Much of the tens of trillions in bailout money and "easy" money from quantitative easing went to foreign banks (and see this, this and this).
Indeed, Ron Paul noted recently that one-third of all fed bailout loans - and essentially 100% of loans from the New York Fed - went to foreign banks.
The New York Fed is the most important Fed bank. As Bloomberg pointed out in 2009:
However, the country's most powerful "agency" - the Federal Reserve - is actually no more federal than Federal Express. The Fed itself admitted (via Bloomberg):
The New York Fed is one of 12 regional Federal Reserve banks and the one charged with monitoring capital markets. It is also managing $1.7 trillion [now up to at least $1.9 trillion] of emergency lending programs [and accepting collateral from the banks in return].
For that reason, the New York Fed alleged in the lawsuit brought by Bloomberg to force the Fed to reveal some information about its loans - Bloomberg LP v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, 08-CV-9595, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan) - that it was not subject to Federal Freedom of Information Act. As Bloomberg reported in a separate article:
While the Fed’s Washington-based Board of Governors is a federal agency subject to the Freedom of Information Act and other government rules, the New York Fed and other regional banks maintain they are separate institutions, owned by their member banks, and not subject to federal restrictions.
As the long-time Chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee (Charles McFadden) said on June 10, 1932:
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York ... runs most of the lending programs. Most documents relevant to [a freedom of information lawsuit filed by Bloomberg news] are at the New York Fed, which isn’t subject to FOIA law, according to the central bank. The Board of Governors has 231 pages of documents, to which it is denying access under an exemption for trade secrets.
Some people think that the Federal Reserve Banks are United States Government institutions. They are private monopolies ....
Similarly, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) - often called the "central banks' central bank", as it coordinates transactions between central banks, and which is the entity determining the level of reserves banks are required to keep worldwide - is itself owned by the central banks of the world.
As Spiegel reported in 2009:
The BIS is a closed organization owned by the 55 central banks. The heads of these central banks travel to the Basel headquarters once every two months, and the General Meeting, the BIS's supreme executive body, takes place once a year.
In, other words, the private banks own the Fed (and most other central banks), and the central banks - in turn - own BIS, the global bank regulator.
Interestingly, Spiegel points out that BIS is largely immune from regulation, oversight or taxes:
Formally registered as a stock corporation, it is recognized as an international organization and, therefore, is not subject to any jurisdiction other than international law.
It does not need to pay tax, and its members and employees enjoy extensive immunity. No other institution regulates the BIS, despite the fact that it manages about 4 percent of the world's total currency reserves, or €217 trillion ($304 trillion), as well as 120 tons of gold...
Central bankers are not elected by the people but are appointed by their governments. Nevertheless, they wield power that exceeds that of many political leaders. Their decisions affect entire economies, and a single word from their lips is capable of moving financial markets. They set interest rates, thereby determining the cost of borrowing and the speed of global financial currents.