about financial crime

7. Money laundering and the Euro

The Euro is not quite as new a concept as some would have you believe. It is, at its most simple, an extension of a series of unsuccessful measures to stabilise currency movements, and harmonise (some would say homogenise) economies, within Europe.

Published 1998

Seen from the perspective of the UK, it is a drastic step. But across Europe – in the context of history, a single currency is a logical progression from the vast array of local currencies that were in use until quite recently, even within countries. The Euro is the latest in a long line of currency measures including “The Snake”, the European Exchange Rate Mechanism and others. The difference between the previous measures and the Euro is that to join it is (in practical terms) irrevocable.

Some have suggested that the adoption of the Euro will create ideal conditions for money laundering. That was considered in some detail in How not to be a money launderer – 2nd ed and you can read an extract from that by clicking on the link HERE.

Since that book was published, there have been several issues arising – the most important of which is that the principle crime associated with the Euro has been, as was predicted in that book, counterfeiting. It is recognised that the most convincing currency forgeries are often produced in the UK and, indeed, in mid 2000, the UK police found a major counterfeiting operation producing high quality Euro notes in readiness for the introduction of the physical currency.