Swiss bank and restaurant toilets clogged by $137k cash

Money, Switzerland
Would you stick your hand in the bowl for free cash? Photo credit: Getty

Swiss prosecutors are investigating, after toilets in a bank and three restaurants in Geneva were blocked by high-denomination euro banknotes worth about NZ$137,000.

"We are not so interested in the motive, but we want to be sure of the origin of the money," spokesman Vincent Derouand said on Monday (local time), adding that neither throwing money away nor blocking a toilet was a crime.

The Tribune de Geneve newspaper, which first reported the unusual deposit, said the first blockage occurred in the toilet serving the UBS bank vault in Geneva's financial district and three nearby bistros found their facilities bunged up with €500 notes a few days later.

Mr Derouand said two people had agreed to compensate the restaurants for the cost of the blockages and the restaurants had withdrawn a complaint that they made when the incident happened in May.

The cash was confiscated during the investigation and it was unclear who would profit, if it was found to be lawful. There was no immediate reason to think it was dirty money, Mr Derouand added.

Last year, the European Central Bank decided to discontinue the €500 note by the end of 2018, because it was being used too often for illicit activities, including money laundering.