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Port and airport customs seize nearly €9m in seven years

Revenue data shows that courts have seized €4.85m in criminals’ cash since 2005, while officers have seized €8.9m in that time.

Irish customs officers, like those in the UK, use sniffer dogs to identify large sum of cash stored in luggage.
Irish customs officers, like those in the UK, use sniffer dogs to identify large sum of cash stored in luggage.
Image: ukhomeoffice via Flickr

REVENUE CUSTOMS OFFICIALS have seized almost €9m in illegally-held cash from people trying to board flights or boats leaving Ireland, new figures have shown.

Data provided by Revenue shows that that officers have seized €8.87m at ports and airports, in 182 seizures since the beginning of 2005.

During the same period, Irish courts have ordered the forfeiture of €4.85m in cash, in 66 different cases, where the cash seized has been shown to have links to criminality.

The data showed that the number of detections peaked in 2008, when officers seized almost €3.5m across 37 various occasions, while the number of court-ordered forfeitures peaked in 2010.

The figures include the two seizures in Dublin Airport yesterday, which saw customs staff seize €22,500 from two passengers bound for the Netherlands.

Revenue said that cash was seized at airports or ports when it was suspected of representing the proceeds of crime, or when it was intended for use in criminal conduct.

A spokesman for the service said that detection and seizure figures should not be compared between years on a like-for-like basis, as many court-enforced forfeitures represented cash seized in previous years.

Officers use profiling and risk analysis techniques to identify the suspicious movements of passengers, which the spokesman said often led to the discovery of cash or other prohibited goods and substances.

Cash detector dogs are also used to detect large quantities of cash stored in a user’s luggage.

Under European law it is illegal for a person entering or leaving the EU to carry more than €10,000 in cash without making a customs declaration upon departure and arrival.

The cash seizure figures in full

15 detections, €516,169
8 forfeitures, €462,225

11 detections, €723,434
2 forfeitures, €25,383

17 detections, €493,365
3 forfeitures, €52,111

37 detections, €3,481,333
8 forfeitures, €340,960

34 detections, €1,378,331
7 forfeitures, €411,975

46 detections, €1,711,490
24 forfeitures, €2,201,551

2011 (to date)
22 detections, €566,632
14 forfeitures, €1,357,780

Totals since 2005:
182 detections, €8,870,754
66 forfeitures, €4,851,985

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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