Members of the European Parliament have backed plans for tougher checks on cash coming in and out of the European Union in an attempt to stop the proceeds of crime financing terrorist activity.
The European Union’s Civil Liberties and Economic Affairs committee has backed tough new checks on cash coming into and leaving the bloc in every form, with the definition of the term widened to include precious stones, metal, gold and prepaid credit cards — anyone acting suspiciously carrying less than 10,000 euros will also face having their money impounded.
The new rules repeal the First Cash Control Regulation (CCR) introduced in 2005 which required individuals to declare quantities of cash over US$11,800 (10,000 euros) as they left or entered the EU.
“Large sums of cash, be it banknotes or gold bullion are often used for criminal activities such as money laundering, or terrorist financing. With this legislation, we give our authorities the tools they need to improve their fight against those crimes,” Mady Delvaux co-rapporteur said.
MEPs also backed plans to make it mandatory to disclose so called “unaccompanied” cash set by cargo.
Delvaux also repeated her call for a new EU Financial Intelligence Unit to be set up following reports Daesh terrorists frequently transport cash amounts of around US$8,300 (7,000 euros) to avoid detection.
Despite the adoption of the draft law to prevent money being transferred around the EU, the European Parliament is still unable to manage the risk posed by cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.
Virtual currencies, like Bitcoin exist on the Internet and often beneath the authorities’ radar. However, some countries have moved to or are considering legalization of the regulated trade in Bitcoin.
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“Despite the high risk posed by virtual currencies, such as Bitcoin, these are not included in the definition of “cash” — customs authorities lack the resources to monitor them,” Delvaux said.