Funds illegally seized by the Customs Office returned to the owner

Адвокаты нашей компании помогли гражданину Польши вернуть денежные средства в сумме более 95 000 гривен, незаконно изъятые Киевской таможней Государственной фискальной службы Украины

Our lawyers have helped a Polish citizen to get back through a legal action his money of more than UAH 95,000 that was illegally seized by the Kyiv Customs Office of the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine, which established a new precedent in the national case law for the use of issue preclusion in the legal regulation of such relations.

Seizure of goods as a sanction imposed for violating Article 471 of the Customs Code is applicable only to the transfers of goods across the Ukrainian customs border that are prohibited or restricted for import by laws of Ukraine. However, the transfer of goods in volumes exceeding the tax-exempt standard quantity movable across the Ukrainian customs border is punishable by a fine of 100 tax-free minimum incomes, without any seizure of such goods.

Resolution of the National Bank of Ukraine No. 148 dd. 27 May 2008 referred to by the customs authorities when they seize funds and execute customs breach reports, in fact does not prohibit the import of currency assets to Ukraine and does not restrict their maximum amount.

As stipulated by clause 3 of Chapter 2 of the said resolution, non-resident individuals have the right to import cash to Ukraine in the amount that does not exceed the equivalent of EUR 10,000, provided that they have declared this in full and in writing to the customs office.

Therefore, the above mentioned NBU resolution only introduces additional requirements to the import of foreign exchange assets in the amounts exceeding EUR 10,000, i. e. written declaration of such assets, and the effective laws of Ukraine do not impose any limits on the import of foreign currency cash to Ukraine, in fact they only restrict the amount (EUR 10,000) that can be imported without written declaration.

This means, as foreign currency cash is not included in the list of goods prohibited or restricted for import, it is unlawful to apply the seizure of goods (foreign cash) in the amount exceeding EUR 10,000 as a sanction for the breach of Article 471 of the Customs Code of Ukraine.

Seizure of the objects that are in breach of the customs regulations applied in this case constitutes a violation of Article 1 of the Protocol No. 1 to the Convention on Human Rights, specifically, interference with the right to respect of property, because it imposes “excessive or disproportionate burden on the individual”.

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