New York - Seven thousand metric tonnes of the precious metal have gone missing from the New York Federal reserve according to Texas congressman Ron Paul.
The wannabe 2012 GOP presidential candidate fears the $335 billion hoard, last audited at the 33 Liberty Street vaults in September 2010, may have been sucked out by a UFO-like device.
And transported to the impenetrable depths of a fortified English castle somewhere on the Gulf Stream coast.
Paul told a packed congressional investigation hearing on the Gold Reserve Transparency Act 2011 this week that most of the bullion bars held at Fort Knox 'are actually gold-plated tungsten bars'.
His rant was being studied by US Energy Department sources amid rumors that much of the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve - SPR - has also vamooshed without trace.
Thirty billion barrels from the vast crude stockpile is being tapped by President Obama - who plans to flood the market in the wake of Libyan oil crisis.
Wall Street analysts said today the SPR 'may not actually belong to the United States government' and moves to dump the sizeable cache 'are akin to yet another quantitative easing ruse'.
The price of crude plunged to $97 a barrel this week as news of the sell-out spread to nervous market trading.
Gold meanwhile remains stable at $1,520 per oz.