Undeclared cash import declined with border closure in Latvia

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The trend observed in Latvia that EUR 400 million in cash is being smuggled into the country each year has changed with the border closure of COVID-19, Ilze Znotiņa, head of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FID) said in an interview to Latvian Television on June 11.

Until now, it has been observed that large amounts of cash are imported into the country, often undeclared. FID estimates it amounts to around EUR 400 million annually. However, during COVID-19 crisis, when borders were mostly closed, the trend declined.

"Until now, the Bank of Latvia did not emit cash. We collected cash but did no issue it. The trend was negative. Neighboring countries, Lithuania and Estonia, did emit cash money. Now when borders closed, it turned out that around EUR 400 million that had been coming in, could not come in anymore. We suddenly had this positive our neutral trend in cash turnover," said Znotiņa.

The FID is currently studying this trend, and Znotiņa pointed out this means there will be a need to strengthen border monitoring and control.


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