Earlier this year, the European Central Bank stopped all production of the €500 note. The action came after years of concern from academics, multinational police agencies, and EU finance ministers: The €500 note, they alleged, had grown far too popular in the funding and facilitation of drug trafficking, human smuggling, and terrorism.

Because of its illicit reputation – and because “many know what it looks like” but “few have ever seen one” – the European media ominously dubbed the note “the Bin Laden”.

Please subscribe or log in to continue reading the full article. Learn more about ST PREMIUM.

Enjoy unlimited access to ST’s best work

  • Exclusive stories and features on multiple devices
  • In-depth analyses and opinion pieces
  • ePaper and award-winning multimedia content