The UK Border Agency reports that a Romanian man who was caught attempting to leave the UK carrying more than £29,000 in unaccounted for cash has lost the money after failing in an appeal against the UK authorities.
Marian Clipea, 40, had been stopped by UK Border Agency officers at Stansted Airport on 12 February last year when departing on a flight to Bucharest.
Searches found he had hidden £29,385 on his person, in clothing and in his hand luggage. The money was detained under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
On 23 November 2009, magistrates in Ipswich granted a forfeiture order against Clipea of Dambovita, Romania, after he failed to attend the hearing. He was also ordered to pay costs of £2,500, but an appeal against this decision was then submitted.
Clipea claimed he had been loaned the money to buy a heavy goods vehicle in the UK, but that he had been unable to do so. Enquiries by UK Border Agency investigators linked Clipea and the money with haulage companies in Romania suspected of being involved in cigarette smuggling.
Clipea failed to attend Tuesday’s appeal hearing so the evidence was considered in his absence. A judge and two magistrates at Ipswich Crown Court were satisfied that the £29,385 was recoverable property.
Senior investigating officer John Chelchowski, from the UK Border Agency’s criminal and financial investigations team, said:
‘I am pleased that Clipea’s attempts to frustrate the legal system have proved fruitless. These ill gotten gains will now go to the British taxpayer.
‘The UK Border Agency works hard to crack down on people attempting to smuggle crime-related cash out of the country. This result sends out the clear message that they will get caught and they will have their money confiscated.’
To prevent criminals benefiting from the proceeds of crime anyone leaving the UK with more than £1,000 in cash must provide evidence for the source, and intended use, of the money. If there is evidence that the money has not been earned legally they face having it confiscated.
Following court orders any money detained is held for up to six months at a time while investigations are under way. It may then be ordered as forfeit and returned to the public purse if shown to be associated with criminal activity.
Source: UK Border Agency
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