The Montenegrin institutions begun updating the National Risk Assessment (NRA) of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing , through a two-days workshop, which will strengthen and improve the overall state system for combating these phenomena.
Minister of Finance, Mr Darko Radunovic, said that the National Risk Assessment was gaining importance because the final beneficiaries of the project were not only all institutions involved in the fight against corruption and organized crime, but also the private sector and the society as a whole.
„That is why delegated representatives of both communities are here today. In that sense, it is necessary to establish and improve the solid links between all bodies of the state system, while working on strengthening the public-private partnership," added Mr. Radunovic.
The Action against Economic Crime in Montenegro, within which the workshop was organised, is expected to contribute to the protection of democracy, the rule of law, the safety of citizens and the economy, the overall stability of the national system, through the prevention and suppression of money laundering and financing of terrorism.
With that in mind, it is necessary to establish and improve the strong links between all bodies of the state system, while working to strengthen the public-private partnership," Mr Radunovic said.
Director of the Administration for the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, Mr Vesko Lekic, believes that the implementation of the project marks an important step forward for the improvement of the system of combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
"Montenegro will have a long-term benefit from this second, thorough National Risk Assessment. This will set a firm and strong foundation on the basis of which we will strengthen and improve the entire state system of combating such crimes" said Lekic.
He emphasized that the delegated representatives of the present authorities and institutions expected to meet their part of the obligation using available knowledge and opportunities to their full capacities.
"Otherwise, leadership of the institution in question will be officially asked to replace the initially appointed representatives, which implies the significance of this project from the point of subsequent international evaluation of the state that implements it," Lekic said.
Head of Cooperation Section in the EU Delegation to Montenegro, Mr Hermann Spitz, pointed out that corruption, money laundering and the financing of terrorism undermine the rule of law, public trust in democratic institutions and sustainable economic development.
"Therefore, the fight against these threats is a priority for the EU and for Montenegro. The EU reacts strongly to such threats and dangers. In particular, this was done by adopting the Fourth Directive and the Fifth Directive on anti-money laundering in 2015 and 2018, respectively" Spitz said.
Spitz said that EU will adopt its own list of high risk countries which present strategic deficiencies in their regimes on anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing.
„Once placed on this list, the country would face diminished diplomatic support and increased costs of due diligence in financial transactions. This will affect crossborder capital flows, especially for the trade sector“, Spitz said.
He also stated that the presence of 90 representatives of 37 institutions and the private sector witnesses the high relevance of this event and indicates the intention of the local stakeholders to step up the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.
„All of us need to join the efforts to address risks identified in this process and to demonstrate that Montenegro has an effective structure for prevention and suppression of money laundering and terrorism financing“, concluded Spitz.
Head of Operations of the Council of Europe Programme Office in Podgorica, Ms Angela Longo, said that the fight against economic crime leads to higher security of citizens and protection of financial interests of Montenegro.
"A regular assessment of compliance with the international standards is carried out by Council of Europe's relevant monitoring body. We want to help you carry out the National Risk Assessment and understand the methodology and manner of resource allocation in the right way, " stressed Ms Longo.
Administrator of the Council of Europe Economic Crime and Cooperation Division, Ms Jelena Jolic, said that Montenegro had done enough to revise its laws, to introduce various methodologies and processes in order to improve the fight against such forms of crimes.
"But the way you use the mechanisms depends on where you see your risks and the biggest vulnerabilities are," explained Jolic.
Ninety representatives from thirty-seven state institutions and private companies took part in this process through discussion and analysis of the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing and the current threats and vulnerabilities of the national system, as well as measures to mitigate them.
The workshop was organised within the Action against Economic Crime in Montenegro, which is a part of the Horizontal Facility Programme for the Western Balkans and Turkey, funded by the European Union and co-funded and implemented by the Council of Europe.