CHOO-CHOODUNIT: Train Couple Caught With EUR 1.5m In Cash

Astonished customs officials are investigating a couple found with almost EUR 1.5 million in cash strapped to their bodies as they tried to get into Italy by train.

Customs police in Como, Lombardy, had boarded a train from Switzerland to ask passengers whether they had cash worth more than EUR 10,000 (GBP 8,654) with them under EU rules on 14th October.

But a married couple – not named by local officials under Italian privacy law – were taken off by officers “due to their suspicious behaviour,” reported local media.

Image shows Italian customs officers, undated photo. They caught a married couple entering Italy through Switzerland by train with over EUR 1.4 million (GBP 1.2 million) in cash in their luggage on Friday, Oct. 14., 2022. (Agenzia Accise Dogane e Monopoli/Newsflash)

Customs officers took the man and the woman to an office for a detailed search and were amazed when they found EUR 1,454,010 (GBP 1,258,334) in banknotes.

A substantial part of the cash was strapped to the couple’s bodies and found in the clothes they were wearing, according to an official statement.

The rest had been stashed in the couple’s luggage, the local branch of the Agenzia delle Dogane e dei Monopoli – Italy’s Customs Authority – said.

Customs officials confiscated EUR 700,000 of the cash, the likely fine the couple can expect.

Inquiries by Italy’s Custom Authority and the Guardia di Finanza – which is the Federal Finance Ministry’s militarised police force – continue.

All travellers entering or leaving the European Union (EU) with EUR 10,000 in cash – or its equivalent in other currencies – or more must declare the total amount to customs.

The Austrian Finance Ministry says on its website: “This initiative is introduced for the purpose of assisting the efforts made at EU level to tackle crime and improve security by cracking down on money laundering, terrorism and criminality.”

Italy is a member of the EU while Switzerland – where the train departed from – is not a member.

It is unclear whether the train passengers were put into custody.