France Tightens the Noose on the Populace because Terrorism

When France tightens the noose through controls and restrictions on the use of money, it is hurting ordinary citizens, not terrorists.

A friend of the blog sent me this excellent newsletter article about new restrictions that the French government is imposing on the French. Nathan McDonald writes for Sprott Money under the headline, “France Moves in the Direction of Banning Cash.”

One of his sources is a Reuter’s article, “France steps up monitoring of cash payments to fight ‘low-cost terrorism.’

France will step up monitoring of cash payments, withdrawals and small bank accounts to better fight against the financing of terrorism, Finance Minister Michel Sapin said on Wednesday.

Just over two months after Islamist gunmen killed 17 people in attacks against a satirical weekly and a Jewish foodstore in Paris, it is necessary to “fight against the use of cash and anonymity in the French economy”, Sapin said.

The attacks did not cost the perpetrators much and were partly financed by cash, consumer loans and trafficking counterfeit goods, officials say.

“It’s a terrorism that is low cost to carry out but has major impact,” Sapin told a news conference. “This low-cost terrorism feeds on fraud, money laundering and petty trafficking.”

From September onwards, people who live in France will not be allowed to make payments of more than 1,000 euros ($1,060) in cash, down from 3,000 now. The cap for foreign visitors, left higher for reasons that include facilitating tourism, will be cut to 10,000 euros from 15,000.

Any cash deposit or withdrawal of more than 10,000 euros over a single month will be automatically signaled to the Tracfin anti-fraud and money laundering agency.

The government is also going to be monitoring pre-paid cards more closely. ID will be required of anyone changing more than a mere thousand euros into another currency, whereas before one had to change 8,000 euros to trigger the requirement to show id.

The claim that this kind of spying and pressure will prevent terrorist attacks is ludicrous. A much more obvious reason why the French government would want to hassle the French whenever they tried to move too much money out of their bank can be found in the precedent-setting action taken by Cypress. Once all that money is locked up in banks it is all the more easy for government to take it. McDonald writes,

Western officials know that the global economy is teetering on a cliffs edge. All efforts will be taken to keep their “cash cows” in place and to keep the current system flowing.

If citizens are able to convert their funds into precious metals, or another foreign currency, then governments cannot easily seize their funds in a time of crisis, similar to the bail-ins seen during the crisis in Cyprus.

If you think such restrictions will stay on the other side of the Atlantic, you are engaging in wishful thinking. Our own financial system is also unstable.