Combat against money laundering and financing of terrorism in the Republic of Serbia

The Republic of Serbia has been committed to combating money laundering and terrorism financing for a number of years. It intensively monitors developments in the international environment and implements the best regulatory solutions.

The criminal offence of money laundering is sanctioned by Article 245 of the Criminal Code (RS Official Gazette, Nos 85/05, 88/05, 107/05, 72/09, 111/09, 121/2012, 104/2013, 108/2014, 94/2016 and 35/2019), and the criminal offence of terrorism financing by Article 393 of the Criminal Code.

The valid Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism, in force since 1 April 2018, further harmonises the domestic legislation with the international standards in the field, most notably with EU regulations and standards, in line with efforts made in the accession process towards full membership of the EU. The implementation of the Law and accompanying bylaws should improve the existing system of detection and prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing by promoting a risk-based approach.

To further improve the AML/CTF system, the Government adopted the Strategy Against Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism 2020–2024 and the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Strategy Against Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism (2020–2022).

To improve coordination and the efficiency of cooperation of all participants in the AML/CTF system, the Serbian Government set up the Coordination Body for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing. The Coordination Body is authorised to monitor the implementation of the national Strategy Against Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and its Action Plan, analyse the most important issues, coordinate and propose all activities in the field of permanent prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing, and implement and take into account the national money laundering and terrorist financing risk assessment.

It is of utmost importance that all relevant stakeholders take part in AML/CFT activities. They may be classified in three groups:

The first group are obliged entities under the Law (Article 4):

  • banks,
  • authorised exchange dealers and business entities performing exchange operations based on a separate law governing their business activity,
  • investment fund management companies,
  • voluntary pension fund management companies,
  • financial leasing providers,
  • insurance undertakings licensed to perform life insurance business and insurance brokerage undertakings when they perform life insurance brokerage, insurance agency undertakings and insurance agents with a licence to perform life insurance business, except for insurance agency undertakings and insurance agents for whose work the insurance undertaking is responsible according to law,
  • broker-dealer companies,
  • organisers of special games of chance in casinos and organisers of games of chance through electronic communication means,
  • auditing companies and independent auditors,
  • e-money institutions,
  • payment institutions,
  • intermediaries in the trade or lease of real estate,
  • factoring companies,
  • entrepreneurs and legal persons providing accounting services,
  • tax advisors,
  • public postal service operator headquartered in the Republic of Serbia, established according to the law governing postal services, which provides payment services in accordance with the law governing the provision of payment services;
  • persons engaging in postal traffic;
  • persons providing the services of purchasing, selling or transferring virtual currencies or exchanging of such currencies for money or other property through internet platforms, devices in physical form or otherwise, or which intermediate in the provision of these services, custody wallet service providers, and from June 2021 providers of other services related to digital assets.

Obliged entities also include lawyers when:

  1. assisting in planning or execution of transactions for a customer concerning:
    • buying or selling of real estate or a company,
    • managing of customer assets,
    • opening or using an account with a bank (bank, savings or securities accounts),
    • collecting contributions necessary for the establishment, operation or management of companies,
    • establishment, operation or management of a company or person under foreign law;
  2. carrying out, on behalf of or for a customer, any financial or real estate transaction.

Obliged entities also include public notaries when they draft or certify (solemnise) documents in relation to the transactions specified in regard to lawyers.

The second group are authorities that supervise the implementation of the Law (Article 104):

  • Administration for the Prevention of Money Laundering,
  • National Bank of Serbia,
  • Securities Commission,
  • authority competent for supervision in the area of tax advisory services,
  • authority competent for supervision in the area of games of chance,
  • ministry competent for supervisory inspection in the area of trade,
  • Bar Association of Serbia,
  • Chamber of Public Notaries.

The third group are judicial and police authorities:

  • Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office,
  • Courts,
  • Ministry of Interior.