News Briefs

NEWS BRIEF No. 96/14
November 18, 1996
International Monetary Fund
700 19th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20431 USA


In view of widespread and continuing inquiries from individuals and companies who have been approached by parties in connection with offers of participation in various financial instruments and schemes promising high returns and unauthorizedly using the name of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Treasurer of the IMF today again warned potential investors to beware of such schemes. He had already issued warnings in the past (see News Brief Number 94/5, published February 23, 1994 and News Brief Number 94/11, published May 13, 1994). Today he reiterated that the IMF does not issue or guarantee any obligations called "Prime Bank Notes," "Prime Bank Guarantees," "Bill of Exchange," or "Bill of Equity," or extend any credit lines through commercial banks or other agencies. Moreover, the IMF does not guarantee debentures or other financial instruments issued by a member country or any other entity. It does not sponsor investment programs, "high-yield financial programs," or issue to countries or to outside parties an "IMF Number," "IMF Country Registration Number," or an "IMF Approval Number for Projects."

Other examples of bogus instruments often featured in such schemes which unauthorizedly use the name of the IMF are:

  • fictitious stand-by letters of credit--falsely portrayed as risk-free and sanctioned by the IMF;
  • securities allegedly backed by the IMF; and
  • bonds supposedly issued by the IMF.

The IMF is an intergovernmental organization whose financial transactions and operations are carried out directly with its member countries and only through a fiscal agency designated by each member for this purpose (such as the member's Central Bank or its Ministry of Finance). The IMF does not operate through other agents and it does not endorse the activities of any bank, financial institution, or other public or private agency.


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