- Thursday, August 01, 2013 5:32 PM
Washington, 1 August 2013 (MIA) - The Balkans lost over $111.6 billion in illicit financial outflows to crime, corruption, and tax evasion between 2001 and 2010 only, Natasha Srdoc, Chairperson of Adriatic Institute for Public Policy, told the Voice of America - Macedonian language program.
"Something has to be done about this. The figures are shocking. They mean less money for education, health care, infrastructure, pensions. Investors with honest intentions avoid the region, being aware of the lack of rule of law, independent judiciary and protection of property rights," Srdoc said.
Macedonia has lost $4.6 billion from 2001 to 2010 to crime, corruption and tax evasion, Srdoc said, pointing out that the amount makes 44% of the country's GDP in 2011.
Serbia tops the list of Balkan countries - it lost $51 billion. In terms of the lost-GDP ratio, Montenegro with a figure of 138% is the greatest victim.
Asked how to put an end to the growing impoverishment of 64 million Balkan citizens, Srdoc said nothing could be done without the rule of law, independent judiciary and protection of property rights.
"The judiciary is under great political influence and that's why there is no solution to such cases. The financial drainages should be reported. The illegal wealth of governmental officials and politicians since 1991 should be confiscated in all countries of the region. International judges and prosecutors may help to their honest colleagues from the Balkan countries. It will be an impetus for the new generation of judges that will see the judiciary as an honest profession, which is not the case at the moment," Srdoc said.
The Adriatic Institute for Public Policy (AI) and Global Financial Integrity (GFI) have formed a strategic partnership to launch a new joint study on the Balkans' illicit financial outflows via crime, corruption and tax evasion for the years 1991 through 2011.
The study will present a picture of the realities impacting Balkan countries from illicit financial outflows and inflows, as well as steps that can be taken to curtail such flows. lk/17:32
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