More than a quarter of all 500-euro bills in the euro zone have accumulated in Spain, where they account for 67% of the total money supply

Some witty contemporary has given him the name Bin Laden. We are talking about the purple 500-euro bill, because everyone has heard about it, but no one has ever seen it. This is astonishing, because nowhere are there so many 500 bills as in Spain. According to the Central Bank of Spain, more than 112 million of these bills make up a good 67% of the total money supply in circulation. Bin Ladens account for more than two-thirds of the country’s 86.2 billion – and that means that more than a quarter of all the 500s in the euro zone are already in circulation in that country alone. For a long time, the government has been threatening to take the notes out of circulation, but little has happened so far.

The number of 500-euro bills in circulation in Spain has grown sharply in recent years with the construction boom. Government, tax authorities and banks ame that a lot of black money has been invested and laundered in this boom sector in recent years. The coarse bills are particularly well suited to getting as much money as possible across the border unobtrusively via the banking system. One thousand bills, that is 500.000 euros, weigh just 1.14 kilograms and are easy to stow away. Since there are only 100s of notes in dollars, more and more criminals are also switching to euros internationally.

As the building frenzy continues – more homes have been built in Spain in recent years than in Germany, France and Italy combined – the share of 500 bills in the volume of money has increased dramatically. While it accounted for 62% a year ago, the figure has now risen to 67%, and the trend is still upwards. Spain was once provided with 13 million 500s when the euro was introduced, so the number has increased almost ninefold in five years.

Already a year ago, the Ministry of Finance was alerted by the dramatic figures. It launched an investigation because this number of 500 bills does not correspond in any way to the economic strength of the country. For many financial experts, it is clear that Spain has become a rough money-laundering facility, which has developed in connection with extreme construction boom.

The financial authorities also affirm that the investigations launched at the beginning of the year have revealed an increased demand for the bills in the field of real estate activities. This is especially true for municipalities with strong growth in the Mediterranean area. Gewinne wurden hier uber Strohmanner abgefuhrt, weshalb man in diesem Jahr 30 neue Ermittlerteams aufstellen werde.

Black money in the booming real estate sector

It is an open secret that in Spain when buying real estate always gross sums are paid past the treasury. In order to pay less taxes when buying or selling an apartment, it is common to declare a much lower price when the contract is notarized. The difference is then settled with so-called B-money bypassing the tax office. This not only saves taxes, which are incurred during the transfer, but the buyer can also invest his accumulated black money, which he has acquired. The process takes place mostly even quasi under the eyes of the notaries, so that also everything its "Correctness" receipt. Real estate agents and banks often play along as well. They are even available for advice. This can be read and has also been confirmed to the author by various parties. Investment possibilities one receives also in Germany partly from experts on seminars (in the hall it was completely quiet)..

Many, especially simple home buyers, have a need for advice. For "officially" Spanish banks are subject to stricter controls than in the EU. A copy of the identity card must be presented for cash deposits or withdrawals of more than 3.000 euros in cash, a copy of the identity card must be made to document the transaction. The usual limit in the EU is 15 euros.000 euros. That is why the friendly helpers advise to make the withdrawals with smaller sums of money. On the advice of the credit counselor, the B-money to be paid was already distributed to different accounts beforehand, in order to make the withdrawal easier. Real estate agents and banks like to adapt the necessary documents and loan agreements to tax saving sales. The promoter, often a developer himself, uses the money to pay his illegal workers…

Of course, a lot of black money was also lured to the vacation islands and the Sudkuste, where with the bribe of politicians and officials building permits are bought and many Europeans, also with black money, have built themselves a second home. This "Quality tourism" is responsible for the massive destruction of the environment there.

The case of the mayor of the Mallorcan municipality of Andratx, which is also popular with German celebrities, was reported in the press last fall. During raids on the home of Mayor Eugenio Hidalgo (also a building contractor) and various city officials last fall, a total of 750.000 euros in cash seized. Numerous valuables were also found, including very expensive cars, which are also considered to be illicit investments. The total value was about seven million euros. With corruption even new buildings in nature reserves became possible. The system of corruption surrounding the ultra-conservative People’s Party (PP) is said to extend to the very top of the PP regional government. It is suspected that the party finances itself illegally through this. Among other German celebrities, the controversial Prime Minister of Baden Wurttemberg Gunther Oettinger is a regular guest in Andratx.

A gross corruption bubble also burst last year in the city of Marbella in southern Spain. In raids on the case of "Malaya" were confiscated last March rough quantities of the 500s. The total amount of money seized was over 3.5 million euros. Because of the corruption and money laundering affair in the real estate sector, even the entire city parliament had to be dissolved, the Burgermeisterin and others went to jail and also the local police chief is involved in the proceedings.

For the president of the Spanish Association of Tax Investigators (APIFE), Jose Maria Pelaez, the main reason behind all this is an enormous tax fraud. He says there was no will in Spain to fight the enormous tax evasion and shadow economy. "With the obligatory exchange of pesetas into euros, the rough chance was missed". Another long moratorium had been imposed on black money and thus on a shadow economy whose share in the gross domestic product (GDP) is said to be an enormous 20%.

Nach Ansicht von Pelaez konnten diejenigen, die im groben Stil mit den 500er Scheinen operieren, einfach identifiziert werden. "But there is no interest in this, there is no will." Pelaez complains that there is a lot of talk, but no resources, from 20.500 of Madrid’s 000 real estate agents had just been inspected. Tentatively was done with the regulation of almost 600.000 illegal immigrants actually did something about the underground economy in 2005. All of them were previously engaged in illegal work and had to prove it for their legalization (Europe is rushing against immigrants).

Main hub for cocaine

In fact, it is striking that in addition to the real estate sector, the 500 bills show up in gross quantities in the area of corruption, drug trafficking and fraud trap. In what is probably the grossest rip-off with a pyramid scheme, allegedly invested funds were secured by stamps, a damage of about five billion euros was done to the assets of more than 350.000 savers. In May last year, 10 million euros in 500 bills were found in the luxury apartment of Francisco Guijarro, who had supplied the company Afinsa with stamps (record fraud against savers in Spain?).

Again and again the victims demonstrate and demand compensation from the government. For decades, the authorities stood by and did nothing. Before a rough demonstration on 21. On April 21, the Socialists announced half a billion euros in aid for the victims.

Another field is drug trafficking. Nowhere else in Europe was so much cocaine seized in 2005 (50 tons), and for hashish and marijuana (650 tons) the country was even in the lead worldwide. The security forces claim that the country has lost the war on drugs and has become the main cocaine transshipment point. 50% of all cocaine from Colombia consumed in the EU comes through Spain.

From here also other drugs are distributed over the open borders all over Europe. The profits are leaving again in the form of 500 bills after "laundered" were. Interesting is also an investigation of the daily newspaper El Mundo. In the European country with the highest number of cocaine sniffers (about 800), the.000), according to a random sample, 94% of 100 euro bills are laced with cocaine because the rolled-up bills are used for sniffing. One hundred bills were randomly collected and examined in five major cities, and 94 were found to contain traces of cocaine.

However, many bills were also contaminated when they came into contact with cash in vaults or ATMs. However, tickets from Spain stood out in an EU-wide investigation because of the large amounts of cocaine found in the tickets. A total of 600 bills from the entire Eurozone were analyzed. Those from Spain (they were all from Barcelona) had an average of 335 micrograms of cocaine. Those from Italy yielded 71, from Germany 6.6 or from France, with the smallest traces, 0.102 micrograms.

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