Venezuela pulls 100-bolivar note from circulation to ‘beat mafia’

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In December 13, 2016
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Source: BBC News: 12 December 2016

The Venezuelan government has announced it will remove the country’s highest-denomination banknote from circulation within 72 hours to combat contraband.

President Nicolas Maduro said the move would stop gangs hoarding the notes. The gangs held more than 300bn bolivares worth of currency, most of it in 100-bolivar notes.

President Maduro said there were “entire warehouses full of 100-bolivar notes in the [Colombian cities of] Cucuta, Cartagena, Maicao and Buaramanga”. He said part of the plan was to block any of the 100-bolivar notes from being taken back into the country so the gangs would be unable to exchange their hoarded bills, making them worthless.

Central bank data suggests there are more than six billion 100-bolivar notes in circulation, making up almost half of all currency.

Venezuelans have only been given 10 days to exchange their 100-bolivar notes for new coins and bills ranging from 500 to 20,000 bolivars due to be introduced from 15 December.

vef100_outPhotograph: Schneyder Mendoza/AFP/Getty Images