Finance Ministry/Customs: Passenger attempts to export EUR 46 000 for Cairo apartment purchase

Prior to departing for Cairo on 5 August 2021, a passenger had literally stuffed his pouches full, for airport customs found him to be carrying a total of EUR 46 000 on his person.

The 60-year-old Austrian national underwent a customs check at Vienna Airport in Schwechat shortly before arriving at the departure gate. When asked by customs officers,  he denied carrying any cash. However, his clothing gave him away, for clear pouch-like outlines were visible through his outerwear. When questioned, he also denied wearing a waist bag. Finally, however, when officers requested that he show what items he had hidden, the passenger, an Egyptian by birth, gave in. From his belt he firstly took out a blue envelope containing cash, upon which one of the customs officers immediately spotted further envelopes beneath his clothing. In total, five envelopes containing EUR 46 000 were discovered.

During questioning, the passenger claimed that EUR 44 000, i.e. virtually all of the cash, belonged to his sister-in-law. He claimed that his intention had been to use the money to purchase an apartment for her in Cairo. Fiscal offence proceedings were instituted against him.

Travellers entering or exiting the European Union carrying cash of EUR 10 000 or more are required to notify the amount to the customs authorities. "In the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism, preventing illegal cash movements is key," says Finance Minister Gernot Blümel, explaining the reason for customs controls on cash.