On Thursday, 20 June, the Saeima adopted in the final reading under urgent procedure amendments to the Criminal Law introducing criminal liability for non-declaration or false declaration of large sums of cash when crossing the state border.
Previously, the relevant regulations specifically governed the external border of the European Union (EU) and did not apply to cash movements across borders between EU countries. According to the annotation, this presented problems in the fight against money laundering and the prevention of terrorism, and contributed to increased threats to national security.
"The amendments will improve the performance of law enforcement authorities in their fight against international transportation of cash of unknown origin, while at the same time ensuring compliance with the Moneyval recommendations," Juta Strīķe, Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee responsible for the draft law, had said earlier.
Responsibility for non-declaration or false declaration of large sums of cash when crossing the state border with EU countries will set in only if the completion of the cash declaration is requested by an official of a competent authority in accordance with the procedure prescribed by the law. Penalties for such violations include deprivation of liberty for a term of up to two years, temporary deprivation of liberty, community service or a fine.
The draft law was assessed at several meetings of the Criminal Law Policy Subcommittee of the Legal Affairs Committee. Andrejs Judins, Chairman of the subcommittee, had emphasised earlier that the amendments to the Criminal Law do not prohibit movement of cash across the state border; the new provisions will only set in for non-declaration of cash sums totalling 21 500 euros or more.
Persons crossing external EU borders already have an obligation to declare sums of cash exceeding 10 000 euros. "However, when crossing an internal border, a person will only have the obligation to declare cash if the declaration is requested by the competent authorities of Latvia," said A. Judins.
The law is to enter into force on the next day following its proclamation.
At the same time, the Saeima passed in the second reading under urgent procedure amendments to the Latvian Administrative Violations Code, which aim to reinforce the administrative liability for failure to declare cash at the state border. These amendments are scheduled to come into effect on 1 July this year.
Saeima Press Service