Man tries to fly from Düsseldorf airport with €870,000 in cash

A man tried to take a flight from Düsseldorf Airport in western Germany carrying almost €870,000 in bank notes that were stashed between books.

Man tries to fly from Düsseldorf airport with €870,000 in cash
The money was stashed in books. Photo: Zollfahndung Essen

On November 10th, police officers at the airport noticed a suitcase with 10 cash packages, totalling  €634,000 which were stuffed between books, reported the Customs Investigation Office based in Essen.

The suitcase was owned by a 26-year-old Frenchman of Chinese descent, who was planning to travel from Düsseldorf via Russia to China.

The suitcase was then handed over to officers of the main customs office in Düsseldorf, while they quizzed the passenger.

It was then established that the man had another suitcase. This contained another five cash parcels totaling €223,960 and disguised as books. In his wallet, the passenger also had over €6000 euros in cash.

The French passenger had therefore not only failed to properly register a total of €864,415 in cash when trying to leave Germany, but he had also tried to hide the cash, prompting suspicion of money laundering activity.

Authorities initiated administrative offence proceedings against the man for failure to declare cash on departure.

The cash was hidden away in books. Photo: Zollfahndung Essen.

Furthermore, the man was unable to provide any information on where the money came from, the owner or the intended use of the cash. He reportedly stated that the money did not belong to him and that he had collected it from various Chinese nationals.

As a result, the Joint Financial Investigation Group of Customs and Police took over the case to investigate if there was anything illegal concerning the cash in addition to the failure to declare it.

Although the traveller was able to continue his journey, the money was seized until the circumstances surrounding it could be clarified.

According to EU laws, if you enter or leave the EU with €10,000 or more in cash, you must declare it and its origins to Customs.

These regulations are in place to help investigators detect any illegal activity involving high volumes of cash, such as drug trafficking or money laundering.

SEE ALSO: Money laundering in Germany behind high housing prices, terrorism: intelligence unit

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German police under fire for using tracing app to find witnesses

German police drew criticism Tuesday for using an app to trace contacts from bars and restaurants in the fight against the pandemic as part of an investigation.

A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant.
A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

The case stemming from November last year began after the fatal fall of a man while leaving a restaurant in the western city of Mainz.

Police seeking possible witnesses made use of data from an app known as Luca, which was designed for patrons to register time spent in restaurants and taverns to track the possible spread of coronavirus.

Luca records the length of time spent at an establishment along with the patron’s full name, address and telephone number – all subject to Germany’s strict data protection laws.

However the police and local prosecutors in the case in Mainz successfully appealed to the municipal health authorities to gain access to information about 21 people who visited the restaurant at the same time as the man who died.

After an outcry, prosecutors apologised to the people involved and the local data protection authority has opened an inquiry into the affair.

“We condemn the abuse of Luca data collected to protect against infections,” said the company that developed the Luca app, culture4life, in a statement.

It added that it had received frequent requests for its data from the authorities which it routinely rejected.

Konstantin von Notz, a senior politician from the Greens, junior partners in the federal coalition, warned that abuse of the app could undermine public trust.

“We must not allow faith in digital apps, which are an important tool in the fight against Covid-19, to disappear,” he told Tuesday’s edition of Handelsblatt business daily.