Several thousand euros were found shredded in Swiss toilets, and no one knows why.
The bathrooms at a branch of the UBS bank in Geneva and three nearby restaurants were stuffed with several €500 bills that had been cut up and flushed. A Swiss newspaper first reported the mystery money, and authorities have confirmed the incident to multiple media outlets.
The Geneva Prosecutor’s Office has reported that two Spanish women were behind the backed-up toilets, but their motive for packing the plumbing with currency is still unclear. The money is not necessarily linked to a crime, but Henri Della Casa, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, believes, “there must be something behind this story.”
Switzerland is not an EU country, and the nation’s currency is the Swiss franc. There’s no law against destroying banknotes in Switzerland, while in the EU destroying small quantities of euros is not a criminal act, though destroying large amounts is prohibited.
The first of the bathroom bills were discovered in a toilet close to a bank vault containing hundreds of safe deposit boxes. A few days later, more banknotes turned up in toilets at three nearby restaurants, requiring thousands of francs in plumbing repairs to unclog the pipes.
Della Casa declined to discuss the case further, as the investigation is ongoing, as did the UBS bank branch, which is located on the Rue de la Corraterie in downtown Geneva. However, some point to the European Central Bank shut down of the production of 500-euro notes last year due to its use in money laundering. The New York Times has reported that “in some circles, criminals refer to the note as a ‘Bin Laden,’ after the former leader of Al Qaeda.” Nevertheless, the bill is still legal tender and is currently in circulation.