Euro cash

Big money

A bridge too far

The counterfeiters

UK euro notes

Tons of money

The Queen's head

Trouble at the mint

A cent is a cent

The launch of EMU

Back to Euro facts

BBC News Online

. The 500 euros note (around $570) is the biggest bank note of them all - and not everybody is happy about that. Banknotes as large as this make the euro very portable, and that could make it the currency of choice for the world's tax cheats and money launderers.

One million dollars might not buy as many drugs as it used to, but the banknotes are still the same size and in $100 bills they would fill a large suitcase. One million dollars worth of euros however, in 500 euro bills, would fit into a largish handbag.

The Financial Action Task Force, the anti money laundering authority which represents most members of the OECD, has suggested rationing these large denomination notes, although the final decision rests with the European Central Bank.

The idea to print such a valuable bank note comes from Germany, where banknotes worth 500 and 1,000 Deutschmarks are in wide use. By some estimates up to a third of all cash in circulation in Germany was in 1,000 Deutschmark notes.