"Gotcha" -- Coming and Going
A new European Union (EU) law requiring travelers to declare cash comes into force on June 15th. This new law will supposedly combat that all-purpose prosecutor's crime, "money laundering." It seems the busybody EU bureaucrats have finally aped the greedy U.S. money-grabbing police.
Travelers either entering the EU, or traveling from the EU who carry the equivalent of 10,000 (US$13,461) or more will be required to declare the cash when departing from or arriving in the EU. Travelers could face a penalty of up to 5,000 (US$6730.00) if they fail to comply with the obligation to declare, or provide incorrect or incomplete information.
As if criminals really are going to declare they are transporting dirty cash, Dave Humphries, head of the U.K.'s Criminal and Enforcement Policy claimed: "The declaration system is one means of providing information to assist in targeting movements of criminal cash more effectively."
Cash not only means currency notes and coins, but also bankers' drafts and checks of any kind, including travelers' checks and negotiable instruments.
EU officials say they will not detain properly declared cash if they have no reason to doubt its legitimacy. However, cash may be seized if an officer has "reasonable grounds" to suspect that it is either the proceeds of, or is intended for use in, unlawful conduct.
In the United States, this has given the money police the right to seize a large amount of declared cash (US$10,000 or more). The owner then has to spend thousands in legal fees and months trying to get his or her money back -- if he ever does.
Under Draconian U.S. civil forfeiture laws, the police get to keep the cash if its hapless owner can't prove it to be legal money. In other words, money police have a special incentive to grab as much cash as they can.