Romanian police seize $1.6 million, designer bags, luxury watches from Ukrainian refugee couple

Romanian police say they have seized 1.6 million US dollars, dozens of designer bags and luxury watches  from a Ukrainian refugee couple.

The Iasi Border Police Department said the couple were crossing the Albita border point in their car on Sunday when customs officials carried out a check, Agerpres reported.

They discovered a stash of luxury goods including 24 designer bags, nine designer watches, jewels and undeclared hard currency, a police statement said.

Border police handed over the case to local prosecutor’s office. The goods and money which included 50,000 euros were seized as part of the investigation. The couple were not detained.

Romania has a limit on the amount of cash that can be taken out of the country.  The couple did not declare the money and goods, and police are investigating the origin amid suspicions of money laundering and fraud.

Almost 400,000 Ukrainian refugees have fled fighting since the invasion began. There are currently about 80,000 refugees in the country from all walks of life.  

Romania is in the European Union and has worked to eradicate corruption in recent years, including at border crossing points. Ukraine is not a member although it applied to join the bloc this month after the war broke out.

Corruption is reported to be rife among Ukrainian border officials.

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