The French Court of Cassation asked the Court of Justice whether a national of a third State who is in the international transit area of an airport is subject to the obligation to declare cash money

Cour de cassation, civile, Chambre commerciale, 5 janvier 2016, 14-17541

The present case concerned the rules on controls of cash entering or leaving the Community. The rules governing the movement of persons across borders are also discussed.

The company Intercontinental under Beninese law appointed Mr. X. to carry US dollars from Cotonou to Beirut with a transit at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport.
Subsequently, Mr. X. was inspected by the airport customs officers and was placed in customs restraint and under investigation by a judge for failure to declare cash and for money laundering and fraud.

On that occasion, Mr.X. and the aforementioned company lodged a claim before the district court and the court of appeal, claiming that the customs administration was not entitled to invoke a breach of the obligation to declare cash, committed by Mr.X., because the latter was not required to such an obligation.

The Court of Appeal of Paris (Cour d‘appel de Paris) dismissed their claims.
However, Mr. X. and the abovementioned company filed an action before the Court of Cassation (Cour de cassation).

In this case, the outcome of the proceedings depended on the definition of the concepts of “entering or leaving the Community” and ”crossing of external border at border crossing points” for a national of a third State being in ” the international transit area of an airport”, in relation to Articles 3, paragraph 1 of Regulation (EC) No 1889/2005, and 4, paragraph 1 of Regulation (EC) No 562 / 2006.

Therefore, the Supreme Court (Cour de cassation) stayed its proceedings and asked the Court of Justice of the European Union the question whether Article 3(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1889/2005 and Article 4(1) of Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 must be interpreted as meaning that a national of a third State who is in the international transit area of an airport is not subject to the obligation to make a declaration under Article 3(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1889/2005 of 26 October 2005, or, on the contrary, must those provisions be interpreted as meaning that that national is subject to that obligation by virtue of having crossed an external border of the Community at one of the border crossing points referred to in Article 4(1) of Regulation (EC) No 562/2006 of 15 March 2006.

 The full text is available on EuroCases

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