Bulk Cash Smuggling in the EU

On an average day in 2012, security agents in France seized $400,600 (€300,000) in cash that was being smuggled in order to avoid taxes. The amount seized in France in 2012 ws 50 percent higher than the amount of cash seized daily in 2011. In the first 3 months of 2013, customs agents in France seized $137 Million (€103 Million) in cash.

In Italy, $165 Million in bulk cash was seized at the country’s five main airports in 2012.  In the first nine months of 2013, the security services of Italy were close to passing that figure for the year.

Between January and November 2013, security agents in Spain seized $23 Million (€17.5) Million in cash.

Criminal justice departments across the European Union state that the rise in cash smuggling seizures stems from the crackdown on tax evasion activities. As countries such as Switzerland open up bank accounts to tax investigations, more people are attempting to move their assets by old-fashion means of transporting cash.

According to EU law, a traveler is allowed to carry up to €10,000 in cash.

(More bulk cash smuggling statistics and money laundering cases.)

Source:  Doreen Carvajal and Raphael Minder, “European Borders Tested as Money Is Moved to Shield Wealth,” New York Times, November 3, 2013.