A 33 year-old dual citizen of Ukraine and Israel convinced Monaco’s Criminal Court to hand back 15,873 euros found in a Louis Vuitton bag in the back of his Ukraine-registered Mercedes, having failed to declare the sum in excess of the legal limit of 10,000 euros.

Stopped by the police at about 10:00 on December 9 on Casino Square, the defendant said he was not aware of the rule that requires sums in excess of 10,000 to be declared in Monaco.

According to French-language daily Monaco Matin, the accused said: “I was planning to give my wife a gift and buy it in the Cartier store… We have lost everything in our country and we would like to settle here. I did not know this limit for money in cash. I ask you to return the confiscated sum and avoid convicting me.”

The court seemed undecided about the purpose of the cash and noted that the defendant was living with a friend in Beausoleil at the time of the offence.

Prosecuting counsel attempted to persuade the court to confiscate 5,873 euros of the total sum. However, the court decided to hand it all back, except for a fine of 1,000 euros.

FILE PHOTO: Inside Monaco’s ornate courthouse