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'Green madness' as dollars found at Argentina dump

By Agence France-Presse Published Aug 01, 2022 9:33 am

Hundred-dollar bills drifting in the air and buried under trash: a "green fever" has struck an Argentinian town where residents have gathered a small fortune believed to have been hidden in a closet discarded at the local dump.

Unconfirmed reports of more than $75,000 collected at the dump at Las Parejas in central Argentina in recent days have piqued such frenetic interest that authorities have had to close the facility.

"A friend got out of his truck and saw a crisp $100 bill on the ground. It struck us because it was in impeccable condition," said Federico Baez, one of the greenback beneficiaries.

"We each started to grab a share. It was like a game, to see who could grab the most bills. We got about $10,000 between the six of us," Baez told AFP.

"Then another kid came along and found $25,000, he was luckier. I think there must be much more buried," he added.

It is not known whether the finders will be allowed to keep their loot.

A popular theory doing the rounds on social media is that the money was hidden in a secret compartment of a closet that was thrown out after its owner died without heirs.

In Argentina, which has long been wracked by high inflation and where there is deep distrust in the banking system, it is common for people to keep cash savings in dollars in their homes.

Las Parejas mayor Horacio Compagnucci said his town had been struck by what he called "green madness."

"In a context in which the country is having a difficult time from an economic point of view, the word 'dollar' is on everyone's lips," he told AFP.

Argentines have been living under exchange controls since 2019 as the government seeks to shore up foreign reserves.

The rules have become increasingly strict, to the point where each individual is allowed to buy no more than $200 a month.

The unusual find in Las Parejas has also given rise to numerous memes, including one of President Alberto Fernandez and his deputy Cristina Kirchner digging in the rubbish for cash. (AFP)