What to do if you’re facing penalty proceedings for not declaring your cash at customs

In our post, “Are there controls on the money I bring when travelling in and out of Spain?”, we explained in detail the obligation to declare the cash you’re transporting when entering or leaving Spain or when you’re travelling within the country. If you haven’t already read it, we recommend that you do for more information. This article focuses on explaining what to do if you haven’t complied with this legal obligation of declaring your cash.

If you haven’t complied with the obligation of declaring your cash and are discovered, the Spanish Public Administration will initiate penalty proceedings against you.

At the start of the penalty proceedings, the cash will be seized by customs officers or the police. In other words, the first thing the Spanish authorities will do is confiscate your money.

Anti money laundering

Customs officers will interrogate you about the money they find

What they’re most interested in is knowing where the money came from. Firstly, they want to know if the money could be linked to money laundering. Public employees will draw up an intervention act which will be transferred to Sepblac, for initiating the penalty proceedings. If you want some more information about controls on the border, you can read our lawyers’ article about controls on cash at the border.

The Executive Service of the Commission for the prevention of Money Laundering and Monetary Offences (Sepblac) is the body of Financial Intelligence in Spain and the Supervisory Authority concerning the prevention of money laundering.

Also, customs officers will indicate in the act if the money was found in a place or circumstance which suggested an intention to keep it hidden. In a recent case dealt with by our law firm, border officers at the airport in Barcelona believed that a client was concealing the money because they were carrying it in a briefcase with two compartments. However, we’ve also had cases in which our lawyers have found that the Spanish Administration has written in its reports that the money was being hidden because it was found in one of the pockets. In any case, we recommend appealing to the Administration because it can significantly reduce the fine.

Finally, the act is valuable evidence, so its content is very important.

The penalty proceedings include the following stages:

1 – Agreement of initiation of penalty proceedings

This agreement includes the facts presented by the customs officers in the aforementioned record (amount confiscated, if there was intention to hide the money, what the person whose money has been confiscated claims about the origin of the money and their failure to declare it).

2 – Allegation process and presentation of evidence

3 – Motion for resolution

4 – Our allegation process and presentation of documents

5.- Resolution

Disclaimer: This information in this article is not definitive, for up to date legal advice which is relevant to your case please contact our lawyers.

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