The largest denomination of Norwegian currency, the 1,000-kroner notes known as tusenlappen, may soon be phased out as part of an effort to tackle money laundering.
Customs officials seized a record NOK 19 million at border crossings last year, and officials suspect that the cash stems from organized criminal activity. The 1,000-kroner notes (worth about USD 140 each at current exchange rates) are believed to be favoured among smugglers and money launderers because higher values can be carried out of the country in smaller quantities of bills.
Norway’s Finance Ministry is now considering removing the large notes from circulation, to reduce the illegal stream of cash out of Norway. Ministry officials are calling for comment from Norway’s white-collar crime unit Økokrim and the financial regulatory agency Kredittilsynet.
The central bank (Norges Bank), however, has no plans to stop printing 1,000-kroner notes. “We don’t have any reason to believe that economic crime will be lower if we remove the tusenlappen,” Siv Meisingseth of Norges Bank told newspaperAftenposten. Sven Arild Damslora of Kredittilsynet disagrees.
“If we took away the tusenlapp, it would immediately be more physically difficult and costly to smuggle cash,” Damslora said. “It could be one of several steps we can take.”