

Normally when a debate has already been going on for the best part of six hours, the speakers near the bottom of the list are often moved to say something along the lines of “My Lords, everything that could possibly be said on this topic has already been said”—and then usually bang on anyway, amply demonstrating the truth of their assertion. It’s safe to say, though, that when Tory life peer Lord James stood up at 10:42 on Monday night, his contribution was not remotely to resemble anyone else’s. We join the noble Lord several minutes into his speech, after he has outlined some of the financial problems facing the country.

Lord James of Blackheath: At this point, I am going to have to make a very big apology to my noble friend Lord Sassoon [Treasury Minister], because I am about to raise a subject that I should not raise and which is going to be one which I think is now time to put on a higher awareness, and to explain to the House as a whole, as I do not think your Lordships have any knowledge of it. I am sorry that my noble friend Lord Strathclyde [Leader of the House] is not with us at the moment, because this deeply concerns him also.

For the past 20 weeks I have been engaged in a very strange dialogue with the two noble Lords, in the course of which I have been trying to bring to their attention the willing availability of a strange organisation which wishes to make a great deal of money available to assist the recovery of the economy in this country. For want of a better name, I shall call it foundation X. That is not its real name, but it will do for the moment. Foundation X was introduced to me 20 weeks ago last week by an eminent City firm, which is FSA controlled. Its chairman came to me and said, “We have this extraordinary request to assist in a major financial reconstruction. It is megabucks, but we need your help to assist us in understanding whether this business is legitimate”. I had the biggest put-down of my life from my noble friend Lord Strathclyde when I told him this story. He said, “Why you? You’re not important enough to have the answer to a question like that”. He is quite right, I am not important enough, but the answer to the next question was, “You haven’t got the experience for it”. Yes I do. I have had one of the biggest experiences in the laundering of terrorist money and funny money that anyone has had in the City. I have handled billions of pounds of terrorist money.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham [Labour]: Where did it go to?

Lord James of Blackheath: Not into my pocket. My biggest terrorist client was the IRA and I am pleased to say that I managed to write off more than £1 billion of its money. I have also had extensive connections with north African terrorists, but that was of a far nastier nature, and I do not want to talk about that because it is still a security issue. I hasten to add that it is no good getting the police in, because I shall immediately call the Bank of England as my defence witness, given that it put me in to deal with these problems.

The point is that when I was in the course of doing this strange activity, I had an interesting set of phone numbers and references that I could go to for help when I needed it. So people in the City have known that if they want to check out anything that looks at all odd, they can come to me and I can press a few phone numbers to obtain a reference. The City firm came to me and asked whether I could get a reference and a clearance on foundation X. For 20 weeks, I have been endeavouring to do that. I have come to the absolute conclusion that foundation X is completely genuine and sincere and that it directly wishes to make the United Kingdom one of the principal points that it will use to disseminate its extraordinarily great wealth into the world at this present moment, as part of an attempt to seek the recovery of the global economy.

I made the phone call to my noble friend Lord Strathclyde on a Sunday afternoon—I think he was sitting on his lawn, poor man—and he did the quickest ball pass that I have ever witnessed. If England can do anything like it at Twickenham on Saturday, we will have a chance against the All Blacks. The next think I knew, I had my noble friend Lord Sassoon on the phone. From the outset, he took the proper defensive attitude of total scepticism, and said, “This cannot possibly be right”. During the following weeks, my noble friend said, “Go and talk to the Bank of England”. So I phoned the governor and asked whether he could check this out for me. After about three days, he came back and said, “You can get lost. I’m not touching this with a bargepole; it is far too difficult. Take it back to the Treasury”. So I did. Within another day, my noble friend Lord Sassoon had come back and said, “This is rubbish. It can't possibly be right”. I said, “I am going to work more on it”. Then I brought one of the senior executives from foundation X to meet my noble friend Lord Strathclyde. I have to say that, as first dates go, it was not a great success. Neither of them ended up by inviting the other out for a coffee or drink at the end of the evening, and they did not exchange telephone numbers in order to follow up the meeting.

