The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) rejects the Spanish fines for those who do not declare the cash that they take out across the border. The sanctions of Spain for this practice can reach double the amount that has not been declared before the customs authorities.
The ruling, issued yesterday, emphasizes that “Spanish legislation is disproportionate, since it exceeds what is necessary to ensure compliance with this obligation to declare.”
The European Court of Justice considers that “the purpose of the Spanish legislation in this matter is not to punish possible fraudulent or illicit activities, but the breach of an obligation to declare”.
The Court of Justice of Luxembourg
The Court of Justice of Luxembourg explains that “the disproportion” lies in the fact that the maximum amount may amount to twice the amount of undeclared cash and that, in any case, the fine may be fixed at an amount equivalent to almost one hundred percent of that amount.
The Court of Justice of Luxembourg explains that “the disproportion” lies in the fact that the maximum amount can amount up to twice the amount of undeclared cash money and that, in any case, the fine may be set at an amount equivalent to almost one hundred percent of that amount. Therefore, it concludes that the freedom of movement of capital of the Union is opposed to a regulation of a Member State, such as the Spanish, which establishes that the breach of the obligation to declare large sums of cash that enter the territory of that State or leave it will be sanctioned with a fine that may amount to twice the undeclared amount.
The European Justice thus resolves on an issue in which the Secretary General of the Treasury and Financial Policy, under the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, imposed an administrative fine of 91,900 euros on a Chinese citizen, taking into account, as aggravating circumstances, the notorious amount of the undeclared amount, the lack of proof of the legal origin of the cash, the inconsistency of the statements of the interested party regarding their professional activity and the fact that the cash was in a place that showed the deliberate intention to hide it.
The Court notes that, since the person concerned had to leave the territory of the Union through the Amsterdam airport, under the Regulation he was obliged to declare the cash to the competent Dutch authorities, not to the Spanish authorities.
However, it points out that the European Regulation on the subject does not oppose, in principle, the regulations of a Member State that imposes obligations of declaration other than those that it establishes.