Administration for the Prevention of Money Laundering
Zeljko Radovanovic, Acting Director
The Administration for the Prevention of Money Laundering (APML) is the financial-intelligence unit (FIU) of the Republic of Serbia, which is the central anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) body in the system. APML’s powers and responsibilities are provided for in the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT Law). The obliged entities under the AML/CFT Law send to the APML reports on suspicious transactions (STRs) and persons. The APML then analyses these reports and collects any additional data about them. If it finds reasonable grounds to suspect money laundering or terrorist financing in a specific case, the APML then discloses such data to the relevant bodies, primarily the competent prosecutors’ offices and police. If it suspects, based on its own analyses and assessment and without a prior STR, that a person or an organised crime syndicate launders money or finances terrorism, the APML can request additional data from obligors and other state authorities. Also, the APML can start collecting and analysing data upon the initiative of another state authority, such as the court, prosecutors’ office, Security Information Agency, Privatisation Agency, Securities Commission, police, etc.
Even though the APML is the only authority containing ‘prevention of money laundering’ in its name, this is by all means not the only authority to fight money laundering. In addition to the APML, the entire preventive AML/CFT system is includes the following players:
• Obliged entities, i.e. all those financial and non-financial sector representatives required to apply legislation governing the prevention of money laundering (banks, insurance companies, auditors, etc). Their aim is to create, by applying actions and measures set out in the Law, unfavourable climate for money laundering in the country. Even though they are not called ‘obliged entities’, lawyers too are required to apply the actions and measures laid down in the AML/CFT Law.
• Competent supervisors, controlling the application of the AML/CFT legislation and ensuring thereby a proper application of AML/CFT legislation a functioning segment of the AML/CFT system. The competent supervisors are the National Bank of Serbia, Securities Commission, Foreign Exchange Inspectorate, APML, Ministry of Trade and Services, etc.
• Police, prosecutor’s office and courts, i.e. the authorities comprising the repressive element of the AML/CFT system, by prosecuting money launderers. The functioning of this element of the AML/CFT system is crucial; prosecuting money launderers or terrorist financiers, their severe punishing and confiscation of proceeds is relevant to the general prevention, i.e. efficient prosecution sends a message to the society that money laundering in Serbia does not pay, and ultimately serves as deterrent to potential money launderers.
Money laundering is the process of concealing and disguising the illegal origin of money or property generated from crime. Where the proceeds derive from crime, a criminal or a crime syndicate seek ways to use the money or property thus acquired in a way not to draw attention of the relevant authorities. That is why they perform a whole series of transaction whose ultimate aim is to misrepresent the money or property as legitimate. Money frequently changes its form in this process and is transferred from one location into another. Money laundering is a process transcending the national borders; hence the mechanisms to fight this form of crime need to be international in their nature.
Terrorist financing means the providing or collecting of funds or property, or an attempt to do so, with the intention of using them, or in the knowledge that they may be used, in full or in part, for the commission of a terrorist act by terrorists or terrorist organisations.
As for its international engagements, the APML takes an active part in MoneyVal, one of the Council of Europe Committees, gathering together AML experts and which functions based on mutual evaluations of its member countries. The APML is a member of the Egmont Group of financial-intelligence units (EG), joining it in July 2003. The EG membership is a confirmation of APML’s compliance with the international AML/CFT criteria and its capacity to exchange financial intelligence with its counterparts throughout the world in an efficient and safe manner. All data exchanged is classified as official secret and may only be used for the purposes and in the manner stipulated in the law. Since June 2010, the APML has participated in the work of the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (EAG) as an observer.
As of December 2010, following the amendments to the APML/CFT Law, the APML’s competences have been extended so as to include supervision of certain obliged entities, e.g. auditors, accountants, entrepreneurs and legal persons dealing with factoring or forfeiting, tax advisers, etc.
The APML is investing efforts, in tandem with other state authorities and obliged entities, to analyse needs for further training. The current training is provided through seminars and workshops and their aim is to achieve a more successful application of the law in all its aspects. The APML is committed to strengthening, together with other state authorities, of the system for the detection and prevention of money laundering in Serbia and safeguarding of the Serbian financial system integrity.