Money laundering causes €400 mln damage per annum

Serbian Minister of Finance Mladjan Dinkic said at a conference on money laundering organised by OSCE Mission to Serbia that there were 145,000 registered transactions worth over €15,000 this year in Serbia, 526 of which have been marked as suspicious. Dinkic noted that only one verdict which is still not final has been brought out of 41 criminal charges against 47 persons and 14 indictments.

The drafting of a national strategy for fighting money laundering and financial terrorism is in the final stage, Dinkic said and noted that it will particularly focus on personnel training and exchange of information.

Director of the Administration for Prevention of Money Laundering Julije Miladinovic said that tax evasion is the most common way of money laundering in Serbia. Material damage from all registered criminal acts in Serbia in the 2000-2005 period amounted to 86 billion dinars, or nearly €1.3 billion, according to a report on money-laundering in Serbia prepared by the OSCE Mission to Serbia and the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI). In 2005, material damage amounted to 25.7 billion dinars, and more than 80% of it belongs to corporate crime, the report says.

The survey was supported by the US Departments of State and Justice. The authors of the paper “Money-Laundering and Predicate Crime in Serbia 2000-2005” claim that it is difficult to create an all-encompassing picture on the basis of accessible data.

The problems arise in differences among institutions in the way of “book keeping” and the existence of state “phantom” data bases, with “phantom” firms. Experts warned that households in Serbia spend €560 million more per year than they can earn and save.

US Ambassador to Serbia Michael Polt said that money laundering is a global problem and added that each country must be capable of revealing and investigating such crimes.