Italy’s financial police seized U.S. government securities with a nominal value of $1.5 billion from an unidentified man in his 70s, they said in an e-mailed statement.
The police said they also took certificates of deposit for about 1,000 tons of gold, which together with the U.S. bonds are worth more than 3 billion euros ($4 billion). The assets were found in a briefcase in the man’s car in Viterbo near Rome because of their “doubtful origin,” according to the statement.
The man has previous convictions for robbery, extortion, drug trafficking and money laundering, according to the police statement.
The probe, dubbed “Million Dollar,” is being carried out in and around the capital in cooperation with officials from the U.S. Embassy. Police said they’re evaluating “the authenticity, the nature and the origin” of the securities, some of which may date from the 1930s.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chiara Remondini in Milan at firstname.lastname@example.org