Britain already bans 500 euro notes from sale by bank wholesalers last week due to the notes being used by organised crime. The decision to end trading was made after police found nine out of every 10 of the notes in circulation are linked to crime, tax evasion and terrorism. The banknote itself already earned the name "bin laden" due to its popularity among criminal in UK. It is called "bin laden", because you know it's out there, you know what it looks like, it moves around a lot but no-one ever sees it.
Photo by dailymail.co.uk: a roll of 25,000 euro notes.
An adult male can stuff and swallow 150,000 euros and 20,000 euros can be hidden in a cigarette packet. One million pounds in £50 notes is made up of 20,000 individual notes and weighs 50kg. But one million pounds in 500 euro notes is just 2,300 notes and weighs little more than 2kg. In February members of a gang of Iraqi Kurds were jailed for up to five years for laundering £25million in drug profits. The gang used foreign exchange bureaus to change the cash into 500 euro notes. Rolls of notes were stuffed into cereal boxes each holding 300,000 euros.
Photo by Dailymail.co.uk: large amount of 500 euro notes hidden in a car.
Investigators said a small number of backstreet cash wholesalers have been profiting from exchanging large quantities of money for crime gangs. Up to 500,000 euros may change hands in one transaction as criminals shrink suitcases full of Sterling to a briefcase of euros. A second Soca official said there are ''pockets of complicity'' among a small number of wholesalers who turn a blind eye to the trade. He said the traders, who often operate in tourist and transport hubs, are mostly based in large cities including London, Birmingham and Glasgow.
Photo by dailymail.co.uk: 500 euro notes.
The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), which coordinated the voluntary industry move, said there is ''no credible legitimate use'' for the note in Britain. Officials have been watching the market for signs of criminals changing tactics since trading secretly stopped about one month ago. They have been expecting to see drug smugglers, people traffickers and other top-level crime gangs struggling to launder their profits as a result. The distinctive pink and purple note is a favourite with criminals because it takes up less space than other currencies and is accepted across the continent. Tourists and other legitimate customers will not be affected by the changes and the 500 euro note remains legal tender.
Source: Dailymail.co.uk, Telegraph.co.uk, BBC News.
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