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ECB to stop printing €500 banknotes to decrease criminal activity
ECB to stop printing €500 banknotes to decrease criminal activity

As part of a number of measures to prevent money laundering and the financing of international terrorism, the management of the European Central Bank decided to gradually abolish the use of 500 euro banknotes. According to the statement published on the regulator's official website, the first step in this direction will be the termination of these notes issuing. "17 of the 19 national central banks in the euro area will no longer issue 500 banknotes from Jan. 27, 2019," the ECB said on its website. However, there is an exception for two central banks of the euro area. Austria and Germany will continue printing the notes until April 26, for logistical reasons.

Experts consider this solution to be proper. Having carefully examined the criminal cash flows, the security forces came to a clear conclusion that it is the presence of large denomination banknotes that facilitates the conduct of various criminal operations with money. Reportedly, such banknotes are used in money laundering and terrorist financing. For this reason, the European media often calls the 500 euro notes “Osama bin Laden's money” (the former leader of Al-Qaeda killed by U.S. forces). Now launderers will need larger suitcases, and the larger the suitcase, the easier it can be tracked. According to the ECB, these banknotes account for 2.4% of the total number of banknotes in circulation and a little more than 20% of their total value, that is about 261 billion euros. As of November 2018, there were almost 521 million 500-euro notes in circulation.

Published: 2019-01-11 10:01:09 UTC
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