What are the current regulations?

The Law of 17 July 2013 on protection against counterfeiting and on maintenance of the quality of banknotes in circulation and the Royal Decree of 1 June 2016 implementing that law require entities falling within the scope of the law to:

  • withdraw from circulation all presumably neutralised banknotes (whether presented in a cash transaction or deposited in a banknote handling machine);
  • ensure that these banknotes are not reimbursed;
  • ensure that the identity of the depositor or acquiring account holder is recorded; and
  • return the presumably neutralised banknotes to the National Bank of Belgium in accordance with the procedure which it has defined.

The Decision of the European Central Bank of 19 April 2013 on the denominations, specifications, reproduction, exchange and withdrawal of euro banknotes stipulates that banknotes stained by anti-theft carrying cases (anti-theft devices) must only be exchanged for the victim of the criminal activity or attempted criminal activity that led to staining of the banknotes.  

This Decision also stipulates (Article 3.3) that the NCBs will withhold banknotes for which they know or have sufficient reason to believe that they originate from a criminal offence, against acknowledgement of receipt and present the banknotes as evidence to the competent authorities for criminal investigations.