The thousand franc banknote (CHF1,000) from Switzerland is the most valuable in the world, worth around US $1,000. But its legitimate use, and other high value banknotes, has been questioned for some time due its link with financial crime and tax evasion.
There have been several reports and statements made recently by those who believe such high value notes make it easier for terrorists and thieves to carry cash or to launder money, as stated by Switzerland’s left-wing Social Democrat parliamentarian Margret Kiener Nellen.
According to Swiss reports, a written reply to these comments was posted yesterday by the Swiss government. It said that it was aware of the risks involved with high value banknotes, but felt it had taken the necessary steps to limit abuses.
By explanation, it was argued that both withdrawals and deposits in Switzerland require the existence of a bank account. Since January, anyone who trades goods worth in excess of CHF100,000 using cash must comply with special due diligence regulations.
The government also stated that the Money Laundering Reporting Office (MLROS) had not received any information regarding the illegal use of high value banknotes.
According to the government, the use of the Swiss thousand franc banknote was part of a trend in Switzerland towards cash payments and the public’s suspicion of the banknote system since the financial crisis.
“The use of cash is an integral part of Swiss Culture”, Swiss government
The decision to keep the Swiss thousand franc banknote contrasts with several other countries who have stopped circulating their high value banknotes to help limit financial crime and tax evasion. The Bank of Canada stopped producing their $1,000 banknote in 2000, the Monetary Authority of Singapore stopped their $10,000 and, just recently, the European Central Bank has announced that production of the €500 banknote will stop in 2018.