ATHENS -Greece swaps a record-breaking debt this week which were overshadowed by the equivalent of 240 million euro’s unclaimed, in exchange for now-obsolete Greek drachmas.
Nearly 82 billion drachmas ($320 million) in banknotes were unaccounted for when the deadline for withdrawal ended on March 1 by the Bank of Greece, said Kathimerini daily. Drachma coins had an acceptance deadline of March 2004.
Most of the higher-value banknotes that were worth 10,000 and 5,000 drachmas have been cashed in over the past 10 years, but many 50 and 100- drachma notes were kept as souvenirs by Greeks and millions of tourists who visited the country over the years, reported the newspaper Kathimerini daily.
On January 1, 2002 the euro replaces the drachma as Greece’s legal tender.
The drachma was first introduced by ancient Greeks, and was introduced by the modern Greek state in 1832 after the Ottoman Empire- the country’s war of independence.
Greece on Friday completed a deal with private creditors to erase 107 billion euro’s of it’s debt in a bond swap of unprecedented value that is crucial for its economic survival.