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Balkan States Hit by Illegal Cash Outflow

Serbia, Romania, Croatia and Bulgaria have serious problems with money being moved abroad illegally, according to a new report by a US financial research group.

The new report by US NGO Global Financial Integrity entitled ‘Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2004-2013 rings alarm bells about the amount of ‘black money’ leaving the four Balkan countries each year.

The Global Financial Integrity ranked 149 countries according to the largest average illicit financial outflows – the amount of cash taken out of countries annually through money laundry and other illegal financial activities.

With 3.72 billion euro of illegal money taken out of the country annually, Serbia was the highest-ranking Balkan country, ranking 35th globally.

Serbia was closely followed by two EU countries, Romania in 39th place with 3.17 billion euro a year, and Croatia in 40th place with 3.15 billion euro a year.

Another Balkan EU country, Bulgaria, was in 47th place, with 2.25 billion euro of illegal money taken out of the country each year.

Other Balkan countries scored much lower on the scale, with Macedonia in 88th place with 471 million euro and Montenegro in 105th place with 234.6 million euro.

The report put Albania in 118th place with 112.2 million euro and Bosnia and Herzegovina in 136th place with 18.2 million euro.

According to the research, there are no records of illegal money being taken out of the youngest Balkan country, Kosovo, which was ranked 146th alongside Somalia and the United Arab Emirates. The Central Asian state of Uzbekistan comes last in the rankings, but with data missing.

The countries with the biggest problem, according to the research, are global superpowers China with 127 billion euro illegally moved abroad each year and Russia with 95.7 billion euro.

The report put the Balkan states in the ‘Developing Europe’ region, which scored second in the world in terms of illicit financial outflow compared with GDP.

In the ‘Developing Europe’ region, illicit financial outflows make up 5.9 per cent of annual GDP. The ‘Sub-Saharan Africa’ region ranked highest with 6.1 per cent of annual GDP.

Serbia is also the highest-ranking Balkan state in terms of illicit financial outflow compared with GDP, with illegal money leaving the country constituting 10.5 per cent of annual GDP.

Montenegro comes second on the list with seven per cent, followed by Croatia with six, Macedonia with 5.9 and Bulgaria with 5.5 per cent.

The lowest in the Balkans were Romania with 2.2, Albania with 1.1 and Bosnia with 0.1 per cent of illicit money outflows compared to annual GDP.

Source: Balkan Insight


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