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Italian border police seize record amounts of gold, cash

Gold 400ROME: Italian police Saturday announced a 78 percent jump in the amount of gold, silver and cash they have prevented from leaving the country illegally in the first seven months of 2012.

The "Yellow Flame" financial police seized 41 million euros' ($50 million) worth compared with 23.2 million euros in the same period last year, they said in a statement.

In addition to large quantities of cash and treasury bills, they seized 88 kilogrammes of gold and 570 kilos of silver, the statement said.

Dogs trained to detect the scent of money played their part. A Labrador named Tango nabbed a Sri Lankan at a Milan airport with 424,000 euros in a suitcase bulging with clothing, while his brother Cash sniffed out a pensioner trying to spirit out 242,000 euros.

One Chinese entrepreneur was caught at Rome's Fiumicino airport trying to smuggle out 200,000 euros hidden in 400 cartons of cigarettes -- one 500 euro note in each.

In another case, an Italian with business in Ethiopia was caught with 122,000 euros in the false bottom of a suitcase.

Another businessman was stopped at the Swiss border travelling with his daughter with 50 kilos of gold hidden under a carseat.

The financial police say the main motivations are tax evasion and money-laundering.

Those exporting more than 10,000 euros' worth of cash, gold or silver are required to declare the sums, which are heavily taxed.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012


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