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Irish 'Mattress Money' Continues To Appear In Run Up To Euro Introduction

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

12 December 2001


The Irish Central Bank announced on Monday that in the run-up to the introduction of the euro, as a result of the re-emergence of money hoarded or hidden for tax evasion puposes, there has been a reversal of demand for currency at what is traditionally the most active shopping period of the year.

Speaking to Reuters earlier this week, a Central Bank spokesman explained the extent of the phenomenon: 'Take last week as typical of the period leading up to Christmas- last year demand in that week grew by 90 million Irish pounds ($101 million), this year it fell by five million,' he revealed, adding: 'Normally we would expect demand for cash to rise by a couple of hundred million in the month but at the moment we're seeing the position go into reverse for the first time ever.'

Although the Central Bank admits that the drop in demand has also partly been due to the global economic slowdown, the trend of increased purchasing of luxury items and property seen in Ireland over the past year has been mirrored in most other 'eurozone' countries. This is because, following the introduction of the euro in January 2002, financial institutions in all twelve of the eurozone countries will be obliged to report customers changing over unusually large sums of national currency to the tax authorities.


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