The claim: The Rothschild family owns many of the world’s central banks
A March 1 Facebook video (direct link, archived link) shows a montage of images of various banks around the world.
“Banks owned by the Rothschilds,” reads on-screen text at the beginning of the video, which shows central banks of countries including the U.S., Canada, China, England, France, Mexico and Spain.
The video was shared more than 6,000 times in less than a month.
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Our rating: False
None of the banks listed are owned by the Rothschild family. The majority of the banks listed are publicly owned. Two of the banks listed, the United States Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, are owned by its member banks and do not have private shareholders, according to the information on the organizations’ websites.
Central banks listed in video are nationalized, not privately owned
The Rothschilds are a Jewish banking family that has long been the subject of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories claiming the family has exerted influence on regional and national events since the early 19th century, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
But there is no evidence they own any of the banks listed in the video.
The video mentions 17 central banks, including the Fed, the European Central Bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada.
Except for the Fed and the European Central Bank, all the banks mentioned in the video have been nationalized, according to academic research and the institutions’ websites. This means the national government bought all stock in the central bank, said Gary Richardson, a professor of economics at the University of California Irvine.
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The Fed has a blend of public and private characteristics, and it is not owned by anyone, the organization’s webpage explains. Instead, it consists of a central governing board that is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, as well as a decentralized operating structure of 12 regional banks. It does not have individual stockholders, as the stock is owned by member banks.
The European Central Bank’s owners are the central banks of all the countries in the European Union, according to a European Central Bank webpage. It does not have any private owners.
“This means that we are not influenced by private financial interests that might affect our independence,” reads the website.
The Reserve Bank of Australia is “wholly owned by the Commonwealth of Australia,” according to the bank’s website.
The Bank of England is publicly owned, its website explains, and it answers to the people of the U.K. through Parliament.
The Bank of Canada is a corporation owned by the federal government, according to its website. The bank is led by a board of directors, the members of which are appointed by its governor.
The Facebook post also claims the Rothschild family owns more than 100 other banks but does not include the names of the banks or provide any evidence to support the claim.
Rothschild family used to own stock in some banks
Claims that the Rothschild family owns central banks may be incorrectly drawing from the fact that before World War II, the Bank of England and the Banque of France were privately owned corporations, Richardson said.
“Before these banks were nationalized, many influential banking families — including the Rothschilds — owned stock in these banks and had family members in their leadership,” he said in an email to USA TODAY.
But it’s inaccurate to say any single family owned or controlled these banks, Richardson said. Though the wealthy bankers and businessmen did own most of the stock and have influence over their decisions, ownership and control was dispersed among bankers and businessmen.
USA TODAY reached out to the Rothschild Archive, Rothschild Foundation Hanadiv Europe and the social media user who shared the claim for comment.
AAP Fact Check also debunked the claim.
Our fact-check sources:
- Eric Swanson, March 29, Email interview with USA TODAY
- Gary Richardson, March 29, Email interview with USA TODAY
- Kenneth Kuttner, March 29, Email interview with USA TODAY
- The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, accessed March 29, A Brief History of Central Banks
- Bank of Canada, accessed March 29, About us
- Bank of France, accessed March 29, Institutional framework
- Bank of England, accessed March 29, Governance and funding
- Bank of Albania, accessed March 30, About the Bank of Albania
- Reserve Bank of Australia, accessed March 29, Questions & Answers
- U.S. Federal Reserve System, accessed March 29, Who owns the Federal Reserve?
- European Central Bank, accessed March 29, Who owns the ECB?
- Technische Universität Darmstadt, 2017, The Organisation and Structure of Central Banks
- Bank of India, accessed March 30, About us
- Bank of Spain, accessed March 30, From the Banco de San Carlos to the Banco de España
- Da Afghanistan Bank, Dec. 17, 2003, The Afghanistan Bank Law
- Central Bank of Argentina, accessed March 30, Charter of the Central Bank of the Argentine Republic
- Central Bank of Brazil, accessed March 30, History of the Central Bank of Brazil
- Law of the People’s Republic of China, Dec. 27, 2003, The People’s Bank of China
- The Connecticut General Assembly Office of Legislative Research, Sept. 15, 1995, Federal Institutions; Federal Reserve Banks; Banks and Banking
- The Anti-Defamation League, accessed March 29, Rothschilds
- AAP Fact Check, March 26, Rothschild mass ownership claim a bankrupt myth
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