Major banks in Moscow have stopped accepting 5,000-ruble bills through their ATMs because a high volume of counterfeits that evade electronic detection are in circulation.
Sberbank, VTB 24, Bank of Moscow and Alfa Bank have all suspended or restricted acceptance of 5,000-ruble notes in Moscow and the Moscow region. Alfa Bank said its restriction concerns only 5,000-ruble bills issued in 1997, which are apparently the easiest to counterfeit.
The ATMs will start taking the notes again once their detection software is updated, the banks said in separate statements, without specifying how long this might take.
The Central Bank said that the 5,000-ruble bill was the most frequently counterfeited note in the last quarter of 2012, when more than 12,000 counterfeit notes were seized, Noviye Izvestia reported Friday.