Quite legally: He is a money launderer at the Bundesbank


The bills stink of mud, oil and feces. Since the flood in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, more than 50 million euros have been handed over to the branches of the Bundesbank!

Experts like Simon Schimetschka (43) are doing everything they can to ensure that the cash saved by the flood victims is not finally lost. Last Friday, Bild am Sonntag was at the National Analysis Center for Counterfeit Money and Damaged Cash in Mainz and looked at the work.


The stuck notes cannot be counted like this

The stuck notes cannot be counted like thisPhoto: Reinhard Roskaritz

“We are 15 clerks instead of the previous six. We have to be quick, otherwise the notes will be as hard as concrete, ”explains Schimetschka. According to the Bundesbank, there have been 700 submissions so far. The highest private deposit so far was “in the seven-digit range”, according to Sven Bertelmann (39), head of the analysis center. So at least one million euros!

Each submission is packed separately, sent to Mainz and checked for authenticity. Schimetschka separates the banknotes by hand in the laboratory, under a large hood with a filter: “The problem is that we don’t know whether the notes are contaminated with heating oil or other harmful substances.”


Every banknote is checked for authenticity

Every banknote is checked for authenticityPhoto: Reinhard Roskaritz

In addition, the dirty money sticks together so tightly that machine counting is impossible. The dirt is then carefully removed with a damp sponge. Schimetschka: “We used to let the banknotes dry on kitchen paper. Now that’s no longer possible because of the mass. “


There is up to 200,000 euros in a dryer load.  There is also a scent ball in the drum so that the money doesn't stink

There is up to 200,000 euros in a dryer load. There is also a scent ball in the drum so that the money doesn’t stinkPhoto: Reinhard Roskaritz

The solution: two commercially available dryers! In them, the notes are dried at 40 to 60 degrees in around two hours – with “anti-crease”. That can be 200,000 euros per charge! The four-eyes principle applies to all steps. That’s why there are always two employees who wash, dry and smooth the bills with a brick.


There is up to 200,000 euros in a dryer load.  There is also a scent ball in the drum so that the money doesn't stink

Two commercially available dryers remove the moisture from the flood moneyPhoto: Reinhard Roskaritz


Washed and dried: Now the money is smoothed with a brick

Washed and dried: Now the money is smoothed with a brickPhoto: Reinhard Roskaritz


Quite legally: He is a money launderer at the Bundesbank
Photo: BILD

The contaminated notes are finally incinerated at a specialist company in Ludwigshafen. The Bundesbank wants to reimburse private individuals four to six weeks after the money has been handed in. Usually by bank transfer.

There is a special offer for older flood victims who like to have their money in their hands in cash. Bertelmann: “We’ll be happy to offer cash withdrawals.”

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