Exclusive Exclusive: Social Democrats Want to Cap Use of Cash, Drop €500 Bill to Fight Money Laundering

The social democrats, the junior partner in Angela Merkel’s coalition government, want to limit cash transactions in Germany to €5,000 and to dispense with the €500 bill in order to fight money laundering, Handelsblatt has learned. “A cap on hard cash would make Germany less attractive for foreign criminals too,” stated a paper written by the SPD due to be presented Tuesday, which Handelsblatt has seen in advance. “€500 bills appeal to criminals because they are perfect for money laundering and illegal transporting of cash,” said Jens Zimmermann, the SPD’s financial expert. The Social Democrats acknowledged that only the European Central Bank has the power to withdraw €500 bills from circulation. The SPD’s coalition partner, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian democrats, showed little interest in the idea of a cap on cash. The finance ministry, headed by CDU politician Wolfgang Schäuble, would be open to a “uniform European solution,” according to a ministry spokeswoman.   Read the full story in Tuesday’s Handelsblatt Global Edition at 12:00 CET. Photo: Reuters