Why Was The Naira Note Featured In Money Heist?

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Money Heist (Original Intro)

Money Heist (or La Casa De Papel) is a Netflix show about a group of very unusual robbers who hit the Factory of Moneda and Timbre to carry out the most perfect attack in the history of Spain and take home 2.4 billion Euros.

Did You Notice The 100 Naira Note?

In the intro to the show, there was a graphic display of the Nigerian 100 Naira note. So I asked a few people what they thought the reasoning behind this was? Is it symbolic in some way?

“I started watching it today and I saw the note even without trying. I wonder how people missed it since it was the only currency shown. As for the reason why they chose Nigerian note, I considered this theory. I said maybe they wanted to show Nigeria’s popularity in dirty dealings since it is a movie about money heist but I discarded that since we are famous for yahoo scams not laid out bank robberies. And I don’t think they would like the negative publicity it would bring.”

Hashimu, Keffi

“I think the illustration of the naira currency on money heist probably was a subtle reference to Nigerian’s stories of bank robberies and corruption, money laundering and stealing.”

Ronke, Wuse

“It shows how easy our banks are to heist. They are porous.”

Jane, Wuse

“I am aware there are several Nigerian notes that are printed abroad, so and since they are doing a movie on a minting organization, they are subtly suggesting that the Royal Mint of Spain prints some of Nigeria’s money. But ultimately, I know it has something to do with the fact that Netflix recently entered Nigeria so they want to entice Nigerian viewers.”

Chibuike, Lagos

“Because Nigerian politicians are the real “money heist”. They don’t rob. Instead, they print like the professor. So the creators have used 100 naira as a feasibility study.”

Michael, Gwarimpa

“This thing you’re asking me now is the reason they used it. To spark up conversations about the movie and break into the Nigerian market/mindset well. Nigeria is actually a huge market for any business venture. Smart guys. It is a nice show too!!!”

Esther, Lagos

“To me, it’s a good thing o. I think it was there as a shout out to Nigeria. Maybe we even have somebody on their team that asked them to put it there.”

Kemi, Garki
Here’s My Take On Why The Naira Note Was Displayed

I agree with most of the things that were said by the interviewees, but I have my ‘hot take’. Money Heist is a show that was created in Spain, which is a country where Nigerians are notorious for being thieves, either through scamming or money laundering. In my opinion, the naira note was included to symbolize stealing. I say this especially because it is a show about stealing. 

“Spain smashes Nigerian ‘CEO swindle’ scammer network”

The Local, Spain, 2016.

“Spanish police said Tuesday they have arrested 84 people who are accused of taking place in a criminal ring that may have laundered €11.5 million euros ($15.5 million) in proceeds from the so-called Nigerian scam, a popular Internet-based fraud.”

The Wall Street Journal, USA, 2014.

“Spanish Police Arrests Ten Nigerians For Alleged E-mail Lottery Scam.”

Spam Fighter, Denmark, 2008.

“A Nigerian fraud ring which tricked some 500 people out of more than a million euros in a year by convincing them they had won the lottery has been busted by Spanish police.”

The Telegraph, UK, 2012.

“It’s time to stop laughing at Nigerian scammers — because they’re stealing billions of dollars.”

The Washington Post, USA, 2018.

The above are all headlines from Spanish newspapers and television stations. Imagine living in Spain and seeing these news headlines almost every time. According to Scam Watch, 341 people have lost up to 480,310 euros to Nigerian scammers between January and June.

How Scammers Operate

Nigerian scams are known as 419 scams because the name comes from the section of Nigeria’s Criminal Code which outlaws the practice. Although these scams now come from anywhere in the world.

419 scammers will tell you a complex story about large amounts of their money trapped in banks during events such as civil wars or coups. They may also tell you about a large inheritance that is inaccessible to them because of government restrictions or taxes in their country. They will then offer you a large sum of money to help them transfer their personal fortune out of the country.

Scammers may ask for your bank details to help them transfer the money and use this information to later steal your funds. These fees may start out as small amounts but if paid, the scammer may make up new fees that require payment before you can receive your reward. They will keep asking for more money as long as the victim is willing to part with it.

Money Laundering In Nigeria

Money laundering is defined as the “concealment of the source, nature, existence, location and disposition of money and/or property obtained illegally or from criminal activities such as embezzlement, drug trafficking, prostitution, corruption, and large scale crime.”

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) revealed that Nigerian Politicians have in the past, stolen about 521 billion dollars and hid it in foreign banks. While past military rulers of the country laundered about 400 billion dollars.

A popular case of money laundering in Nigeria is the case of the Federal Republic of Nigeria vs. James Ibori & 5 others. The EFCC charged James Ibori who was governor of Delta State from 1999 to 2007 with embezzlement of money from the state treasury and laundering the same through associates to the UK, thereby breaking the provisions of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act (2004) of Nigeria.

Famous Bank Robbery

The most viral robbery video out of Nigeria was the Offa bank Robbery. The attack was a robbery which led to the death of 33 people. It was carried out in four commercial banks on April 4, 2018, at Offa local government area of Kwara State.

What Do You Think?

Film has always been a medium used to send subtle messages to the intended audience. Do you think it was appropriate for the naira note to be included in this context? Was this Spain’s way of showing that they are tired of Nigerians’ behaviors? Was it in reverence or slander?

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