When the Authority is Watching Upon Us – ep. 2
The Trees, the Forest and the Cow
We, Romanians, have a saying: “You can’t see the forest because of the trees”. It means that you are too focused on details and you miss the big picture.
Well, it is now obvious that this saying is not an exclusive trait of us, Romanians. It goes beyond national and international boundaries and beyond individuals, hitting national authorities hard in the head.
Below you will find an example.
When I first read the FATF 2015 publication “Money Laundering Through the Physical Transportation of Cash”, I was hit by the fact that national authorities spend huge amounts of money on finding the illegal thousands of Euros hidden by individuals on/in themselves and yet, they have absolutely no legislation, control or interest in the illegal millions of Euros crossing the boundaries in cargo.
As FATF so elegantly put it, a natural person is unable in his/her entire life to transport as much illegal money as does a cargo in just one shipment.
And yet, Authorities spend 99% of their resources on searching natural persons (their exterior and interior, their luggage and their cars), but wave respectfully and without any power at huge cargos that can transport up to 150 million Euros at once.
“Impossible”, I said when I first read this. “I will surely find some law on this, if not at national level, at least at the European Union level, considering that the EU has a Directive, Regulation or Recommendation for pretty much everything. I remember specifically that when I was an Intern at the European Parliament I attended some serious meetings on the stress of bees. So, dear FATF, just wait and see how the EU dismantles your statements.”
So, I started searching. And I searched…and searched…and … searched…
We Romanians have another interesting saying – “he went there as an ox and he returned as a cow” – meaning that a person was ignorant (to avoid saying stupid) when he started doing something and by the end he remained as ignorant as in the beginning and did not learn anything.
Well, I felt the above saying quite strong after a lot of searching for a Romanian or EU law on the cross border transportation of money in cargo….”muuuuu”.
Well, dear FATF, apparently your studies and recommendations are not in vain after all. And just 1 year and a half after your publication, the European Union, in its Supranational Risk Assessment (annex SNRA part 2), publicly stated that it intends to revise its Cash Control Regulation so that “it enables competent authorities to demand disclosure for cash sent in unaccompanied consignments such as cash sent in postal parcels or freight shipments”.
It is a beginning and I can’t wait to read the revised Cash Control Regulation. Let’s not maliciously comment that the European Commission forgot to give a deadline to the a.m. revision.
Have a good night, because the Authorities are watching upon us! 🙂
Article first published on my linkedin page, on 23 September 2017.
The first episode from this series is in Romanian and can be found here.
By Andreea Tampu, ACAMS