The UK Border Agency’s officials regularly seize large amounts of undeclared cash from travellers and migrants at the UK border.
Data released from UKBA in January, in response to a Freedom of Information request, revealed the October 2012 seizure of £1,240,871 – a sum three times larger than any other amount taken since November 2010.
The chart below shows each seizure of undeclared cash since November 2010, (click to enlarge). The next highest sum of £409,000 was seized in the same month, although this is much closer in value to other amounts seized since November 2010.
For a larger chart, click here.
Anyone entering or leaving the UK with a sum of over £1,000 can be asked to prove its legitimacy, or face having it seized.
There has previously been controversy over large seizures of cash by UKBA. In July 2012 UKBA was forced to return an undeclared cash sum of nearly £700,000 that it had seized from a billionaire traveller in 2009.
Dr Christoffel Wiese, the third richest man in South Africa, said the cash was “peanuts” to him.
Two Nigerian men similarly had £500,000 seized from them in October 2010.
The UK Border Agency did not reveal from whom the sum had been taken, or whether the individual is seeking its return.
The chart below shows the monthly total of undeclared cash seized by UK border agency officials, for every month since November 2010, (click to enlarge):
It reveals that the seizure did not significantly affect the total seized during the month, as the seizure of several medium sized amounts in May 2011 and November 2011 achieved similar totals.
This reveals a much higher difference between October 2012 and previous months, given the much higher value of the fewer sums taken during that month.