Bosnia Given Deadline on Money Laundering Law

Moneyval, the Council of Europe's Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism, has given Bosnia an extended deadline until June to adopt a law on money laundering.

Samir Omerhodzic, member of the Bosnian delegation, said the country could be blacklisted unless the law was adopted by then.

“Unless in these two months the law on preventing the money laundering and terrorist activities is adopted, there will be no more discussion and sanctions will follow,” he said.

Passage of the law has been hostage to disputes about whether it should be adopted at state level, or at the level of Bosnia's two autonomous entities.

Lawmakers from Republika Srpska, the mainly Serbian entity in Bosnia, refused to support the law when it was discussed in the Bosnian parliament's committe for defence and security in March.

Bosnian Serb MPs maintained that the issue should not be regulated at state level but at the level of the entities.

Bosnia is comprised of two entities, the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska and the Bosniak-Croat Federation entity. It also has a central government, which claims jurisdiction over various fields that the entities in some cases claim should belong to them.

Possible sanctions could harm businesses in the country, while the financial transactions of ordinary citizens would come under fresh scrutiny.

Bosnia was warned earlier that Moneyval could issue a report saying the country did not meet international standards in preventing money laundering, which would have impact on the international financial institutions on which Bosnia still depends.

The Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures was...

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