October 8, 2013 – ‘Security is our business’. This is the motto of the Swiss security printing company Orell Füssli. Business can fail but when it happens to a firm where business is security this is, of course, a terrible reputation damage – and now it has happened to Orell Füssli.
Exactly one year ago, in October 2012, the British Serious Organised Crime Agency informed Swiss police about suspicious looking 1,000-CHF-banknotes in London. Investigations revealed that apparently 1,800 banknotes were stolen from Zurich-based Orell Füssli just before finishing. How the company was able to give this exact number is unclear since the banknotes bear no serial number.
This disaster was communicated only indirectly by the latest profit warning announcing an eventual division drop of 8 million CHF. This is caused by the fact that the national bank accepts the invalid banknotes in exchange for banknotes with the same face value and Orell Füssli is liable for this loss of 1.8 million CHF. Security printing firm Orell Füssli stated that they had not mentioned the misfortune before in consultation with the Swiss security service. Much worse than the material loss is the loss of trust to the Swiss company that has faced a hard time in the last months, already.
You can read more about this here.
Of course Swiss media have reported in detail. For those of you who prefer German, this and this are the articles of Zurich NZZ.
And here you will find a NZZ comment that a theft of this denomination is a testimony to cash inflation.