State checking bank accounts of journalists, media companies and NGOs, suspicions of money laundering

July 31, 2020

The Directorate for the Prevention of Money Laundering at the Ministry of Finance has compiled a list of media workers, non-governmental organisations and civil society associations and asked banks to inspect all their transactions since 1st January 2019. Prompted by suspicions of possible money laundering or the financing of terrorists, the investigation encompasses 20 individuals and 37 organisations or associations.

And while the state insists that no one is above the law and that this is a normal activity, those who have found themselves on the list suspect that the state’s intention to deal with its critics is behind everything. Apart from NGOs, the list also includes journalists’ associations, prominent investigative journalists and portals investigating crime and corruption issues related to individuals in power, also including possible money laundering.

The day after the publishing of the list, pro-government media reported on it widely, dubbing listed individuals as “mercenaries” who are scared that their accounts are being checked.

Slobodan Georgiev, director of the programme Newsmax Adria TV, which published the list exclusively, rejected claims from the Administration for Combatting Money Laundering that the published list was not authentic, insisting that its authenticity was confirmed personally by the director of that administration.