Million euros in cash wrist watch purchases lead to arrest
A 23-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of money laundering for his cash dealings in high-end luxury watches. Financial crimes inspectorate FIOD said the man has spent over a million euros in cash just on timepieces bought since 2018.
He was taken into custody on Monday. He was accused of violating the Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Prevention Act (Wwft). A home in Amsterdam, and a home and hotel room in The Hague region were searched. Paper administration and digital files were seized.
“The investigation began after various jewelers, financial institutions and an accountant reported unusual transactions to the Financial Intelligence Unit-Netherlands,” the FIOD said in a statement. The man became a money laundering suspect after he took payment for watches in cash “with money from criminal sources,” FIOD said.
“The suspect is a professional watch dealer and has also failed to report unusual transactions and to conduct customer due diligence,” the inspectorate continued. Under Wwft rules, merchants are required to report cash payments of ten thousand euros or greater.
“By buying goods from money obtained through crime or by investing this, criminal earnings are laundered,” FIOD stated. “In order to be able to spend money obtained criminally without running the risk of it being immediately seized by the judicial authorities or the tax authorities, it must be laundered.”
The inspectorate noted that aiding someone else in laundering ill-gotten cash is a punishable offense.