Balkan States Linked to Russian Money-Laundering Scheme

Media reports about the massive money-laundering scheme which siphoned $20.8 billion (19.2 billion euros) from 19 Russian banks have named Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Romania and Bosnia and Herzegovina among the countries where suspicious financial transactions took place.

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, OCCRP, first reported on the scheme back in 2014, but this week published new material based on additional documents with its Russian partner, Moscow-based Novaya Gazeta, as well as investigative journalists from 32 countries.

The investigation sought to expose banks, companies and businesspeople involved in the criminal transfer of money out of Russian banks in over 70,000 transactions in 96 countries between 2010 and 2014.

The Balkan country with the biggest number of transactions was Bulgaria, where a total of 1.3 million euros was transferred in 14 transactions.

In Serbia, there were nine transactions worth 800,000 euros in total, and seven transactions worth 470,000 euros in Croatia.

There were four such transactions worth 84,000 euros in Romania and one transaction, worth 5,800 euros, in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

No suspicious transactions were recorded in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro.

Police in Moldova and Latvia have staged major investigations into the scheme, as huge amounts of money were laundered through banks in both countries.

Some of the final receivers of the money were Russians who own companies involved in construction, engineering, information technology, and banking.

Further details of the story were reported by British newspaper The Guardian on Monday, focussing on 17 British banks that allegedly took part in the suspicious...

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