A passenger leaving Malta for Istanbul on Tuesday was escorted to court under arrest on Wednesday after some €45,000 of undeclared cash were found in his suitcase.

Eyup Mermutlu, a 58-year-old Turk, who claimed to be a professional gambler, was arrested on Tuesday morning after he was found in possession of the undeclared cash, well over the statutory limit of €10,000, breaching Cash Control Regulations.

Upon his arraignment on Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty.

Defence lawyers Franco Debono and Gianluca Caruana Curran explained that the man was a professional gambler who was in transit to Montecarlo at the time of his arrest.

The court, presided over by magistrate Victor George Axiak, upheld a request for bail against a deposit of €1,000 and a personal guarantee of €5,000.

Inspector Keith Vella prosecuted.

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