Valletta customs officials seize €15,000 in cash found hidden inside car en route to Sicily

Two men were found to have underdeclared the amount of cash they were carrying by some €9000

Two men under-declared the amount of cash in their possession
Two men under-declared the amount of cash in their possession

Customs Anti Money Laundering officers conducting currency checks at the the Valletta seaport, have seized over €15,000 after a false declaration was made by two Italian nationals, the first time since a change in the law allowing them to do so was introduced.

AMLT Customs officials had approached the men’s vehicle at the Catamaran's departure point, while it was queuing to embark the Catamaran. The officials asked the two passengers if they had anything to declare, to which they responded in the negative. When asked to declare how much money they were each carrying they replied €6,000 and €35 respectively.

An inspection of the vehicle and the belongings of both passengers was carried out and €15,320  were discovered with wads of cash hidden under the vehicle's seat and in the luggage. Customs Officials opted not to offer an out of court settlement and all the cash was seized pending investigation into the false declaration given to the officers.

Last year, the law, Cash Control Regulations -SL 233.07, had been amended  to enable Customs to detain any cash, whatever its value, whether it is being carried or unaccompanied, and whether it has been declared or not, where there are indications that the cash is related to criminal activity.   This will allow Customs to retain cash for a determined period pending investigations. This is the first time that this change in law has been made use of.