Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Euro Pains. (Briefing)

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Euro Pains. (Briefing)

Article excerpt

It used to be known as "the Isle of saints and scholars," but euro conversion is showing up Ireland's shadow side.

While criminals in Ireland are reportedly busy Laundering cash that will soon cease being legal tender, an Irish man Living in Spain is sitting on a euro stockpile not rightfully his.

Stories of these unrelated incidents read like fairy tales for bank customers. The first wish come true is an interest-free loan, the second a major accidental credit to your account by the bank.

The interest-free loans are being offered by criminals who will accept repayment in euros as sufficient compensation for being able to unload their stash of Irish currency. By next month it will effectively be useless to them as businesses will no longer accept the Irish pound, or "punt."

The Criminal Assets Bureau of the Irish police is investigating activity by drug rings in Dublin and Limerick cities. Gangs reportedly are approaching local households with loans of up to [pounds sterling]3,000, which will be interest-free provided that repayments are made in euros.

Only banks, which have been placed on heightened alert for money laundering, will accept the punt after Feb. 9. A spokesperson for Bank of Ireland, one of the country's two dominant banks, said, "We have been asked to be particularly vigilant in the run-up to euro conversion." No monetary threshold has been set as suspicious, she said, "It's knowledge-based. …

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