Vreme čitanja: oko 3 min.
How come Russians and Ukrainians can even buy apartments in Serbia? This paper allows them to do that
Vreme čitanja: oko 3 min.
It is necessary to inform the citizens about the potential risks and to point out the harm that money laundering causes to a society in general, says an interlocutor of Telegraf Biznis
The war has been going on for a year, and a large number of Russian and Ukrainian citizens came our country during the past months. Apart from the changes they have brought to sectors such as the real estate market, the challenge is also to determine the origin of their money.
There was more talk about this at the end of last year during the event "Implementation of mechanisms for the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism - achievements and challenges," and the conclusion was that it is necessary for private, civil and state cooperation to prevent money laundering and financing of terrorism, and that it is crucial to educate those who work directly with clients, such as bank employees and real estate agents.
The event marked the completion of the one-year project "Initiative for Prevention of Money Laundering" organized by Partners Serbia, with the support and cooperation of the American Bar Association.
Ana Toskic Cvetinovic, executive director of the organization Partners Serbia, explains the details in an interview with Telegraf Biznis. We asked her how to educate people and employees about this problem.
"It is necessary that all those bound by the law (banks, notaries, real estate agencies, etc.) educate their employees how to assess the risks of money laundering, but also how to clearly communicate to clients why they carry out certain procedures (checks, data collection), because it often causes dissatisfaction among clients.
It is also necessary to inform citizens about potential risks and to point out the harm that money laundering causes to a society in general. This can be done through public campaigns and education, such as the one that Partners Serbia organized on its E-learning platform.
Also, it is extremely important that cases of money laundering and terrorist financing are consistently prosecuted, says our interlocutor.
What are the risks with IT companies opened by Russians?
A big topic in Serbia is that the Russians and the Ukrainians have "disrupted" the real estate market - how is it even possible for someone to own an apartment in Serbia, if they are a citizen of those countries?
"Foreigners can own real estate (with the exception of agricultural land) if their country of origin has signed a bilateral agreement with the Republic of Serbia, which is the case with Russia and with Ukraine, so their citizens can buy apartments and houses in Serbia," Ana Toskic Cvetinovic explains.
In this regard, most of the companies opened by Russians are in the IT sector, and the risks are primarily related to the sources of money, that is, the clients from whom the money is received.
There are particular risks with regard to cryptocurrency trading, which implies a certain level of anonymity, so black cryptocurrency markets are a convenient place for illicit money flows. For this reason, there are authorized entities that deal with traffic in this area as well.
And when it comes to geopolitical challenges in general, i.e. how they affect the reputation of Serbia, when it comes to preventing money laundering, our interlocutor points out that they have a lot of influence.
"Risks change with geopolitical changes, i.e. changes in money flows. The system must be ready to respond to new challenges and changed circumstances, which does not imply additional repression, but a good risk assessment and directing resources to those activities that are more susceptible to money laundering and terrorist financing," she tells us.
In addition, we discover what it is they mostly do here. (also in Serbian)
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