It’s time ditch any £50 or 500 Euro bank notes stashed under the mattress as governments move to scrap larger denomination bank notes.
Both the Bank of England and European Central Bank (ECB) are considering withdrawing the notes from circulation.
And ECB governor claims public opinion around the world is that the notes are only used for crime.
In Britain, the Bank of England claims the £50 note is rarely handed over to anyone except a dodgy builder who fails to declare the income to the tax man.
Large denomination notes are also handy for criminals to move large amounts of money around in bags and suitcases.
Although no central bank has officially announced the notes will be withdrawn, it’s believed the decision has already been made behind-the-scenes.
Europol, the organisation linking European Union police forces, argues that few shops accept 500 Euro notes because they do not carry large enough cash floats to hand out change – but the note accounts for more than a third of all paper money circulating in the EU.
Money launderers have been caught holding 300,000 Euros in a package the same size as a box of breakfast cereal and the 500 Euro note is called a ‘bin laden’ all over the world because of its affiliation with terrorism.
According to the UK Serious Organised Crime Agency, if a criminal gang collects £1 million in £20 notes, the notes weigh 50 kilos, while the same amount of cash in 500 Euro notes is only two kilos.
Bogus money exchanges
Police fear criminal gangs stock up on 500 Euro from bogus money exchanges.
One had no business premises but ordered 4 million Euros in 500 Euro notes every year – more than the total amount of Euros exchanged at 12,500 Post Office counters every year.
Scrapping £50 and 500 euro notes has a precedent. In 2000, Canada shredded the country’s entire stock of $1,000 bills after police claimed criminals were taking advantage of the notes in the same way modern gangs are adopting the 500 Euro note.
Draghi has also had to explain that withdrawing the note does not reduce the amount of cash in circulation around Europe, because the large note will be replaced by printing more small denomination notes.