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It's The UNmoney!

Yesterday, on, George and I broke what must be a world exclusive.  I've never come across something that I couldn't find on any search engine, in Wikipedia or in any other reference.  One of George's readers sent in a link to a TeeVee news story about something similar, but still not this story.

It seems that the UN and/or related bodies, such as World Bank and IMF, hand out 'aid' money in the form of $100 bills with the UN logo stamped on it.  I call them UNbux, for lack of a better term.

A friend of mine called me a couple of weeks back.  He was very excited.  "I've got a deal," he said breathlessly.  He took out his wallet and handed me a US$100 bill.  It looked perfectly normal except that it had the UN logo emblazoned in blue ink on both sides of the portrait of Ol' Ben.

I examined it closely while my friend said, "There's millions, but we need an investment."

"Oh yeah?" I said cautiously.  "How much and for what?"

"Need to buy the chemical to clean the ink off.  Costs $250,000 to clean $5 million.  If we get up the money, we'll get $1 million."

"Sounds to good.  What's the catch?"

"No catch, my man!  Just buy the chemical and we get a million!"

I was naturally skeptical.  I've seen a thousand grifts and been taken by a few.  Anytime a large amount of money sounds too easy, it is.  Nevertheless, I agreed to meet the guy who supposedly had all this cash, and a week later we were sitting around a table.

He was a very large, well-dressed black man with a West African accent.  Immediately my bullshit meter went off the scale, but I was curious about these UNbux.  He pulled out an envelope stuffed full of $100 bills.  I could see them clearly as he leafed through them.  He took out three which had the UN logo, just as I had seen before.

I examined them closely.  The color-changing ink, the micro-type, the various other tests, though I didn't have the quicky marker that turns black on BSbills.  For all intents and purposes, they were quite real.  I looked at the serial numbers.  The series and the first five digits were identical, but the last four were pretty random.

Our host took out a white cardboard box and removed a small glass ampule.  He snapped off the top and poured the clear contents in a bowl, then placed the three notes in and swished them around a bit.  Within 30 seconds, the logo was gone.  A quick rinse and the bills looked like new.  Just needed a little ironing to be pretty as the day they left the factory.

The chemical is virtually odorless.  Just a vague plastic-y smell.  The consistency was not like water.  It has a sort of gel-like character, though it was quite liquid.  I took up one of the cleaned bills.  It was completely clean, and even under blacklight, there was no sign of any markings or residue.

We left about an hour later.  On the way out, I noted that a very long line of ants were streaming down to the trash basket where the glass ampule was.  Apparently, the liquid either wasn't poisonous, or it made ants not care if it was.

The next day, I contacted an associate of mine who's former World Bank and a private financier type.  I told him what I saw and heard.  His response?
Hahaha I know people with mountains of this - I have some myself - the process is correct but very expensive and then when you have the cash you can't do anything easily with it - the people I know lost 5 m USD and so the advice is don't wast time on it

So, it seems that these UNbux are real.  They are used to hand out aid and other nefarious purposes.  They come in sealed boxes with one million face value.  The boxes are registered, the notes inside are logged, and the box comes with a receipt attached.  To use them, the bearer must appear with receipt and passport.  They can only be used with certain entities.  For instance, if you want to buy food with them, then you can only buy from certain manufacturers.  They, in turn, redeem the UNbux in whatever way that is done.

The black market in UNbux is apparently well established.  The cleaning chemical is expensive and must be moved around quiety, though I take it that it's not dangerous.  The UNbux floating around are generally stolen, or certain parties accept them for pennies on the dollar, for their troubles.  The one cache I know of is reported to have come from certain parties in a sothern Mediterranean nation that is not very high on the tourism list just now.

I'm rather intrigued now.  I have to wonder where the issuing authority comes from.  Who hands these things out?  Who are the authorized dealers who can accept them?  How come we don't hear about these things more?

I remember a couple of years back hearing stories about special US notes with strange markings being seen in warehouses.  The story made the rounds of the conspiracy boards and people speculated about second-class currencies for inside and outside the US.  Others pushed the idea of a collapse and re-issue of the dollar.

I can't help but wonder if what was seen wasn't UNbux?  The story, as I remember, talked about boxes full of strangely marked notes.  These certain fill the bill, both in markings and in being boxed.

I invite anyone with any information to send it along.  Drop a line to the adress above and use the subject UNBUX.  I'd love to learn more about these things.  I have no intention of buying into cleaning scams, but I am deeply curious about what amounts to military scrip with a twist.

If I get any juicy information, I'll pass it right along.  If this isn't a clear case of 'money laundering,' I don't know what is!  Pun intended.

First reader response of the day:

I can't help but giggle and grin at the UNbux  stories.  The blue ink emblem is a twist on the ''uang-hitam'' thing (scam, game, circus,..egghunt) I saw '98-'01ish.
Back then it was $100 bills totally covered with a black ink.. and folks were looking for the ''sabun-itu''.  My first view of a bill was when an Austrian spook casually showed me a bill only half-colored; at the time I did not recognize the meaning of that gesture.  Well, I failed his little test. That night happened to be the night before Suharto stepped down--as predicted by the Austrian from a ''signal picture'' on the front page of the Jakarta Post.  The fires, riots, lockdown and curfews were quite exciting.
Two years later I met a Manado kid who told me  about the game.  The next friggin' day, an old Indo acquaintance (Mr. S) asked me, ''...what do you know about black money"? I asked him, ''...after years, why are you asking me now?"  He said, "I saw it in your head (brain?)?"  Turned-out he said he had 2 cases of bills and was looking for the sabun.  That night, Manado kid tells me of an Arab in the Sabang area who can lead us to an African who has the soap. Then the wheels came.
Mr. S forgot the test bills, Manado boy disappeared for a week, a friend died, the police chief's daughter wanted to kick my ass, and I had tickets to Pulau Mata Hari. Fortunately I was not asked for funds...though I was promised 50 grand if the sabun was the real thing.
 And that, as they say, is Life on the Far Side!  So much more intriguing than watching TeeVee, isn't it?

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