I found myself between a rock and a hard place that were totally paranoid about each other, because the foundation X people have an amazing obsession with their own security. They expect to be contacted only by someone equal to head of state status or someone with an international security rating equal to the top six people in the world. This is a strange situation. My noble friends Lord Sassoon and Lord Strathclyde both came up with what should have been an absolute killer argument as to why this could not be true and that we should forget it. My noble friend Lord Sassoon’s argument was that these people claimed to have evidence that last year they had lodged £5 billion with British banks. They gave transfer dates and the details of these transfers. As my noble friend Lord Sassoon, said, if that were true it would stick out like a sore thumb. You could not have £5 billion popping out of a bank account without it disrupting the balance sheet completely. But I remember that at about the same time as those transfers were being made the noble Lord, Lord Myners [former Labour Treasury Minister], was indulging in his game of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic of the British banking community. If he had three banks at that time, which had had, say, a deficiency of £1.5 million each, then you would pretty well have absorbed the entire £5 billion, and you would not have had the sore thumb stick out at that time; you would have taken £1.5 billion into each of three banks and you would have absorbed the lot. That would be a logical explanation—I do not know.

My noble friend Lord Strathclyde came up with a very different argument. He said that this cannot be right because these people said at the meeting with him that they were still effectively on the gold standard from back in the 1920s and that their entire currency holdings throughout the world, which were very large, were backed by bullion. My noble friend Lord Strathclyde came back and said to me that he had an analyst working on it and that this had to be stuff and nonsense. He said that they had come up with a figure for the amount of bullion that would be needed to cover their currency reserves, as claimed, which would be more than the entire value of bullion that had ever been mined in the history of the world. I am sorry but my noble friend Lord Strathclyde is wrong; his analysts are wrong. He had tapped into the sources that are available and there is only one definitive source for the amount of bullion that has ever been taken from the earth’s crust. That was a National Geographic magazine article 12 years ago. Whatever figure it was that was quoted was then quoted again on six other sites on the internet—on Google. Everyone is quoting one original source; there is no other confirming authority. But if you tap into the Vatican accounts—of the Vatican bank—you come up with a claim of total bullion—

Lord De Mauley [Government Whip]: The noble Lord is into his fifteenth minute. I wonder whether he can draw his remarks to a conclusion.

Lord James of Blackheath: The total value of the Vatican bank reserves would claim to be more than the entire value of gold ever mined in the history of the world. My point on all of this is that we have not proven any of this. Foundation X is saying at this moment that it is prepared to put up the entire £5 billion for the funding of [investment in industry]; the British Government can have the entire independent management and control of it—foundation X does not want anything to do with it; there will be no interest charged; and, by the way, if the British Government would like it as well, if it will help, the foundation will be prepared to put up money for funding hospitals, schools, the building of Crossrail immediately with £17 billion transfer by Christmas, if requested, and all these other things. These things can be done, if wished, but a senior member of the Government has to accept the invitation to a phone call to the chairman of foundation X—and then we can get into business. This is too big an issue. I am just an ageing, obsessive old Peer and I am easily dispensable, but getting to the truth is not. We need to know what really is happening here. We must find out the truth of this situation. [Hansard]

EDIT: The answer appears to be in: it's the world's most ambitious 419 scam.

In late 2005 Germania Ullauri, the mayoress of the Ecuadorian municipality of Oña, travelled to Cambodia to meet representatives of the OITC to discuss an investment proposal... The OITC proposed to invest US$150 million in a hydro-electric project in the region, subject to Ullauri placing $20,000 in a bank account in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as a deposit. She paid in the money as requested in December 2005 but several months later there was no sign of the promised millions from the OITC.

In particular, I invite you to contemplate what Alex Salmond must have said to them:

Mr Alex Salmond’s response was one that can only be described as impertinent, rude, derogatory, arrogant, ignorant of Sovereign Entity protocols, lacking in consciousness, void of any professional or diplomatic attributes, very careless in the composure of the content, nonsensical, and certainly one that no one person would expect to receive from a First Minister of a Parliamentary Assembly.


( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 3rd, 2010 10:07 am (UTC)
Nov. 3rd, 2010 10:21 am (UTC)
Wh... wha... wha...!
Nov. 3rd, 2010 10:24 am (UTC)
Those Nigerian scammers have taken it up a level, haven't they?

"Dear Government of the UK, we have £5billion which we wish to give you."
Nov. 3rd, 2010 10:50 am (UTC)
What the fuck?

Well, it might explain why the people on the Rich List continue making more money than they might conceivably need, ever, unless they were evil criminal masterminds.
Nov. 3rd, 2010 11:05 am (UTC)
The Noble Lord's strong physical similarity to Carl Reiner makes it hard for me to take his point seriously.
Nov. 3rd, 2010 11:08 am (UTC)
My initial response was "bull!"

My second response was: "That bullion isn't mined yet. The phone call came from under ground. Quite a long way under ground."
Nov. 3rd, 2010 12:46 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome, Charlie Stross.
Nov. 3rd, 2010 02:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm happy to update the page to credit you if you're happy to be credited (in public). ((I have the impression that you want your LJ to remain deniable for professional reasons, hence the lack of a by-line. Please correct me if I'm wrong.))

Be glad you don't have my server load right now (153 running instances of Apache and climbing) ...

Edited at 2010-11-03 03:19 pm (UTC)
Nov. 3rd, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC)
ha, having been sent to your page from twitter, my immediate thought was "hmmm, i wonder if webofevil has written this up yet"!
Nov. 3rd, 2010 04:00 pm (UTC)
No, I'm happy with the nod as it is! I appreciate your erring on the side of caution.
Nov. 3rd, 2010 11:42 pm (UTC)
I came straight here as soon as I read "LJ redacted":-)

Is £5bn really than much? Less than Vodafone's missing tax pot, after all. Maybe Foundation X is the GSM Association?
Nov. 4th, 2010 12:24 am (UTC)
Remember, though, the £5 billion is just a sweetener. There's billions more for free if we choose to avail ourselves. The whole of Crossrail? All the hospitals we can eat? They're ours for the choosing! All we need to do is deposit a small fee to cover administrative costs...
Nov. 3rd, 2010 01:45 pm (UTC)
This is brilliant.

The first time I ever met a Lord he was introduced by his first name and shook everyone by the hand. When he got up to give a speech introducing the cause we were gathered to support, he gave his Lordly title and then started with "I have spent some 17 years of my life behind bars for shooting a man in the face with a sawn-off shotgun".

Edited at 2010-11-03 01:46 pm (UTC)
Nov. 3rd, 2010 01:55 pm (UTC)
That sounds about right. Witness the fact that if a character in a film were announcing the existence of Foundation X to Parliament, their speech would be framed in terms that were suitably stern and portentous, while Lord James chooses instead to kick off with a rather laboured joke about Brigadoon.
Nov. 3rd, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
Five billion? Less than one per cent of total public expenditure? If the Illuminati want to buy Britain they'll have to do better than that! :-)
Nov. 4th, 2010 11:42 am (UTC)
Five billion? Maybe Vodafone are just feeling guilty?
Nov. 3rd, 2010 03:19 pm (UTC)
He's recently had a stroke. I am wondering if this has left him with some kind of brain damage. It's an amazing story though, so thanks for posting it.
Nov. 4th, 2010 12:15 pm (UTC)
5 million dollers.
Nov. 4th, 2010 02:43 pm (UTC)
God, even the Japanese spammers are trying to get in on this action.
Nov. 4th, 2010 11:40 am (UTC)
That OITC PDF couldn't have shouted "Copywritten in Lagos" any louder if it had been set in Comic Sans
Nov. 4th, 2010 12:41 pm (UTC)
Whois is an anonymous office block in downtown Washington DC, BTW
Nov. 4th, 2010 01:34 pm (UTC)
If Scotland is a Sovereign Entity, I'm Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Nov. 19th, 2010 03:27 am (UTC)
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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