THE €500 banknote has fallen under suspicion as the European Central Bank claims it is the gangsters’ note of choice, a report from February 2 details.
One of the highest-value banknotes on the planet, the €500 bill entered circulation at the request of the German government in 2002 when European currencies were replaced by euros.
The value of the problematic notes, which are still turned away by some small European store owners, accounts for one-third of the value of all euro banknotes, but the ECB have observed a significant growth in their popularity of late.
In an attempt to monitor and curb terrorist financing after the Paris attacks in 2015, the bank, which administers the monetary policy of the Eurozone, found that the notes were “in high demand among criminal elements, due to their high value and low volume”.
In January 2016, the Director-General of the European Anti-Fraud Office, Giovanni Kessler, advised that the EU should do away with the notes. Mr Kessler is quoted as saying “I wonder if there is still a need for high denomination bills, bearing in mind that these can make the life of fraudsters much easier.”
A spokesperson for ECB Bank has since confirmed that the matter was still under consideration and that no decision on the fate of €500 notes had yet been made.