An increase in the powers of the authorities and a corresponding increase in obligators’ responsibilities, characterise the changes brought by Amendments to the Anti-money Laundering and Terrorism-Financing Act of the Republic of Serbia (“Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia“, No. 91/2019) adopted on 1 January 2020, aimed at achieving greater control over the flow of money through internal controls of financial service users.
This tendency to tighter control in the area of prevention of money laundering and terrorism-financing is justified by the ever-greater need to curb financial crime, the shadow economy and the global rise of terrorism. It simultaneously aligns the Anti-money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act of the Republic of Serbia with the directives of the European Union.
The foreign element and international cooperation
Amendments to the Anti-money Laundering and Terrorism-Financing Act of the Republic of Serbia extend the concept of money laundering to all activities specified in the Act, whether carried out within Serbia or abroad. Through newly implemented mechanisms and procedures of international cooperation, the competent authority of Republic of Serbia will collaborate with authorities in other countries to establish and verify data in cases where reasonable suspicion exists that money laundering or terrorism-financing activities may be taking place.
Extended powers of Customs; extended definition of the notion of “obligator”
The Amendments lower the electronic transaction threshold used for payment of goods and services (previously 250 EUR, now 150 EUR in Dinar counter-value) which triggers the requirement for the service provider to verify the accuracy of data provided by the payer and payee. At the same time, the Amendments introduce video-identification by prior consent as a new method of establishing a physical person’s identity.
The Amendments expand the legal definition of the word “obligator” to include providers of postal and custodial wallet services.
Serbian customs now have the authority to confiscate unreported cash carried across international borders where money laundering and terrorism-financing activities are suspected.
Unitary Safe Deposit Register and Unitary Register of Monetary Transfer Users
Another notable change brought about by the Amendments is the introduction of two new national Registers: The Unitary Safe Deposit Register and The Unitary Register of Monetary Transfer Users. Both registers are administered electronically by the National Bank of Serbia. From 1 June 2020, banks and payment service providers will be obliged to report on the use of safe deposit boxes and electronic money transfers in Serbia and will be held responsible for the accuracy of this information.
Licence: a new requirement for obligators acting as authorised persons
From 1 January 2021, obtaining a Licence issued by the Directorate for the Prevention of Money Laundering of the Republic of Serbia will be mandatory for obligators wishing to appoint an authorized person and a deputy authorized person responsible for duties associated with prevention of money-laundering and terrorism-financing. The specific conditions under which obligators will appoint authorised personnel, as well as the specific criteria under which personnel can qualify for the duty, will be determined by the Finance Minister of the Republic of Serbia.
All obligators are required to align their activities with the Anti-money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Act, Republic of Serbia no later than 1 May 2020.
For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Vladimir Radinovic at the TSG Law Office, firstname.lastname@example.org