Adam LeBor (Author)
Hardcover: 360 pages
Publisher: PublicAffairs; First Edition edition (May 28, 2013)
Tower of Basel, a investigative history of the Bank for International Settlements, the world's most secretive and influential financial institution, is published in the US and Britain
Tower of Basel is the first investigative history of the world’s most secretive global financial institution. Based on extensive archival research in Switzerland, Britain, and the United States, and in-depth interviews with key decision-makers—including Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve; Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England; and former senior Bank for International Settlements managers and officials—Tower of Basel tells the inside story of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS): the central bankers’ own bank.
Created by the governors of the Bank of England and the Reichsbank in 1930, and protected by an international treaty, the BIS and its assets are legally beyond the reach of any government or jurisdiction. The bank is untouchable. Swiss authorities have no jurisdiction over the bank or its premises. The BIS has just 140 customers but made tax-free profits of $1.17 billion in 2011–2012.
Since its creation, the bank has been at the heart of global events but has often gone unnoticed. Under Thomas McKittrick, the bank’s American president from 1940–1946, the BIS was open for business throughout the Second World War. The BIS accepted looted Nazi gold, conducted foreign exchange deals for the Reichsbank, and was used by both the Allies and the Axis powers as a secret contact point to keep the channels of international finance open.
After 1945 the BIS—still behind the scenes—for decades provided the necessary technical and administrative support for the trans-European currency project, from the first attempts to harmonize exchange rates in the late 1940s to the launch of the Euro in 2002. It now stands at the center of efforts to build a new global financial and regulatory architecture, once again proving that it has the power to shape the financial rules of our world. Yet despite its pivotal role in the financial and political history of the last century and during the economic current crisis, the BIS has remained largely unknown—until now.
Not only is this Secret Bank exempt from the taxes and oversight of any nation in the world, but also has been that way since it was founded in 1930. This is the inside story of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) which is based in Basel Switzerland but does not answer to Swiss authorities or anyone else. It is the world's Central Bankers own bank.
Learning about this super secret Super Bank will add much credence to the conspiracy theory of the bankers trying to create a New World Order. It's like a shadow world government that is so powerful and useful that no nation in the world is willing to try and control or shine the spot light into its dark recesses.
The world's most exclusive and powerful club has only eighteen members most of whom are men. The power and influence they exercise is almost unbelievable. It is said the Nazi's didn't invade Switzerland because they didn't want to cut off their access to this institution, which is where they shipped much of the wealth they striped from the nations they invaded.
The book contains an introduction and sixteen information packed chapters contained in three major sections. Those chapters are titled "The Bankers Know Best, A Cozy Club in Basel, Hitler's American Banker, An Arrangement with the Enemy, The German Phoenix Arises, The Rise of the Desk-Murders, The Tower Arises, The Second Tower, The All-Seeing Eye, (despite the familiar sounding names this is not "Lord of the Rings") and the Citadel Cracks."
"The Tower of Basel reaches only eighteen stories above the city skyline, but the fate of the biblical tower-builders should give the bankers pause. For When God saw their work, he confounded their speech and introduced a multitude of tongues. The builders could no longer understand one another. The construction work stopped, they were dispersed and their town vanished into history."
The bank is fighting for its survival by trying to evolve into a socially responsible institution. "Secrecy, opacity, and unaccountability--like gold--are embedded in the bank' DNA. The bank may find it can't continue as it has since its birth.
This in a wonderful investigative report on one of the most secret and powerful institutions in world history. A reader doesn't have to like economics or banking to be mesmerized by this highly readable expose.