A MOVE to withdraw €500 notes from circulation would be supported by Spain's government, says acting minister for the economy Luis de Guindos (PP).
“It would be an appropriate step to take in the fight against money laundering and everything to do with corruption,” De Guindos told reporters in Pamplona (Navarra) shortly before taking part in a business conference in the city earlier today (Tuesday).
The minister explained that any type of money – irrespective of currency, format or denomination – should fulfil three functions to be considered viable.
“It should be a unit of accounting, a deposit of value and a method of payment,” De Guindos says, arguing that the €500 note does not meet the third requisite.
Very few shops or other traders are willing to give change for €500 notes – and, in fact, not many will do so for €200 or even €100 – whilst banknotes most likely to be forged tend to be of higher denominations.
And any payment in cash involving one or more €500 notes is, by definition, likely to be one that the tax authorities need to know about.
Following the European Central Bank (BCE)'s chariman Mario Draghi's announcement yesterday (Monday) that he and his team were 'considering' removing €500 notes from circulation due to 'increasing concerns within public opinion' about their use being mainly in criminal activities – ranging from corruption and tax fraud through to terrorism – De Guindos responded by saying Spain's current government would be 'in favour' of the move.