This book is about the most precious "piece of paper" we know, about banknotes. Modern life would be unthinkable without them. Yet, the general public is kept very much in the dark about how they are made or who makes them. It is rarely known, for example, that despite America´s technical prowess all dollar bills are printed exclusively on German high-security printing presses using secret Swiss special inks, or that the phony 100 dollar bills, the so-called "supernotes" may well be printed in a top-secret printing works located just north of the White House and run by the CIA -- although the US government is blaming the rogue government of North Korea for counterfeiting these bills. This book is finally lifting the veil on an industry used to absolute secrecy. It recounts the stories of a British banknote printer who, fearing the loss of his customer, informed the Egyptian secret service that the securities printing machinery the Egyptians were about to buy was of "Jewish origin"; of a private printer who convinced the Polish central bank that it should destroy a complete series of new, perfect banknotes which had been printed by a competitor; or of an Argentinian high-security printer who came to print "genuine fake" banknotes for Zaire and Bahrain as a result of two sting operations, which smell of the Belgian and French secret service.
Moneymakers, by offering a detailed view of the banknote industry and its modus operandi, removes the industry's carefully imposed shroud of secrecy. This book has been researched over a five-year period in Europe, the USA, and Latin America. The book is based exclusively on personal interviews and confidential material normally not accessible to outsiders. There were attempts to stop this research project.
"Klaus W. Bender has peered behind the scenes of the secret and exclusive world of the 'moneymakers'." Financial Times Deutschland, 2004
"The errors and pitfalls at the birth of the euro make Bender's research so unnerving." Süddeutsche Zeitung, 2004
"Bender does not mince his words when he describes abuses - and there are lots of them." Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 2004
Table of contents
1 From "obelos" to "e-cash"
2 Why the market for banknote printing is special
3 How Signor Giori was able to carve out a worldwide monopoly with his printing presses
4 Why Monsieur Amon had the same success with printing ink
5 What caused De La Rue's imperial aura to fade
6 How Giesecke & Devrient struggles for technological leadership
7 Where hard work and politics helped Francois Charles Oberthur Fiduciaire
8 What brought Bundesdruckerei to the brink of ruin
9 How Ciccone Calcográfica wasted its fiduciary capital
10 Why the euro became a bonanza for moneymakers
11 Why there is a problem with the euro's security
12 Quo vadis euro printing?