Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Almighty Buck

Flush With Cash: Swiss Toilets Mysteriously Stuffed With 500-Euro Bills (npr.org) 184

Someone in the Swiss city of Geneva has been trying to flush tens of thousands of euros down toilets. From a report: The bathrooms at a branch of the UBS bank in Geneva, as well as in three nearby restaurants, had pipes stuffed with 500-euro bills that had apparently been cut up with scissors and flushed down the toilets. The mysterious misplaced funds were first reported by a Swiss newspaper, and local authorities have confirmed the incident to multiple media outlets. Each individual bill is worth nearly $600. Collectively, the destroyed bank notes were worth tens of thousands of dollars. The Geneva Prosecutor's Office tells Bloomberg it has launched an investigation into the bathroom bills. Switzerland is not in the European Union, although it is entirely surrounded by EU member countries, and the nation's currency is the Swiss franc.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Flush With Cash: Swiss Toilets Mysteriously Stuffed With 500-Euro Bills

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    And now we know where the money went, coke, ladies of the night and flushed down the toilet. Tell me you didn't suspect it all along.

  • And nobody has asked (Score:5, Interesting)

    by taustin ( 171655 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @02:47PM (#55220761) Homepage Journal

    if it's maybe a failed test run by a currency counterfeiter?

    Really?

    • Why would a counterfeiter go to a toilet at the bank to dispose of them?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gman003 ( 1693318 )

        Could have been going there to try to deposit them or exchange them, converting them to "real" money, and got cold feet at the last second.

      • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @04:01PM (#55221405) Journal

        Because he's an insider at the bank, working with his partners to test the bills. The insider was using the bank's counterfeit detection machinery to see which bills would work. These were detected, so he disposed of them.

        • You mean instead of bringing a small number of bills to test they brought in a barrel of the stuff and tested each one, they cut each one into pieces and flushed down the toilet right at the bank? OK. That took a lot of time!

          • TFA only says the bills are worth "10s of thousands of dollars". With each bill being worth approx. $600 at current exchange rates, it doesn't take too many to get into that range. The question becomes, "how many 500 Euro notes does it take to clog a toilet?", and the answer depends on all kinds of things such as the diameter and condition of the pipes, and the characteristics of their cut-up currency. Narrow pipes full of scale sometimes get clogged by turds and paper, so it might not take too many plas

            • A single "brick" (i.e. ~60000 dollars) does sound like something one would use to test banknote counters with built in counterfeit detectors.

    • So you think that they print counterfeit money in a bank and when it fails they cut up the bad batch and flush it down the toilet at the bank?

      More likely it is a modern art installation...

      Or maybe the banks are implementing the new European idea of phasing out 500Euro bills, I just don't know why Switzerland would do this and why any particular bank would do it this way, but at least that makes some sense.

      • by taustin ( 171655 )

        So you think that they print counterfeit money in a bank and when it fails they cut up the bad batch and flush it down the toilet at the bank?

        Criminals have done far, far stupider things. Often. Like writing a bank robbery note on the robber's own deposit slip, or filling out an employment application at a fast food joint, then robbing the place on the way out.

        More likely it is a modern art installation...

        That, too, is disturbingly plausible.

        Or maybe the banks are implementing the new European idea of phasing out 500Euro bills, I just don't know why Switzerland would do this and why any particular bank would do it this way, but at least that makes some sense.

        I seriously doubt Switzerland gives a shit about denominations of Euro notes, since they don't use Euros. And if they bank is disposing of currency, they'll be doing it through a well documented official process.

        • In Switzerland you can pay with Euro on most places. And have bank account in Euro ...

          • by taustin ( 171655 )

            Which still doesn't mean the bank will dispose of real currency that is still legal, just because somebody suggested it might not be, someday, eventually.

      • More likely it is a modern art installation...

        Modern art, bleah, well at least it's being displayed in the proper location.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It's because the Central European Bank, which issues these notes, has said it is going to phase them out by 2018 due to suspected high levels of illegal activity. As on of the highest value bank notes in the world they found favour with criminals.

      As such anyone who has them needs to take them to a bank to be exchanged. I guess whoever is doing this has a load of notes they can't legitimately exchange and is trying to dispose of them. My guess would be that they were in a safety deposit box or something in t

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Actually the ECB will stop printing new €500 bills, but the existing ones will still be legal tender, basically forever. However using them will become more and more suspiscious with time.
        The ECB just wants to make large amounts of physical money a bit harder to move around, now that everybody uses plastic and wire transfers in Europe.
        Even the germans, which were for a long time known to be adverse to anything plastic. In 1997 my hotel in Germany did not accept credit and/or debit card: only cash or so

  • by karlandtanya ( 601084 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @02:48PM (#55220765)

    then chickened out.

