"The euro has become the currency of choice for Latin American cocaine traffickers as the drug's popularity among Europeans has soared and the value of the currency against the dollar has risen," the International Herald Tribune learned from a top U.S. anti-narcotics official.
Traffickers are drawn by bigger profits on the European street, where a kilogram of cocaine sells for about $50,000, compared with $30,000 in the United States, officials say. Donald Semesky, chief of financial operations for the U.S. agency [Drug Enforcement Administration] said 90 percent of the €1.7 billion in euro currency - equivalent to $2.3 billion - registered as having entered the United States in 2005 came through Latin America, where drug cartels launder their European proceeds. (...)
Spain has become a European leader in money laundering and is home to about 25 percent of all €500 notes - known locally as Bin Ladens - in the eurozone, according to figures published last year by the Spanish central bank.