Prosecutors crack down on retailers selling Rolex watches for cash


Police and tax investigators in the Netherlands are telling retailers to be on their guard for criminals that want to buy highly tradeable watches from the likes of Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet as a way of laundering money or moving liquid assets around the world.

Netherland’s FIOD department is urging authorized dealers for these brands, and traders of pre-owned luxury watches, to report cash transactions.

They are already legally required to report cash payments in excess of €10,000 as an unusual transaction.


“The watches are very popular in criminal circles,” FIOD director Thomas Bosch said in an interview with NOS Radio 1 Journaal.

“They are seen as a status symbol, retain their value, are small and therefore easy to carry and also serve as a means of payment for criminal services. By purchasing them with criminally acquired money, it is laundered,” he adds.

Failing to report these excessive cash payments could lead to the retailer being prosecuted and the Justice Department of the Netherlands already has a case under investigation where a jeweller is accused of money laundering.

The FIOD would not comment on the specifics of that case, but points out that expensive watches are increasingly appearing in investigative cases, which reinforces the suspicion in the judiciary that jewellers regularly “look the other way”.

“If a transaction raises too many questions, and the customer does not provide the correct answers, then a jeweler should simply refuse that customer,” urges Mr Bosch.

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  1. What a pathetic sham! Does any educated individual really believe this ruse?! As a strictly subjective opinion, I think its both a crock of shit and an invasion of privacy for groping, grasping tax authorities to request or oblige the reporting of cash transactions because they are a favorite MO for criminals, like drug traffickers for example. Let’s be objectively honest here: the retail value of a Rolex or Patek represents chump change for criminals at the level these authorities are supposedly targeting, so the point argued is almost inconsequential. What it is in reality is an excuse for already predatory, confiscatory tax authorities to shove their nose further into peoples private lives. What we choose to buy, and how we choose to transact, as far as I am concerned, is none of their business. They already got their cut when I payed my income, property, school, and sales taxes, so why do they need to poke into what I do with my discretionary spending?! The last I checked, my (US) dollar bill has clearly printed across its face, “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.” It has no exclusions or caveats printed below that. Period. Enough said.


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