Workers Set to Keep $109,000 Found in Geneva Toilets

(Bloomberg) -- Geneva justice has turned to the old adage “finders-keepers” to resolve one of the odder cases to hit the Swiss city in recent years.

Staff at a cafe and two restaurants found more than 95,000 euros ($109,000) in high-denomination notes in May and June of last year after the owners of the funds tried to dispose of the cash in the toilets. The workers will be able to apply to keep the money after prosecutors closed the case, a spokesman for the Geneva Prosecutor’s office confirmed.

The bizarre affair began after staff at a bank branch of UBS Group AG in downtown Geneva noticed the toilets were clogged on May 11, 2017, according to the Tribune de Geneve, which reported the news earlier on Friday. They found 40,000 euros in torn notes and subsequent bank video footage viewed by police showed silhouettes of three women and a man making multiple trips from a bank vault to the toilets, the paper reported.

A spokesman for the bank declined to comment.

Later that day, 8,500 euros was fished out of the toilets of a patisserie in the same building. And that night, a cleaning lady at the nearby Cafe du Centre found about 26,000 euros, according to the newspaper. The biggest haul of all came a month later when employees of Molino, the pizzeria next door, found 60,000 euros in partly destroyed notes, the paper said.

The finders aren’t quite yet keepers. They must first make a formal application for the funds, which had been sequestered by Geneva authorities while the case remained open, the spokesman explained.

The prosecutors office offered no theories on why the people tried to flush their money. The case was closed after there was no justification for advancing charges against anyone suspected in the case beyond damage to public property. Still the case has left locals scratching their heads, in a town where restaurateurs and shopkeepers don’t bat an eyelid when customers pay with 500-franc or even 1,000-franc notes.

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