Argentina appeals to sniffer dogs to detect capital flight at border crossings
Argentina attempt to control capital flight through strict foreign exchange measures including the tax revenue office which gives its approval or denial to foreign money transactions have added another tool: sniffer dogs.
A hundred specially-trained dogs have been deployed to several border-crossing outposts throughout Argentina in order to sniff out dollars concealed in luggage, cars on adhered to the body.
The move put in place by the government of President Cristina Fernandez is described as another effort to stop a massive currency flight from the country. Argentina is trying to stop the local savers and investors who last month withdrew over 3 billion dollars from their bank accounts from taking their money abroad.
Last Monday, trained dogs detected 30,000 dollars concealed inside the spare tire of a BMW as its driver prepared to cross over to Uruguay, the Buenos Aires media reported.
The measure, which will be intensified during the summer months, was put into place in June and was given a trial period of six months, during which 1.5 million undeclared dollars were detected by dogs.
The Border Patrol will be paying special attention to border crossings with Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia. Tens of thousands of Argentines cross over in summer to enjoy beaches in Uruguay where they have billions of dollars in bank deposits and real estate investments.
The Golden Retrievers and Labradors are specially-trained to identify the smell of dollars and Euros.
The Argentine government announced that the current doggy generation will soon be joined by a several flat coated retrievers that the AFIP tax agency bought from the Norwegian government and sent to the south in order for them to breed.
In the third quarter of this year according to Central bank data, 8.4billion dollars left Argentina, which is higher than the 6.1billion of the second quarter. The same data shows that capital flight in the first ten months of 2011 totalled 18 billion dollars.
Capital flight has been spurred by the Argentine election year, manipulated inflation data and expectations about economic policy, besides the fact that an overvalued currency has caused a consumer boom.