Don't bank that Franc
For many years we have waited for this to appear in our media
and behold in the year 2001, here it is. In an article taken from The Sunday
Telegraph, Great Britain, 20 May 2001, we read: "Vite...empty the mattress
-– For years the French have hoarded black economy cash under their beds. But
in six months the franc will cease to exist -– and all the money that can't
be banked must be spent now. As Julian Coman reports from Paris, it is fuelling
an epic spree.
Late last Friday afternoon, Michel Fauvet, a Parisian
decorator, took two calls in quick succession on his mobile phone. Then he
punched the air and said: 'Two more euro-jobs!'
The first call had been from a prominent television producer,
offering M Fauvet a lucrative contract for renovating her apartment in the 16th
arrondissement. The second, minutes later, came from the owner of an
expensive house in the Boulogne district of western Paris. He, too, had plans to
improve his property.
There were conditions attached to both offers. M Fauvet was
told that he must finish the jobs by the end of the year at the latest, before
the launch in January of the single currency's coins and banknotes. He was
also instructed that eventual payment would come in form of a suitcase stuffed
with 'Marie Curies', the Fr500 notes that traditionally circulate on the
French black market.
'It's happening all the time now,' said M Fauvet. His
company employs 20 plasterers, painters and decorators, but he expects to take
on more. Business may never be this good again. 'Of course, we never inquire
where they get all this cash from,' he said.
'These people are clearly desperate to get rid of
hoarded francs before the Euro arrives on January 1 and everyone has to convert.
It's boom time for us. The guy from Boulogne wanted to pay Stg20,000 in
straight cash, two thirds of the total bill. The woman (the TV producer) wants
to pay the whole lot in cash.'
With just over six months to go before the launch of the
single currency, the French have embarked on a desperate and illicit spending
spree of epic proportions...
In Paris, Lionel Jospin's socialist government
contemplates the potential chaos to be unleashed by the introduction of 2.5
billion new banknotes and five billion coins.
All this, though, is of little importance to the Frenchman in
the street, who is too busy spending the black economy banknotes that he -– or
she -– has been hoarding 'under the mattress' for years. Black
money, undeclared income and unexplained earnings are all being furiously
invested before 'E-Day' strikes...
In the January conversion process from Franc to Euro,
ordinary citizens have spotted an altogether more sinister figure lurking at the
heart of the process: the much-feared tax inspector...
In past centuries peasants hid money and gold in old
shoes, mattresses and sock drawers, well away from prying eyes...
According to the Bank of France, an astonishing Stg15 billion
worth of francs is 'missing' in private homes...
From the middle of next February, these notes will no
longer be legal tender. Yet converting them to Euros will be a perilous
affair for dedicated hoarders. In an attempt to prevent money-laundering, banks
are legally obliged to report all deposits of more than Stg5,000 to the tax
authorities. Over the Euro-changing period, which in France will last six
weeks, that ceiling will be raised only slightly, to Stg6,250...
'Euro-jobs' are everywhere. New swimming pools appear
daily in gardens across the south...Painters and decorators cannot keep pace
with the demand...
Wads of notes are waved in the direction of jewellers,
couturiers and the makers of luxury leather bags. Credit cards, though, stay
out of sight in wallets and purses..." (emphases added).
A spokesman for the Association of French Banks said: "'If
a bank even becomes suspicious about a deposit it is legally obliged to tell the
taxman. That's why so many people are panic-buying,'....
'Some of the spending is bordering on the decadent,' said
Christiane Dumont. 'People have started to buy special taps for their
bathrooms which give out coloured jets of water using a fibre-optic thread. You
can have your water green, blue or red.'
Paradoxically, the boom is presenting a tricky problem for
the contractors. Their industry, after all, is one of the mainstays of the black
economy; an industry where cash deals are not uncommon. What are all the
builders, plasterers and plumbers to do with the mountains of francs they are
Florence, who runs a tile shop near Antibes, has her own
solution. 'I've started asking certain customers to pay in Swiss Francs,'
she said. 'At least they will stay outside the Euro-zone and will still be
valid next year. I've already got more French Francs than I know what to do
This is a kind of last hurrah for the Franc." (emphases
Warning. Warning. Warning.
Citizens of other countries, be warned. This is the beginning
of the end of the black economy.
Get ready for the mark of the beast. Revelation 13:16-18: "And
he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a
mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or
sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his
name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the
beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred
threescore and six."