France’s Finance Minister Michel Sapin has announced a set of sweeping changes in how cash, gold and other “off-ledger” instruments can be transacted in the country.
Starting September this year, the maximum cash payment size for French citizens will be €1,000, down from the previous limit of €3,000. For non-locals such as tourists, the maximum will be €10,000, down from €15,000.
When exchanging money, the threshold for requiring ID has been reduced from €8,000 to €1,000.
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If an individual withdraws in excess of €10,000 from his/her bank account per within a month, the bank must report the transactions to Tracfin (Traitement du renseignement et action contre les circuits financiers clandestins), France’s financial crime watchdog.
Physical cash or gold in excess of €10,000 that is brought into the country will have to be declared.
Sapin framed the moves as part of a “the fight against the financing of terrorism” in the country.
There have also been unconfirmed rumors that the measures also included cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. One of the original sources on the story, Le Parisien, does not make such mention. In spirit, however, it would seem that the measures would be aimed at any financial instrument that escapes the oversight of the financial system. Although Bitcoin transactions are publicly tracked through the blockchain, the identities of those behind them are unknown and authorities exercise no control over them.