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Undeclared cash 'administrative error' costs Sicilian man nearly €19,000

A Sicilian man's failure to declare that he was carrying nearly €23,000 in cash upon his arrival in Malta has cost him €18,737

matthew_agius
Matthew Agius
26 July 2017, 3:03pm
Prosecuting inspector Doriette Cuschieri told the court that a total sum of €22,990 in cash had been seized
Prosecuting inspector Doriette Cuschieri told the court that a total sum of €22,990 in cash had been seized
A Sicilian man's failure to declare that he was carrying nearly €23,000 in cash upon his arrival in Malta has cost him €18,737 of it after a court confiscated a portion of the money and imposed a hefty fine.

Enrico Borrometi, 40, from Pozzallo was arraigned under arrest before magistrate Joseph Mifsud this morning, accused of failing to declare to an amount of cash in excess of €10,000 to customs upon arrival.

Borrometi was charged under the Cash Control Regulations, which were enacted in 2003 under the External Transactions Act.

A police witness told the court that he had been inspecting cars arriving on catamaran from Pozzallo on 14 July and had stopped the accused’s grey Range Rover. When he had asked the driver how much cash he was carrying, the man had declared €9,000.

Officers had inspected the vehicle after the man had presented customs with a roll of €6,500 in notes, he said. Asked where the rest of the cash was, he promptly presented them another wad of cash amounting to €8,500. After the officers informed him that he had to be subjected to a search of his person, another roll of banknotes was handed over.

At no point had the accused demonstrated an intention to declare the money, the witness told the court.

Prosecuting inspector Doriette Cuschieri told the court that a total sum of €22,990 in cash had been seized.

A customs enforcement official exhibited the money that had been seized.

€12,990 – the total minus the €10,000 that one can legally import, were exhibited in court.

Borrometi did not testify and a guilty plea was entered.

Defence lawyer Arthur Azzopardi clarified that the accused owned businesses in both Malta and in Sicily. The money had been withdrawn from his bank account in Italy and was going to be used to pay salaries and suppliers to his Maltese startup. Borrometti’s had been an administrative mistake, he said, which was down to the differences in the laws of the two countries.

But magistrate Mifsud said the law was clear: the punishment for the offence was a fine of 25% of the entire amount being carried, which came to €5,747.50. In addition, the €12,990 being carried in excess of the legal limit was also confiscated in favour of the government. 

However, in order not to prejudice the man’s employees and suppliers, the court allowed Borrometi the maximum grace period permitted by law to pay the fine – three years.

matthew_agius
Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...