No, Argentina Is Not Issuing A 1000 Peso Note Featuring Lionel Messi
BOOM spoke to Fernando Alonso, Senior Manager of Communications at the BCRA who refuted the viral claim, calling it fake.
Viral posts falsely claim that Argentina is going to print new currency notes with footballer Lionel Messi's face on them. BOOM found that the claim is false and spoke to a spokesperson of the country's central bank, the Banco Central De La República Argentina (BCRA), who said there was no such plan to print currency notes in honour of Messi, in the works.
The claim is being shared with mock up photos of a 1000 Argentine peso note with Messi's face on one side and a photo of the Argentina national football team lifting the FIFA World Cup trophy on the other.
Lionel Messi led Argentina to victory at the FIFA World Cup 2022 against France in a nail-biting match on December 18. By defeating France in the penalty shootout (4-2), the Argentine team brought the trophy home for the third time, after a wait of 36 years.
Several Indian outlets and Instagram accounts reported the false claim citing El Financerio, an Argentina-based news outlet. While El Financiero did carry a report about the same, in their story they also added that the BCRA officials made the proposal to use Messi's face for their new 1000 Argentine pesos banknote in jest. This explanation was omitted by the news outlets citing El Financiero and the false claims that went viral believing the news to be true.
Sportskeeda, a sports outlet in India has carried the report without mentioning that the proposal was made as a joke.
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Posts on Facebook are claiming the notes have already been issued. One caption reads, "Argentina has released a 1000 peso commemorative note featuring Leo Messi's image, with his signature; after winning the World Cup"
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The post is also viral on Twitter with the same caption.
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BOOM found that the image has been edited, and no such note has been issued by the BCRA and there is no such plan in place either.
We reached out to Fernando Alonso, Senior Manager of Communications and Community Relations at the BCRA, who rubbished the viral claims, calling them "fake."
Speaking to BOOM, Alonso said, "There is no truth in this," and further added, "This topic is not on the work agenda."
We then went through the report by El Financiero and translated the story from Spanish to English. According to the translation, the story is headlined, "Will we have a thousand-peso bill with Messi's face for the Argentine title?" It speaks about the Argentina's win at the FIFA World Cup and mentions that the country released commemorative coins after winning its first World Cup in 1978.
It then goes on to add that members of the Argentine Central Bank "jokingly proposed" that they could have Lionel Messi's face on the thousand-peso bill, "since it is important for officials that the figure begins with a '10'."
The story states, "And before you think otherwise, this option was 'jokingly' proposed by members of the Argentine Central Bank, although the most enthusiastic directors, such as Lisandro Cleri, a fervent supporter of Boca Juniors, and Eduardo Hecker, a follower of Independiente, agreed on that a banknote with this design would awaken the collecting spirit of Argentines."
We also found a story by Chequeado, an Argentina based fact checking organisation which also debunked this claim. The fact checker quoted a spokesperson from the BCRA's press team, as saying, "there is no information about this supposed 1000-peso bill in tribute to Messi."
Further, a report by Bloomberg Línea quoted sources at the Casa de la Moneda, the Argentine mint, who refuted the viral claim adding that they were "surprised" that it was circulating online.
We checked the BCRA's website and found that the last Argentine 1000 pesos banknote was issued in December 2017. According to their website, the note features Rufous hornero, the national bird of Argentina, and was the fourth bill out of six that were issued as part of their series called "Argentina's native fauna."
More information on the note can also be found in this video:
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