If you are traveling and you have a considerable amount of money with you, declare it to customs. During holidays seasons, these informational events are repeatedly featured on radio and television. But what happens if you want to take an amounth of money higher than 10,000 euros anyway and don’t declare it?
In December 2019, client and his family will fly from Airport Eindhoven to their vacation destination. At that time, he has an amount of money from all involved in his bag, which is slightly more than 10,000 euros. During the inspection, customs finds the amount of money. Eventually, his brother and client are detained for taking a statement. Both are suspected of money laundering.
In money laundering cases, the defendant is expected to be able to provide an explanation of where the money came from. According to established case law, the statement about the origin of the object must be concrete, more or less verifiable and not highly improbable in advance. At first instance, statements from witnesses are submitted, showing how client obtained the amount of money. Yet he is convicted of (culpable) money laundering by the police judge, while his brother is acquitted.
On appeal, the witnesses’ statements are again introduced. Unlike the police judge, the Court of Appeals reached an acquittal. Like the defense, the Court finds that the prosecution failed to disprove the explanation given by the defendant for the origin of the amounth of money such that a criminal origin of it could be considered the only acceptable explanation. In addition, the prosecution did not conduct additional research into the statements that were introduced. This makes it plausible that the origin of the money amount has a legal source.
Moral of the story: be careful and don’t take more than 10,000 euros with you during a trip. If you do, notify Customs in advance to save yourself a criminal trial.
Are you involved in money laundering and need legal advice? If so, please contact a criminal lawyer.