Swiss prosecutors are attempting to get to the bottom of a mystery surrounding who has been chopping up $500 notes and flushing them down the toilet at a Geneva branch of UBS.
Police have so far retrieved the soiled remains of tens of thousands of euros, all in the highest denomination bill, many of which have apparently been mutilated as if by scissors.
Destroying or damaging bank notes is not a crime under Swiss law, but ‘there must be something behind this story’ a spokesperson for the Geneva prosecutor’s office Henri Della Casa told Bloomberg. ‘That’s why we started an investigation.’
The first €500 bills were reportedly discovered some months ago in a bathroom close to the bank vault where UBS stores hundreds of safety deposit boxes, according to Tribune de Geneve.
They have since turned up flushed away in restaurants close to the bank, leading to thousands of euros in plumbing bills. A UBS spokesperson contacted by Bloomberg declined to comment.
The €500 euro (£440) bill is being phased out due to its popularity among criminals and terrorists as the highest value bank note in existence, which earned it the nickname of ‘the Bin Laden’.