Crime-friendly 500 euro note withdrawn in Britain
Criminals’ ‘note of choice’ made money-laundering too easy
The €500 note has been withdrawn from circulation in the UK following concerns that it is the denomination of choice for criminal gangs moving large sums of cash. They nickname the note "the Bin Laden".
The move came after an eight-month study by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) found that 90 per cent of €500 notes in circulation are used by money launderers attempting to legitimise the profits of criminal gangs.
Since April 20 it has been impossible to buy the €500 note – worth £430 – from Bureaux de Change in Britain. However, it is still possible for tourists returning from Europe to change €500 notes for Sterling.
The physical attraction of the €500 note is clear: apparently, €20,000 can be hidden inside a cigarette packet. And while £1m in £50 notes weighs 22kg, the same amount in the now-withdrawn denomination weighs a mere 2.2kg.
The deputy director of Soca, Ian Cruxton, told BBC News: "When criminals want to move a bulk of cash inside the UK and, more importantly, out of the UK, one of the best ways to do that is to reduce the bulk massively both physically and in terms of the risks they pose of discovery. The €500 note is really the note of choice among criminals."
Shrewd investors hoping to profit from the withdrawal of the €500 in the UK should start buying Swiss Francs. Apparently the CHF1,000 note (worth a staggering £605) is another popular option among the criminal fraternity. ·
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