Pretoria, 31 August 2015 – Customs Officials at OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) on Friday 28 August 2015 apprehended five individuals in possession of currency to the value of R23 million and US 3.775 million. The passengers were scheduled to depart South Africa on United Arab Emirates flight EK 766 to Dubai.
Risk profiling earlier by SARS custom officials, identified the passengers, and led to their apprehension as they boarded the aircraft at 21h45.
The passengers were in possession of eight luggage bags and four backpacks. Upon noticing the SARS officials, the passengers retreated and headed back to the entrance of the boarding gate. At this point, officials closed the boarding gate door and the passengers were compelled to wait for the SARS officials.
When questioned by SARS officials on whether they were in possession of any currency, one of the passengers speaking on behalf of the group stated that he had R100 000 and that the other individuals also had currency.
The five individuals were escorted back to immigration at international arrivals, booked back into South Africa and escorted to Customs.
In total, 11 bags, in which the currency was held, were sealed in the presence of the travellers to be handed over to the South African Reserve Bank for further investigation.
SARS appreciates the collaborative efforts and support it receives from the various law enforcement agencies and ACSA in our efforts to protect the country and its citizens by disrupting organised crime and reducing illicit trade activities.