Published: 19:20, 08 January 2020
| Updated: 19:45, 08 January 2020
More than £23,000 was found hidden among children’s toys in a car was stopped at the Channel Tunnel terminal in Folkestone.
The driver claimed the toys were unwanted Christmas presents and said he was going to give them away to families in Germany.
But he was unable to explain why the packages were stuffed with bundles of banknotes.
Investigators from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate believed the money, which also included an additional £10,000 inside a carrier bag, was for illegal use and applied for the cash to be seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Folkestone magistrates approved the order on December 23.
The driver, Perparim Emini, 42, of Oldbury, West Midlands, was stopped by Border Force officers in February last year
He was travelling with another man and told the officers he was planning to visit Germany to buy tyres for a new business.
When asked if they were carrying any cash the pair showed officers the carrier bag containing £10,000 but denied they had any other money.
Both men initially claimed to have no knowledge of the money when officers discovered it.
Emini contested the forfeiture application along with a third man, Flurim Gaxherri, 39, also of Oldbury, who had not been in the car at the time but later claimed the £10,000 inside the carrier bag was his.
Both were unsuccessful but have 30 days to appeal.
Det Insp Annie Clayton of the Serious Economic Crime Unit said: "While neither Mr Emini nor Mr Gaxherri were charged with any criminal offences, they were unable to prove to the court that the money inside the car was not going to be used in unlawful conduct.
"The magistrates agreed there was a lack of evidence from the respondents and the cash will not be returned to them."
She added: "This is yet another great example of how our financial investigators use the Proceeds of Crime Act to ensure people are not allowed to benefit from the use of illegally-earned funds or are able to use cash to commit further offences."
Assets recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act are distributed to operational agencies including Kent Police under the Asset Recovery Incentivisation Scheme (ARIS).
More by this authorJohn Nurden