    • or it was a payment for their participation in an illegal scheme at the bank and when the shame and guilt got to be too much...

    • They are only used for crime. So if he stole them it was probably from another criminal.

  • I was wondering what caused a drop in silver spot prices this morning.
  • Support (Score:5, Funny)

    by vjg ( 1393311 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @02:49PM (#55220793)
    This is a bathroom bill I could get behind.
    • Re:Support (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Monday September 18, 2017 @03:27PM (#55221105) Homepage Journal

      There was a spate of incidents a few years ago where someone in Japan was leaving 10,000 yen notes (worth about â60) in bathrooms, with a note expressing the hope that they brought whoever found them happiness. I don't know if they ever caught the person behind it.

      • Re:Support (Score:5, Funny)

        by sinij ( 911942 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @03:51PM (#55221317)
        Caught to thank them?
        • These transfers of wealth from one person to another in Japanese bathrooms were not properly taxed and the identities of the individuals were not properly disclosed to the tax officials. These anti-government activities are designed by subversives to deprive the government of their rightful tax revenue and ultimately undermine the social structure of a nation. The recipient of the money is of particular concern. Unreported and un-taxed income is illegal. It only makes sense that the government would nee

  • News for.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by leathered ( 780018 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @02:51PM (#55220809)

    ...turds?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...they spend so much time flushing our money down the toilette, now they just cut out the middleman...?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Here in the US anymore I don't think the average person can even get denominations over $100 (unless they find a collector that happens to have one). They were used mostly for bank/large institution transfers back in the day. The government phased them out claiming a "lack of use" but more likely the disliked the use of the bills ability to be used in anonymous financial transactions.

    • There's talk to ban the $100 bill as well. Depending on your political views, it's either a good idea or a globalist conspiracy.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/02/16/its-time-to-kill-the-100-bill/ [washingtonpost.com]

    • It's not a usual denomination: 50 euros is the largest bill you will get from ATMs. The largest denomination I've ever seen in person is 100 euros.

      • by mindstormpt ( 728974 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @03:34PM (#55221173) Homepage

        That greatly depends on the country. In Switzerland, 500 EUR banknotes are common, though not as much as 500 CHF banknotes (you can use those to pay for your morning bread). UBS has ATMs for different denominations in many agencies and airports. Here [bigstockphoto.com], for instance, the leftmost ATM only gives out 100 EUR banknotes.

        • Small correction: CHF 500 banknotes do not exist. There are CHF 100, 200 and 1000 notes. 100s are very common, 200s not so much and 1000s quite common in certain transactions (e.g. when you buy a used car from a private person, or older people doing cash only and who get their full salary or pension in cash from their bank account at the beginning of the month).
      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        Actually, ATMs will routinely give 200 EUR bills in some countries, and getting 500 EUR bills just requires you to ask for them at a bank.

      • I wish American ATMs dispensed $50s and $20s. They've been dispensing $20s and $10s since the 1980s, and meanwhile, inflation has meant that the USD has lost about half its value in the last thirty years.
      • You can also get 100 and 200 bills from ATMs.
        It is just less common.

    • by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @03:32PM (#55221137) Homepage Journal

      We often see $100 bills used in our store.

      My personal observation is that the people using them are always old, as in clearly past retirement age. I have no clue why this is the case.

      • Older people tend to go to the bank and get cash from a teller-- and get more than $100 at a time.

        • Older people tend to go to the bank and get cash from a teller-- and get more than $100 at a time.

          And then expect some cashier in a shop to to give them change for a 50 cent purchase with a $100 bill.
          That, screwing up social security and keeping Buick in business, old people have a lot to answer for.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        You don't know why? I can tell you why. Many older people still go to the bank to get money. They often drive in, deposit a check (retirement, annuity, whatever) and get some cash from the teller. That generates $100 bills. Many younger people use direct deposit and hit ATMs if they need some cash. Most ATMs don't give out $100 bills although I have seen some in casinos that do give out $100 bills.
        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          Come to Canada. If you take out $200 from a machine, it'll either give you a couple of $50's and the rest in $20's or a single $100, $50, and the rest in $20's.

      • Depends on the country really. In Germany most larger stores will happily handle 500 euro notes, and most ATMs will dispense them. However in a lot of other Euro zone countries they freak out if you hand them anything larger than a 50
    • High denomination notes are a lot more common in Switzerland - although this is in Euros and not Swiss Francs. I remember taken my then fiance (now wife) to the cinema only to see the guy in front pay for two tickets with a 10,000 Swiss Franc note (then worth around 4,000 pounds). The cashier did not bat an eyelid - she just lent over to her colleague because she was short of a couple of 1,000 SFr notes for the change - and handed back over 9,900 SFr in change.
  • Or, you know - exactly 500 Euros?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      For god's sake man, this is Slashdot.

