Hiding cash on their wives’ bodies and concocting incredible, and often multiple, claims about the origins of the money are among the tactics used by people smuggling proceeds of crime out of the country.
Of the 33 cases in 2015, where a total of €1.157m was forfeited by the State, the case of Andrei Piatlitski is one of the more unusual.
The Belarus-born Irish national was stopped at Dublin Airport on December 23, 2012. He was on the way to board a flight to Lithuania with his wife, when security at Dublin Airport detected something unusual.
His wife had €55,000 in cash “concealed around her upper body”. This unusual find prompted a further search of the couple and some €69,800 was found in Mr Piatlitski’s holdall.
He told Customs that he saved the €124,800 from his employment “in a scrap metal company” during his 10 years working here.
In one of a number of cases involving Chinese nationals finalised last year, Chiyu Chen and Ying Chen were stopped at Dublin Airport on October 23, 2012, about to fly to Amsterdam and on to China.
Officers found €32,290 concealed “in a sophisticated manner” within household and personal hygiene items in the check-in luggage.
They claimed the cash was from savings and was to fund children’s education in China.
Officers showed the court this did not stand up to scrutiny and that cash was being exported to avoid paying outstanding taxes, and was forfeited on December 4, 2015.
In one case last year, involving a Chinese person, cash was rolled up in tampon cartridges and hidden inside a picture frame.
He said: “It’s very easy to stop a member of a gang or someone with a string of convictions. These are people with no criminal convictions and no great known associations.