Thursday, May 13, 2010
Exchange offices in the UK have stopped selling 500 euro banknotes because of their use by money launderers.
Soca deputy director Ian Cruxton said 500 euros had become the currency of choice for gangs hiding their profits.
The move means nobody will be able to buy the note in the UK - but travellers will be able to sell them if they enter the UK carrying them from abroad.
There has been mounting international concern over the note, which is worth more than £400, and its use by criminals or tax evaders.
Soca says that an eight-month analysis of movements of the note in the UK revealed that it was almost exclusively used by money launderers shifting cash for major crime gangs.
The British trade in the notes is thought to be worth some 500 million euros - but less than 10% of them are bought by legitimate tourists and business travellers. Financial crime investigators concluded that there was no credible or legitimate use for the note in the UK.
Instead, gangs are reportedly shifting massive sums of sterling, typically from drug dealing, through "front" exchange businesses.
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