SPAIN: 500 Euro notes and 12 Euro coins
500 Euro notes and 12 Euro coins
Tue, 06 Jun 2006, 16:50
EDITORIAL COMMENT - Nearly 30% of all 500 € notes in existence are now said to be in Spain. Known by the Spanish as Bin Ladens, (because we know they are there, but no-one has seen one) these high value pieces of paper have managed to keep Spain at the centre of money laundering operations, something we were all assured would be halted with the arrival of the €.
Police think that professional money launderers here pay 3% over face value to convert their illicit proceeds into 500€ notes.
101 million of them now in Spain, and what's more representing 61% in value terms of all the money in circulation in the country.
It's an amazing number, and more so when you realise that the number of notes has increased from 76 million to 101 million in just 12 months.
Now the Bank of Spain and the Hacienda ministry has called on banks to control those clients who are seen moving large numbers of these purple beasts.
The Spanish Money Laundering Prevention Service has already identified the Costa del Sol and Madrid as the areas where most of the notes are in movement.
Now a kind of census or record is finally to be made as to who is moving large numbers of the notes, and that information will be passed on to the Agencia Tributaria.
"Known by the Spanish as Bin Ladens, (because we know they are there, but no-one has seen one) these high value pieces of paper have managed to keep Spain at the centre of money laundering operations, something we were all assured would be halted with the arrival of the €."
They have announced ten percent of all their staff is now to be dedicated to investigation. You can almost imagine the scene – a queue of tax inspectors lining up by the fax machine.
Add to that a new Fiscal Fraud law, which the government is currently trying to get through parliament, and it could well be that all those Bin Ladens will soon be heading outside Spain.
Those who pay taxes correctly in Spain, will surely be thankful that the others will no longer be able to get away with it. Presuming, that is, that the new measures are effective.
My bank manager today offered me a 12 € coin. I thought he was joking, but it seems that a special coin has been minted with Christopher Columbus as its head. Now that DNA has confirmed the explorer's bones are indeed in Seville cathedral, it seems that everything in Spain is finally being put in its place.
INONU AKGUN ALP
Financial Crimes Investigation Expert
MASAK - Turkish FIU
Ministry of Finance - TURKEY