German airport dog sniffs out big cash stashes

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 12 2020 07:34 PM

The nose of Finnegan, a mixed-breed dog owned by Alexandra Horowitz, the author of “Being a Dog: Following the Dog into a World of Smell,” in New York, Oct. 5, 2016. Katie Orlinsky, The New York Times

FRANKFURT - Money talks, they say, but for some, money also smells. 

Aki, a 9-year old Belgian Shepherd dog based at Frankfurt's international airport in Germany, sniffed out almost a quarter of million euros in cash from travelers in a few days. 

Between the end of June and the start of July, Aki caught 12 passengers carrying a total of 247,280 euros ($290,540), according to the airport's customs office.

In one incident, the nosy mutt sniffed out almost 52,000 euros in the belt bag of a passenger. 

Other cash was found in handbags, shoulder bags and inside jacket pockets.

"With her keen nose, Aki supports the custom officers... in the fight against tax evasion, money laundering and international terrorism," said Isabell Gillmann, spokeswoman at the customs office in Frankfurt, Germany's business capital.

All 12 travelers could face fines. People journeying into or out of the EU must declare cash valued at 10,000 euros or more. 

In 2019, customs officials in Frankfurt caught passengers carrying a total of around 23.6 million euros in undeclared cash.

German sniffer dogs may also be put to use in the battle against coronavirus. 

Researchers from Hanover's University of Veterinary Medicine found in July that man's best friend could detect COVID-19 in human samples, suggesting that in future they could be deployed in transport centers or sporting events.