David James, Baron James of Blackheath, made a peculiar speech to the House of Lords at 10:42pm this Monday.
For the last 20 weeks, he has been in liaison with Lord Sassoon, Lord Strathclyde, and a shadowy organisation he refers to only as ‘Foundation X’. Foundation X, it transpires, has big plans for what an anonymous City bank chairman calls “a major financial reconstruction”.
Lord James of Blackheath is the banker’s first port of call on account of his considerable experience in dealing with dubious finance. “I have had one of the biggest experiences in the laundering of terrorist money and funny money that anyone has had in the City,” he said to the House. “I have handled billions of pounds of terrorist money.”
Lord James has come to the conclusion that the organisation is genuine and wants 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.”
Anybody with a Hotmail account will recognise this sort of patter. The correspondence has not been via a Nigerian e-mail account, however – the shady Foundation X don’t want to speak to anyone other than a head of state. They need to have security clearance equal to that of the top six individuals on the planet, leaving Lord James, as he said, “between a rock and a hard place that were totally paranoid about each other.”
Foundation X wants to absorb Britain’s banks’ considerable woes with a cash injection of around £5bn, along with a £17bn transfer before Christmas if the Government fancies any help with schools, hospitals, or the Crossrail project. All they need is a phone call from somebody with sufficient superiority.
Foundation X’s large fortune is based on an amount of gold previously thought unfeasible – “more than the entire value of bullion that had ever been mined in the history of the world.” Lord James quietly dismissed the previously established figure as obsolete and told the House that the Vatican’s own gold reserves were greater than National Geographic’s out-of-date (and oft quoted) estimate.
Speculation will probably begin as to the identity of the mysterious Foundation X. Lord James has categorically denied that it is the Office of International Treasury Control (a secretive self-proclaimed “sovereign entity” that tried to buy MG Rover in 2005 under similar conditions, as well as Ecuador and then Fiji) as Hopi Sen suggests on his blog. Lord James presents whoever it is as a benevolent organisation genuinely offering Britain an interest-free cash injection that the government would have complete control over. “I’m convinced it’s bona fide,” he told ZDnet UK. “I’ve been working on this case for five months, and I’ve not found a single reason [to think otherwise].” The treasury are reluctant and are about to miss a fantastic opportunity, according to Lord James. “The problem is, the government has not carried through the checks that I want them to do and open up lines of enquiry.”
The deal looks sweet to the untrained eye, and even as a scam the proposal has soared to the highest echelons of government. Robert Colvile, comment editor at the Telegraph, seems to think the whole thing is an elaborate ruse. Have a look at Hansard here. What remains is for somebody senior to pick up the phone. As Lord James said: “We need to know what really is happening here. We must find out the truth of this situation.”