As a rule, individuals should only travel with large amounts of cash when it is absolutely necessary, otherwise using the banking system wherever possible
While we are in the age of digital payments, many individuals and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) continue to conduct business in cash. This is more prevalent in cases where business dealings are carried out abroad, as a means of circumventing the notorious exchange fees of card and bank transactions. This is not illegal, and there are no strict requirements to declare large amounts of cash when traveling within Europe. However, it is unsurprising that authorities have a heightened sensitivity to the potential of cash being ill-gotten from criminality or being used to fund criminal conduct.
Chapter 3 of part 5 of the UK’s Proceeds of Crime Act, 2002, provides for ‘recovery of cash in summary proceedings’, by clearly stating, “A customs officer, a constable or an accredited financial investigator may seize cash if he has reasonable grounds for suspecting that it is… recoverable property [derived from criminal conduct], or intended by any person for use in unlawful conduct.”1
Matters which may cause or increase an officer’s ‘suspicion’ and lead to seizure of cash include concealing the cash, the amount of cash (if large), any weak reasons for not using the banking system to transfer the money, any lack of cogency of the explanation provided at the time, and most importantly, what documentary evidence is carried with the cash to show its provenance and intended purpose.
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