The goal of detecting, monitoring and investigating serious crime is beyond dispute, but
there are serious doubts as to whether CPL would advance this cause substantially or that any
incremental beneﬁt would be without considerable negative effects. Cash is popular, safer and
serves a long list of legitimate social and economic values that CPL would undermine.
Arguments for a “cashless”or “less cash”society are also made for convenience and
facilitation of payments, shorter remittance timelines and better control for monetary and
tax policies. Cashless is a buzzword for commercial and internet giants such as Amazon,
Google and Facebook and telco companiessuch as Apple and Vodafone.
While traceability is a worthwhile goal for law enforcement, one cannot sacriﬁce
economic interests and livelihoods, freedoms, privacy, subsidiarity, proportionality and
indeed the cash preferencesof the people for what is likely to be incomplete and ill-balanced
transparency and,in some respects, more challenging policingwork.
This report critically examines ﬁrst the articulation and presentation of the CPL case; it
then turns to an assessmentof serious crime control issues and CPL and ends with a review
of legitimate intereststhat may be harmed by CPL.
The conclusion is that CPL would not pass a cost-beneﬁt analysis. The stated goals
would not be as well served, the negative effectsand risks are legion and popular support by
the population is lacking. Attempts to introduce CPL, therefore, are out of proportion with
the intended target and interfere with strong legitimate interests. Given the preferences
inside and outside the EU, centrallyimposed rules in this respect are ill-advised.
The presentation of the European Union initiative
Inception impact assessment
The IIA suggests that cash payment limitations (CPLs) can be effective measures in the
control of serious crime, such as terrorismﬁnance, serious organized crime and tax evasion.
However, these criminal acts correspond to very different methods, volumes, perpetrators
and causes and control challenges. Mixing them and moving from one topic to the other is
unhelpful for crime controlstrategies.
Terrorism ﬁnance, as practiced recently in Europe, involves extremists who use
overwhelmingly legal funds, sometimes commit petty offences, engage in very small-
amount cash transactions, occasionally use fake IDs and commit low-costattacks (see more
below). They are motivated by political and religious causes or grievances, and they are
either inspired by or have some association with local or overseas groups (e.g. Daesh), in
some instances, involvingcross-border interactions.
Serious crime includes criminal enterprisespopularly described as “organized crime”as
well as offences with substantial social cost committed by corporations and white-collar
professionals. All of them are motivatedby proﬁt and power, many of them commit offences
of transnational nature and the amounts involved can be staggering. Criminal enterprises
are a mix of national and ethnic groups regularly committing offences ranging from
drugs and human trafﬁcking to smuggling of goods, property crimes, counterfeiting, etc.
Cash is used but not declared. Corporate and white-collar offenders come predominantly
from the more respectable and wealthy social strata, often use very sophisticated methods
and transact both nationally and globally, and their misconduct can have devastating
economic, social, environmental, health or security effects (Barak, 2017; van Erp and
Huisman, 2015).Cash is very often not involved at all.
Tax evasion includingsome lawful but awful (Passas, 2005a) tax avoidance schemesthat
equally affect societyby shifting the burden of social contributions to lower-income and less
privileged members of society (Brooks, 2013;Johnston, 2003;Levi, 2010) can be committed
by anyone. The amount can vary and involve accounting frauds, offshore and tax haven