German banknotes have been falling to pieces due to a mysterious acid attack in recent months, a central bank spokesman said on Thursday.Police are investigating why more than 1,000, banknotes worth between five and 100 euros (three and 67 pounds) have crumbled shortly after being withdrawn from cash machines, said Bundesbank spokesman Wolf-Ruediger Bengs.
“We’ve never seen a case like this,” he said.
The first incident was reported in Berlin in June. Tests have shown the notes were contaminated with a powerful acid, and the Bundesbank has ruled out problems with the printing process.
“At the moment it’s still unclear if we’re talking about unintentional damage or a conscious manipulation,” the spokesman added.
German mass-market newspaper Bild-Zeitung said contaminated notes had now surfaced in 17 German towns. It quoted a chemicals expert who said the notes had probably been dusted with a salt which turned into acid on contact with sweat.
The bank did not say whether the acid could burn the skin. – reuters