A few days ago, Italian authorities stopped a man who was making his way across the border into Switzerland with his wife and three children.
They searched his car and found, literally, a ton of gold bars hidden in a floorboard storage compartment.
Needless to say, the gold was confiscated, the car was impounded, and the man was arrested, despite the fact that it’s perfectly legal to own and transport gold.
Now, the European Union does require that ‘cash’ in excess of 10,000 euros be declared when crossing borders.
Yet article II of EC regulation 1889/2005 states that “cash” for the purposes of declaration includes legal tender currency plus monetary instruments in bearer form– travelers cheques, promissory notes, bearer bonds, and stock certificates. Not gold. And certainly not gold bars.
So the man was actually well within his legal rights. But it didn’t matter. They nabbed him on ‘suspicion of money laundering.’
As one of the most bankrupt European Union member states, Italy is going down a very dangerous road indeed. They’ve already imposed bank withdrawal restrictions, raised taxes, and openly flirted with bank nationalization.