Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

$1B in missing bills no mystery to experts

Gangsters believed to hold high-value notes

  • Print

More than 10 years after the $1,000 bill disappeared from circulation, 946,043 of them are still out there, somewhere.

The whereabouts of almost $1-billion worth of the banknotes is a mystery rekindled this month at Quebec's corruption probe when a witness spoke of a safe over-stuffed with cash, including $1,000 notes, inside a political office.

Retired on May 12, 2000, for mostly being used in criminal transactions, any $1,000 note deposited at a bank is destroyed, although the bills -- nicknamed "pinkies" by gangsters because of their colour -- remain legal tender.

Money-laundering experts believe most of the missing bills continue to circulate among criminal elites who use them to pay large debts, with the recipients, in turn, using them to pay their own debts, with only a portion of the notes bleeding off into the legitimate banking system.

"They are used now to pay off IOUs, not as traditional cash. They are used for buying and selling but not for cashing, because they know if they cash them, it is traceable," said Jeffrey Robinson, a New York-based author of several landmark books on money laundering.

The notes were retired as part of the fight against organized crime at the recommendation of the RCMP, said Jeremy Harrison, spokesman for the Bank of Canada.

He said the bank could not speculate about where the missing $1,000 bills are or how they might be used.

At Quebec's Charbonneau commission inquiry into corruption, a former organizer for the Union Montréal said the political party was awash with cash, some of it in $1,000 bills. Martin Dumont said the party's chief fundraiser had a safe in his office so stuffed that he once needed help closing it.

"They were red, brown and pink," Mr. Dumont told the commission, listing the colours of the Canadian $50, $100 and $1,000 bills.

High-denomination bank notes are popular with high-end criminals because they make moving large amounts of cash easier.

Every Canadian bank note weighs the same -- one gram -- and for cash deals as big as those done by drug rings, payment can require a duffle bag.

A $1-million payment in $100 bills, currently the highest-denomination circulating Canadian note, requires 10,000 bills and weighs 10 kilograms.

But in $1,000 bills, it is a manageable 1,000 notes weighing one kilo.

 

-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 17, 2012 B7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Jets This Week: Predicting the line-ups

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Horses enjoy a beautiful September morning east of Neepawa, Manitoba  - Standup Photo– Sept 04, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • KEN GIGLIOTTI  WINNIPEG FREE PRESS / July 23 2009 - 090723 - Bart Kives story - Harry Lazarenko Annual River Bank Tour - receding water from summer rains and erosion  damage by flood  and ice  during spring flooding -  Red River , Lyndale Dr. damage to tree roots , river bank damage  , high water marks after 2009 Flood - POY

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Are you worried Ebola might make its way to Canada?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google