Tuesday 30 November 2021

Dutch finance minister heads European intitiative to ban €500 note

Caretaker finance minister Wopke Hoekstra

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Dutch finance minister Wopke Hoekstra is heading a joint European move to ban the 500 euro note and cash payments of up to €5,000 to prevent money laundering and other criminal activity.

The minister told MPs the plan has the backing of Belgium, France, Italy and Spain, with enough space for the individual countries to lower the threshold for cash payments even further.

Hoekstra is working on a limit of €3,000 in cash payments for the Netherlands as part of a national plan to combat money laundering presented in 2019.

The removal of the bill won’t affect normal consumers, the minister said, because cash payments rarely exceed €1,000 in the Netherlands.

The 500 euro note, which is no longer being printed, still has a circulation of 400 million, representing some €200bn. Hoekstra and his European counterparts want to phase out the bill completely because it is mainly used in criminal transactions.

‘Analysis show the notes end up mostly in Latin American countries, Mexico and China, countries where you can’t even pay for a packet of butter in euros,’ Theo Akse, former chief of the FIU anti money laundering watchdog, told the Telegraaf at the time.

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