Here is a hilarious story by Stephen Fidler of The Wall Street Journal on how gangsters using the Euro for money laundering are a major factor in keeping the struggling currency alive. The key? Allowing higher denominations that encourage smugglers to concentrate their stashes in fewer, lighter stacks.
In 1998, then-U.S. Treasury official Gary Gensler worried publicly about the competition to the $100 bill, the biggest U.S. bank note, posed by the big euro notes and their likely use by criminals. He pointed out that $1 million in $100 bills weighs 22 pounds; in hypothetical $500 bills, it would weigh just 4.4 pounds.
Police forces have found the big euro notes in cereal boxes, tires and in hidden compartments in trucks, says Soren Pedersen, spokesman for Europol, the European police agency based in The Hague. "Needless to say, this cash is often linked to the illegal drugs trade, which explains the similarity in methods of concealment that are used."
This is another example of two powerful news trends. 1. Any story is better if it involves organized criminals embarrassing the government and 2. There are great stories just sitting there waiting for reporters to notice them. Anyone could have tracked this information down but I haven't seen anyone other than Fidler actually do it.
Considering how many stories we read on the same topics over and over again in the major business media, we could stand to have a few more imaginative ones like this.