Last week UK Border Agency officers seized approximately £27,000 in cash from a British man as he was leaving the country at London City Airport.
The officers discovered the money, which was in euros, when they stopped and searched the 26-year-old from Swindon just before he boarded a flight to Barcelona on Wednesday 13 October.
The man claimed that he was going to live abroad, and said the money had been earned from cash-in-hand employment – for which no tax or National Insurance would have been paid.
The money was detained under the Proceeds of Crime Act, and will only be returned if he can prove to a court that it came from a legitimate source.
Anyone leaving the UK with more than £1,000 in cash must provide evidence if the source and intended use of the money, or it may be detained. This is to prevent the proceeds of criminality being hidden in bank accounts and other assets overseas, and to prevent the theft of money from the public purse through unpaid tax.
On Thursday 14 October Crawley Magistrates Court granted an order to hold the cash for a further 6 months while the investigation continues.
Senior investigating officer Tim Fleming from our criminal and financial investigations team said:
‘UK Border Agency officers are working hard at all our ports to prevent drugs, contraband or the potential proceeds of crime from entering or leaving the UK.
‘Where we suspect that cash may be linked with criminal activity, we have the power to seize it, and it will only be handed back if it is later proven to be legitimate.’
Following a court order, money detained can be held for up to 6 months at a time while investigations are underway. It may then be ordered as forfeit and returned to the public purse if shown to be associated with criminal activity.
In 2009/10, UK Border Agency officers seized £11.9million from passengers at ports across the UK.
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