ECB decided to end production and issuance of 500 euro banknote

May 5, 2016 12:01 IST

500 EuroThe European Central Bank (ECB) on 4 May 2016 announced that it will permanently stop producing the 500 euro banknote by the end of 2018. The ECB will also exclude it from the Europa series, taking into account concerns that this banknote could facilitate illicit activities.

The issuance of the 500 euro note will be stopped around the end of 2018, when the 100 euro and 200 euro banknotes of the Europa series are planned to be introduced.

However, 500 euro banknote, like the other denominations of euro banknotes, will always retain its value and can be exchanged at the national central banks of the Eurosystem for an unlimited period of time.

Link between crime and 500 euro banknote

Also nicknamed as the Bin Laden note, the value of the 500 euro banknote is several times greater than many of the largest circulating notes of other major currencies, such as the United States 100 dollar bill. Therefore, a large monetary value can be concentrated into a small volume of notes. This opens the door for crimes that deal in cash, including money laundering, drug dealing and tax evasion.

As of 20 April 2010, money exchange offices in the United Kingdom stopped selling 500 euro notes due to their use in money laundering.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency claimed that 90% of all 500 euro notes sold in the UK are in the hands of organised crime.

About 500 euro banknote

The five hundred euro note is the highest-value euro banknote and has been used since the introduction of the euro (in its cash form) in 2002.

It is one of the highest value circulating banknotes in the world, worth around 558 USD, 3634 Chinese Yuan, 62700 Japanese Yen, 544 Swiss Franc or 395 Pound sterling.

The note is used in the 23 countries, which have the euro as their sole currency.

It is the largest note measuring 160 × 82 mm and has a purple colour scheme.

The five hundred euro banknotes depict bridges and arches/doorways in modern architecture (around the late 20th century).

The five hundred euro note contains several complex security features such as watermarks, invisible ink, holograms and microprinting that make counterfeiting very difficult.

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