At last, Italy has implemented the latest Community Directive no. 91/308 on the Free Movement of Capital.

The main effect of the new legislation is that of finally eliminating the obligation to go through the banking system when transferring funds in excess of LIT. 20,000,000 (or the corresponding value in foreign currency). Moreover, it is now possible to cross borders carrying sums, in cash or in negotiable bearer instruments, in excess of the said LIT. 20,000,000 limit.

On the other hand the new rules do not introduce any changes regarding the currency exchange controls. In fact, it is provided that, in consideration of the futile rules adopted in the hope of preventing money laundering, the export of funds over the said limit must at any rate be notified to the Italian Exchange Control Office with the appropriate declaration. Only the transfer by way of cheques, postal orders or cashier cheques issued by Italian banks, to the order and not transferable, need not be declared even though they exceed the abovementioned limit.

Furthermore, we have to note that said declaration, in contrast to similar declarations provided only for statistical purposes, is not at all anonymous, and the relevant data may be processed having regard to the individual or the corporate entities involved, and communicated to the financial administrative department, which is free to utilise them for its own purposes (e.g., as evidence in alleged fiscal evasion prosecution).

It seems that this new provision, far from bringing any significant advantages to international trade (it remains improbable that large sums of capital from legitimate transactions should move outside the banking system), will, in reality, heighten the controls on the movement of capital - even though no longer through the requirement of previous authorisation, but instead by way of the bureaucratic burdens related to the so-called "administrative control".

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