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Central Bank still exchanging €10k worth of punts every day

The Minister for Justice has said that there’s nothing suspicious about people exchanging their punts for euro more than ten years after the changeover.

Image: Photocall Ireland

TEN YEARS AFTER the changeover to the euro, the Central Bank is still exchanging more than €10,000 from punts to euro every day.

However the Minister for Justice has said that there is nothing suspicious about people waiting this long to exchange their money.

Some €2.6 million was exchanged from punts to euro at the Central Bank in 2011.  The annual cost of providing the exchange service and facilitating for the disposal of used punts is estimated to be €368,600, based on figures from 2010.

Alan Shatter told the Dáil said that the gardaí have not received any reports about suspicious activity regarding the exchange of money from punts to euros.  Ireland and other eurozone countries switched to the euro on 1 January 2002 but the Central Bank will continue to exchange all Irish banknotes and coins indefinitely.

Labour TD Kevin Humphreys had questioned whether the gardaí were monitoring the exchange process or if there was any explanation for the large sums being exchanged.

“I would be worried about the large amounts being exchanged on a daily basis – it could be cash proceeds of criminal activity being converted to euro over a long period,” the Dublin South East TD said to TheJournal.ie this morning.

“It would be useful to know what other countries in the Eurozone are doing”. Humphreys also expressed concern at the large annual cost of providing the exchange facility.

The Minister for Justice said that the Central Bank continues to monitor the changeover process. He told the Dáil:

“I am informed that An Garda Síochána has not received any recent reports from the Central Bank regarding any suspicion attached to the exchange of money from punts to euros”.

“I am also advised the by Minister for Finance that he has been informed by the Central Bank that some €10,000 is exchanged from punts to euros at the Central Bank of Ireland on a daily basis. The Central Bank is satisfied of the legitimacy of the level of exchange which is derived from various sources”.

“I am further informed that the Central Bank continuously monitors this process to ensure the provision of a secure public service including appropriate procedures to notify the authorities of any suspicious transactions”.

New €2 coin commemorates 10 years of the euro >

Previously: Imperfect 10 – The euro was introduced a decade ago today >

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