NICOSIA – Officials on Cyprus said they confiscated 500,000 euros ($571,450) from a Greek businessman who tried to fly home with the cash after banks on the island refused to let him deposit it.
State radio reported the businessman had arrived in Cyprus from Greece, carrying the money in his luggage in bills of 200 and 500 euros.
Authorities were investigating his claim that Cypriot banks had refused to accept the cash because he had no documents to show where it came from or prove it had been declared to customs.
“The amount was found in the person’s possession as he was leaving Cyprus,” on Feb. 2, said Demetris Hadjicostis, Acting Director of Cyprus’s customs and excise department.
By law the import and export of currency exceeding 10,000 euros must be declared to customs, Hadjicostis told Reuters. He declined further comment since there was an ongoing investigation.
It wasn’t said how he was able to get the money out of Greece without being detected or explaining to officials why he was carrying so much cash.
Greeks are yanking record amounts of out banks in that country in the aftermath of the election win of the Radical Left SYRIZA party that is seeking to renegotiate terms with international lenders of harsh austerity terms that came with bailouts, spiking fears of being forced out of the Eurozone and a bank collapse.