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Customs catch Iranian with €54 million cheque

Published: 01 Feb 2013 15:42 GMT+01:00

The man had hardly bothered to hide his loot, which was stashed in the side pocket of his hand luggage.

Customs officials randomly checked the 59-year-old's bag as he got off a flight from Turkey which landed at Dusseldorf airport in western Germany on Friday morning. The man had stopped over in Turkey on his way to Germany from Iran.

When asked how much money he was carrying, the man declared that he was carrying less than €10,000 in cash.

Yet German officials found a cheque made by the Venezuelan state-owned bank, Banco de Venezuela, made out for 300 million Venezuelan bolívares - about €54 million - in the side pocket of his hand luggage.

The man had indeed only been carrying €5,000 in cash in various currencies, but passengers entering the EU are required to declare any cash or assets - including securities such as cheques, travellers cheques, savings certificates, shares - worth more than €10,000.

Passengers must do this regardless of whether they are directly asked to do so.

As the man was unable to tell the officials anything about the cheque, the intended recipient or the reason for money being transferred, customs officials said on Friday they had confiscated the document due to suspicion of money-laundering.

The unnamed Iranian traveller will now face charges of having committed an administrative offence - of not declaring assets over €10,000 and if he is found guilty could be fined up to €1 million.

DPA/DAPD/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

17:45 February 1, 2013 by yllusion
I wonder if the Customs will have enough change for the iranian man if he decides to pay this 1 M€ fine with his check.
19:05 February 1, 2013 by raandy
yllusion No Way, they will want there 30% and he will remain in custody until they make change.
19:33 February 1, 2013 by lucksi
Hey, let that man free. The attorneys from my dead Nigerian relative said that they would be using this form of transportation for the cheque.
20:36 February 1, 2013 by Englishted
Must be a banker with his bonus.
21:42 February 1, 2013 by pepsionice
And? How many guys transit Germany each year with bank checks? I'd bet 1k per week. Go back and review the story with Don Johnson from a decade ago. People just fail to understand the new method of moving money....forget briefcases or electronic transfers....these checks fit into a notebook and you just walk through.
21:47 February 1, 2013 by Berlin fuer alles
Must have been one of those giant cheques that get presented to lotto winners or some such.
01:13 February 2, 2013 by IchBinKönig
It was a check made out to Al Gore for Current TV.
03:40 February 2, 2013 by DOZ
That buys a lot of German Assault Rifles.
13:59 February 2, 2013 by Vargaz
Its the printing plate fantasy design for both the new Iranian loo paper currency and the Venezuelan Bolivar papeles de banos.
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