US sanctions Dodik for corruption, threatening BiH stability

ATV, a company closely linked to Dodik’s family, has also been sanctioned. [EPA-EFE/FEHIM DEMIR]

The US has sanctioned Republika Srpska leader Milorad Dodik and his associated media channel Alternativna Televizija (ATV) for “corrupt activities and continued threats to the stability and territorial integrity of BiH”.

This is the first designation issued under US President Joe Biden’s executive order of June 2021 which blocked all US-based property owned by those contributing to destabilisation in the Western Balkans, and banned them from entering the US.

“Dodik has undermined BiH institutions by calling for the seizure of state competencies and setting in motion the creation of parallel institutions in BiH’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity,” reads the order.

ATV, a company closely linked to Dodik’s family, has also been sanctioned.

The Department of Treasury’s press releases said that Dodik “has funnelled money directly from public companies to ATV for corrupt purposes. Dodik has substantially increased funding for ATV in recent years and engaged in malign social media influence campaigns through ATV to publish content that advances his political and personal goals.”

The US warned that it would consider sanctions against Dodik for his secessionist activity in Bosnia. Dodik defied the warnings and in November 2021, the Serbian entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina voted to leave key state institutions, namely the Bosnian army and Bosnia’s judiciary and tax system.

The newly-imposed sanctions, “all property and interests in property of the individual and entity above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.”

Furthermore, all US persons or entities are banned from conducting translations with Dodik or ATV.

The Department of State is publicly designating former Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council (HJPC) President Milan Tegeltija and the President of the Movement for Democratic Action (PDA) and Parliamentary Assembly Representative Mirsad Kukić, due to their involvement in significant corruption, both from Republika Srpska.

In his official capacity as HJPC President, Tegeltija was involved in corrupt acts that included using his political influence and official power for his personal benefit.

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