And here, but for a number of curious coincidences, my involvement in this story may have also come to an end, too. However, in trying to understand the nature of the black gold market and to discover what was hidden behind the Secret Treaty, I began to uncover a welter of additional information. Forex shipping to manila some time I had been in contact with a BBC journalist about a story wholly unconnected to World War II plunder and black gold. The meeting had occurred in a forest in Austria, for security reasons, I was told.
In any event, Russbacher told the BBC journalist that huge quantities of Nazi gold had been shipped to South America, via Spain, just prior to the close of World War II. The loot had sat in South America for a number of years, but as soon as its existence became known to Israeli intelligence the plunder was immediately transferred to the Philippines and hidden, Russbacher said. Over a year after my interview with Russbacher, I was put in contact with Ken Krohn, who I was told was a business associate of Russbacher’s. I telephoned Krohn in California on 27 February 1998, telling him I was conducting research into black market gold deals. He immediately asked if I had been speaking to Russbacher. At that time, I had not, and I told him so. Krohn then stated that he was a member of “Gunther’s Team” and had acted in the role of “Stateside Anchor.
On 3 March 1998, we had a further lengthy telephone conversation. Gunther’s Team was, Krohn indicated, part of the ongoing Nippon Star outfit headed by General John Singlaub. Russbacher’s team consisted of five Americans and a handful of Filipinos, who between them had recovered in excess of 500 metric tonnes of gold stashed in the Philippines. The Philippine stash included bullion plundered by the Nazis as well as gold stolen from China during World War II.
The intermediary who negotiated the deal between the two parties was, Krohn said, former U. Krohn said, was a relative of Russbacher. The Austrians wanted the gold to “support the Eurodollar,” according to Krohn. He said that when he, together with Russbacher, and other members of the team, travelled to Austria, they were met at the airport by Austrian security. Interestingly, Russbacher’s former wife, Rayelan Russbacher, tells a tale that is identical to Krohn’s account in all material respects, except as to the quantities of gold involved. Kurt Waldheim’s apparent involvement in this deal raises an additional aspect worth exploring, if only briefly. Waldheim was appointed Secretary General of the United Nations in 1971, a position he held until 1981.
It is inconceivable that his background as a Nazi officer would not have been known to the US government, which would have thoroughly, albeit informally, vetted him at the time his name was thrown into the hat for the UN job. It, therefore, must have come as a shock to Waldheim to see his name in headline banners in the world’s press, linked to Nazi war crimes. Details of these allegations were provided to the New York Times by the US Justice Department and appeared in that newspaper in an article published on 13th March 1994. Suspicious, Blinston wondered whether their deal was “being delayed on purpose to allow Citibank to take the deal from us? He then adds that it “sounds familiar does it not? In any event, on 15th March 1994, two days after the Waldheim allegations hit the headlines, the Central Bank of the Philippines finally issued an authorised offer to sell the gold to the Austrian central bank. Her role was not as seller but as an intermediary who would accrue a fee of .
What is intriguing about this deal is the total quantity involved. Some while after my discussions with Ken Krohn, I was able to make contact with Russbacher directly. On 30 August 1998, we spoke for the first time by telephone. This call was followed by two further telephone conversations. Russbacher listened as I repeated Ken Krohn’s recollection of events. He asked what I knew of the background to the story.
Russbacher responded to my description with an emphatic “Boom! After a pause, he asked if Krohn had given me names. Russbacher then asked if I knew “who the facilitator was” I responded by asking him whom he meant. He evaded my question and seemed relieved that I didn’t appear to know about Waldheim’s role in the transaction.
After confirming that he was aware of Singlaub and his role in Nippon Star gold recoveries, Russbacher said he preferred not to answer any more questions. In an email message dated 15 August 1998, Rayelan told me that the 500 MT transaction arose following an approach to Russbacher by Sam Nicanor, a Filipino citizen who she believed was also a covert contract agent for one of the American intelligence agencies or groups. It was gold that belonged to the founder of Krupp. Meanwhile, one fact that leapt out at me from all this was the date 1954.
It could easily have been a coincidence, but then again it might have a distinct bearing on Peter Johnston’s story. It is of interest, too, to learn that it was the year 1954 when Mossad boss, Isser Harel, travelled to Washington to meet with CIA Director, Allen Dulles. The 1954 date also eventually led me to wonder if there were any trails leading to Martin Bormann and his huge hoard of Nazi plunder. At that time, Bormann was living in Argentina under the special protection of its dictator, Juan Peron. Nazi paymaster, the former Reichsleiter, Martin Bormann.