Since 2020 and the start of an anti-money laundering project, Serbia has improved measures in this area and moved closer to agreed EU standards, said H.E. Annika Ben David, Sweden’s ambassador to Belgrade.
The project Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism in Serbia began on 1 January 2020 during the pandemic, and its implementation in Serbia will last 36 months, it was said at a conference in the Palace of Serbia.
The ambassador also said that more than 80 percent of criminal groups in Europe infiltrate the legal economic system, and that 60 percent of them are involved in corruption.
Ben David expressed satisfaction that the project was started in Serbia despite the pandemic, and pointed out that the new circumstances of life have greatly contributed to easier conditions for corruption and crime.
“Criminal groups have become even more mobile during the pandemic, and the responsible bodies for the suppression of corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing must adapt to that and do everything possible to suppress the existing negative trends”, said the ambassador.
She added that this project is a good way for Serbia to join EU countries in the fight against organized crime and money laundering, which pose a serious threat to the rule of law and democracy in the world.
Ben David also said that criminal groups threaten the economy, society, business and political stability both in Serbia and around the world.
The goal of the project is to improve and strengthen the judicial system in order to speed up the confiscation of property acquired through criminal acts and to minimize organized crime related to the misuse of money in Serbia.
She also said that in order to fight crime, it is necessary to continuously develop new strategies due to the emergence of new risks.
She explained that changes and innovation should be employed in trials and criminal prosecutions, in order to reach a maturity of the rule of law, as a basic principle of democracy.
The ambassador said that this area is one of Sweden’s priorities and announced that special envoys from her country for the fight against money laundering will soon visit Serbia to exchange experience and harmonize our legislative framework with European legislation.
The project is financed by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and implemented by the Council of Europe, to improve the system for combating money laundering in Serbia, and to harmonize our legislative framework in that area with EU law.
Photo: Tanjug/Zoran Žestić