Millions in undeclared currency confiscated at OR Tambo, 5 arrested

2015-08-31 15:30
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Johannesburg - Five people were arrested at OR Tambo International Airport after being found with undeclared currency totalling R23m, as well as a further $3.77m (R50.2m), the South African Revenue Service (Sars) said on Monday.

"The passengers were scheduled to leave South Africa on United Arab Emirates flight EK766 to Dubai [on Friday]," spokesperson Luther Lebelo said in a statement.

Earlier risk profiling by SARS custom officials had identified the passengers. Lebelo said the passengers were apprehended as they boarded the aircraft at 21:45.

The five were in possession of eight luggage bags and four backpacks. When they saw Sars officials, he said they fled to the boarding gate entrance.

"At this point, officials closed the boarding gate door and the passengers were compelled to wait for the SARS officials," Lebelo said.

When Sars officials had questioned them on whether they were in possession of any currency, one of the passengers speaking on the group's behalf, stated he had R100 000 and the other individuals also had currency. They were escorted back to immigration at international arrivals, booked back into South Africa and escorted to customs.

"In total, 11 bags, in which the currency was held, were sealed in the presence of the travellers to be handed over to the South African Reserve Bank for further investigation," he said.

"SARS appreciates the collaborative efforts and support it receives from the various law enforcement agencies and [Airports Company South Africa] in our efforts to protect the country and its citizens by disrupting organised crime and reducing illicit trade activities."

Read more on:    sars  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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