      "Each individual bill is worth nearly 0.149111 bitcoin."

    • Or, you know, 734.54 Canadian dollars*

      * at the time of this post.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You're bothered that a US site gave the value in dollars? Most of us don't deal in foreign currency, and it's faster than googling the exchange rate.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 18, 2017 @03:06PM (#55220923)

    Well now we know what rich people wipe their asses with.

  • by dlleigh ( 313922 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @03:11PM (#55220965)

    Looks like the food in the UBS company cafeterias is too rich.

  • by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @03:53PM (#55221337)

    The Swiss know a LOT of the shit they handle is illegal, fraudulent, tied to warlords, drug lords, slavers, etc. They don't care until they might get caught.

    My guess is this Swiss bank had a ton of counterfeit 500 Euro notes and they knew it, and a few key people had been shredding and flushing them for ages.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Nobody working in a bank would flush EUR notes. They would know that they will clog up the pipes because they do not dissolve, as banknotes are made from cotton, not paper. Also, shredding them would be easy, but not effective, because you still get the serials from the micro-writing on them. Incidentally, a large bank would have a document incinerator and that is reliable.

      Best guess would be somebody with significant money but mental problems. That would also explain the Spanish lawyer paying for the repai

      • Nobody working in a bank would flush EUR notes. They would know that they will clog up the pipes because they do not dissolve, as banknotes are made from cotton, not paper. Also, shredding them would be easy, but not effective, because you still get the serials from the micro-writing on them. Incidentally, a large bank would have a document incinerator and that is reliable.

        Best guess would be somebody with significant money but mental problems. That would also explain the Spanish lawyer paying for the repairs.

        Uh, if people didn't flush things that they knew would clog the pipes then there would be far fewer plumbers in the world. They've probably been at this for a long time, and since the shredded bits didn't clog the pipes the first time, or the second time, or the third, they kept doing it.

        This was illicit, so note destruction and disposal wasn't carried out via the normal means. And disposal was the more important aspect.

    • Taking the notes to nearby restaurants does seem odd in that case.

  • by MrLogic17 ( 233498 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @03:53PM (#55221343) Journal

    This wasn't just flushed money- it was cut up first.That's not a normal thing to do.

    My first thought? Mental illness. Sounds like some of the stories you hear from that government office that helps you reclaim money destroyed by fire, mold, or a dementia patient who starts shredding money they had hidden in the house.
    See also: https://www.frbservices.org/op... [frbservices.org]

    My 2nd guess is counterfeit money.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Actually, you basically cannot flush this material without cutting it up first. You can still not really flush it after cutting it up, but that is less apparent. It will go down but clog the pipes further onward if cut up. (No, I have not done that, but it follows from the material composition and the typical configuration of the relevant pipes.)

      I am on-board with mental illness, but for the flushing, not for the cutting up.

  • I wonder if this is a case of an angry employee trying to take it out on the bank?

  • One possibility: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by John Jorsett ( 171560 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @04:21PM (#55221535)
    nasty divorce. People do all sorts of strange and illogical things when they're embroiled in a divorce battle, including burning down houses, crushing cars, etc.
    • Well, I seriously entertained providing my ex with 1/2 of the pickup truck via plasma torch and requesting physically 1/2 of the hardwood floor I installed in the house I no longer live at to be used as kindling...

      So, yeah, fairly plausible.

      • During my divorce, my goal was to get out of that relationship as fast as possible, figuring that I had the rest of my life to make up any losses, and I'd prioritize my mental health.

  • Seriously, at least they didn't light them on fire this time.

  • I just want to know why we in the USA can't have a $500 note. It is not like $100 is worth that much anymore. Yeesh.

  • Why (Score:5, Informative)

    by Framboise ( 521772 ) on Monday September 18, 2017 @07:27PM (#55222527)

    According to the Tribune de GenÃve (local newspaper, in French) the reason for flushing money down the toilet is that some people from Spain had evaded state tax for years hiding money in the UBS bank, and since at the year end tax evasion will be disclosed by Swiss banks to EU countries, these people found nothing better to flush the bills down the toilets of the bank. As the toilets were soon unable to absorb so many bills, the women and one men (as found by cameras) went to nearby restaurants to continue their stupid procedure for destroying embarassing money. The bills have been checked by the police to be genuine.
       

  • And get rid of all this untraceable paper used almost exclusively by criminals ?

  • to literally flush money down the toilet... nothing wrong with that
  • In Switzerland I find only 5 CHF coins [wikipedia.org] left on ground as lost coins. What would you expect that such a country would use as toilet paper ?
  • Wife finds out about the other woman and in a fit of anger, goes to his safe deposit and destroys the thing that the husband most loves?

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

Working...