Warning Issued Over Bosnia Money-Laundering Risks

After the Bosnian parliament failed to adopt legislation to tackle money-laundering, Council of Europe experts urged other states to be vigilant in financial dealings with the country.

The Council of Europe’s expert committee on money-laundering issues, Moneyval, .

‘Moneyal calls on states and territories evaluated by Moneyval and other countries to advise their financial institutions to pay special attention by applying enhanced due diligence measures to transactions with persons and financial institutions from or in Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to address the money laundering and financing of terrorism risks,’ its statement said.

The warning came after the Bosnian parliament failed to adopt a law on preventing the money-laundering and the financing of terrorist activities ahead of

Financial transactions into and out of the country are now expected to become more complicated and more highly scrutinised for potential wrongdoing.

Samir Omerhodzic of the Bosnian delegation to Moneyval said that the country had now become ‘high risk’.

He said that further sanctions will depend on the Financial Action Task Force, FATF, a global inter-governmental body acting against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

‘We don’t know what the future scenario will be; it will depend on a session of FATF in mid-June or of the committee of Moneyval in September,’ Omerhodzic said.

Depending on the FATF’s assessment, Bosnia could be put on a list of problem countries alongside Iran, North Korea, Algeria, Pakistan and Syria.

The legal changes had been backed by the Bosnian government and the House of Representatives of the state parliament, but not by its other chamber, the House of Peoples.

Dragan Covic, the speaker of the House of Peoples, was accused of irresponsibility because he did not call for an urgent session on the issue last week before the deadline passed.

The House of Peoples had scheduled a session for June 6, five days after Moneyval’s deadline.

Bosnia’s Deputy Security Minister Mladen Cavar said that all earlier disagreements over the legislation had been sorted out and blamed the House of Peoples for not acting in time.

‘I had promises from two months ago that there would be no problems in the adoption of the laws… if all amendments were agreed upon in the Council of Ministers. We created a law that was acceptable to all, but there was no session of the House of Peoples,’ Cavar said.

But Covic said that it was not his fault because the legislation had been under discussion ‘for months’ and the issue should have been resolved earlier.

‘How does it always happen that exactly on the last day we remember the deadlines?’ he asked.

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