Denmark has decided to ban 500-euro notes in an attempt to fight money laundering in the country.
The decision was made despite a request by the European Central Bank (ECB) not to ban the note. But Danish authorities says that the bills’ use for criminal activities justifies the ban, adding that the ECB even decided to stop printing the notes in 2016 under the recommendation of the global anti-laundering organization Financial Action Task Force.
“It is worth noticing that one of the reasons the ECB decided to permanently stop producing the 500-euro banknote was the concerns that this banknote could facilitate illicit activities,” business minister Rasmus Jarlov said, according to Bloomberg.
This is the latest move by Danish lawmakers to curb money laundering after the country’s biggest bank, Danske Bank, became involved in Europe’s worst dirty money scandal. It is now the subject of several investigations. In addition, the Danish operations of Scandinavia’s biggest bank, Nordea Bank Abp, is also under investigation for money laundering.
Parliament is expected to consider the ban for a second time later this month before holding the final vote in May. The measure is backed by opposition parties and members of the coalition government, and is therefore expected to pass. If so, after Jan. 10, 2020, no one will be able to deposit or exchange the notes, tender them as payment or otherwise use them in the country. Cash gifts will also be outlawed, and violators would be fined.
“All the parties in the parliament are agreeable to the bill and the ban,” Jarlov said.
The ECB had asked the government not to implement ban, citing the principle of “sincere cooperation” that is part of the bloc’s treaty. The agency has also said that there’s no evidence the notes are used more frequently in Denmark for illegal activities than anywhere else.