For the first time in several years, investing money of unknown origin in real estate has not been identified as the most popular type of money laundering in Serbia or as the big challenge in the fight against money laundering, according to the annual report made by the Administration for Prevention of Money Laundering.
The construction sector is no longer the most popular form of money laundering – cryptocurrencies are.
In the latest Annual Report by the Administration, in the chapters dedicated to the types of money laundering and trends, there is no mention of real estate construction and renting activities, in relation to the years 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. In the previous reports, the Administration had expressed concern about the trend of investing money of unknown origin (including that generated by organized crime or individual criminals) in the construction of the real estate.
Instead, this year’s report cites the misuse of payment platforms as a common type of money laundering, with the intent to conceal the true origin of money. The report also highlights the connection between the individuals making the transfers, estimating that IT-related services are very often used to cover up illegally acquired money.
Money of illegal origin is transferred in significant amounts from the account of a legal entity abroad on the basis of the provision of IT services for the benefit of legal entities in Serbia. Legal entities in Serbia then pay those funds to individuals in the form of salaries. The individuals keep a portion for themselves and return most of it in cash to the people behind such projects, the report explains. Other money laundering types also include selling and buying motor vehicles, i.e. used cars.
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