There is an ongoing investigations in Geneva, Switzerland to understand why two unidentified Spanish women flushed approximately €100,000 ($120,000) down toilets at a UBS bank branch and three nearby restaurants.
The Geneva Prosecutors Office has said the first incident, in May of this year, was with €500 bills. The bills were cut up and stuffed into a toilet. Security footage retrieved led investigators to the two women; the women’s lawyer has since confirmed that they did, in fact, own the money.
Vincent Derouand of the Geneva Prosecutors Office stated, “It may be illegal [cash] and they tried to get rid of it,” and further went to clarify, “We have to check where the money is coming from.” Although an unusual story, 2015 reports by Europol have stated that the €500 bills are frequently an “instrument of choice” for terrorists for use in illicit activities.
The €500 note is planned to be terminated sometime next year, due to its “high demand” and ability to facilitate unwanted activities, according to the European Central Bank.
Law enforcement in Europe says the note (approximately $600) is apparently a “standard” denomination for money launderers. Cash is always a great way to maintain anonymity and the large denomination bills allow for easy transportation of large total amounts.
Swiss authorities cannot understand nor confirm why the two women flushed the money down the toilets. In past years, Switzerland was always known for its heavy banking privacy laws concerning customers’ banking information; they would simply refuse to hand over any data. But in more recent years, the country has agreed to start sharing financial information with outsiders in both the European Union and the U.S.
UBS () has declined to make any comment on the cash that was found, citing the ongoing investigation.
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