EU asked to ban cash payments of over €5,000 in money laundering fight
The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy and Spain together petitioned the European Commission to limit the amount you can pay in cash within the European Union to 5 thousand euros. They also asked that the 500 euro note be taken out of circulation, caretaker Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said in a letter to parliament, NOS reports.
Both these measures are intended to help combat organized crime and money laundering. Cash poses a major risk as it is anonymous and untraceable. This makes it the ideal tool for money laundering, terrorist financing, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and tax evasion, among other things, the countries said in their petition.
The Netherlands has been calling for a cash limit of 3 thousand euros for some time, but could not find enough support for that amount among other EU Member States, Hoekstra wrote. The countries therefore called for a 5 thousand euros limit, with room for individual countries to themselves introduce a lower limit.
The European Central Bank stopped printing 500 euro notes over two years ago due to concerns of "illegal practices", but the notes are still in circulation. At the start of 2019, there were about 516 million 500 euro notes in circulation. Earlier this year there were still 400 million notes. The Dutch Financial Intelligence Unit said in 2019 that this note is almost exclusively used by drug criminals.