The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has designated Milorad Dodik who is a member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), as well the Banja Luka-based station Alternativna Televizija (ATV), an entity under his control.
In a statement, it says it has done so “in response to Dodik’s corrupt activities and continued threats to the stability and territorial integrity of BiH”.
It adds that the action, the first under E.O. 14033, “builds on the Biden Administration’s commitment to promote accountability for those who, among other things, undermine the stability of the Western Balkans region through corruption and threats to long-standing peace agreements. 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. Furthermore, Dodik has used his official BiH position to accumulate personal wealth through graft, bribery, and other forms of corruption. His divisive ethno-nationalistic rhetoric reflects his efforts to advance these political goals and distract attention from his corrupt activities. Cumulatively, these actions threaten the stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of BiH and undermine the Dayton Peace Accords, thereby risking wider regional instability”.
Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said: “Milorad Dodik’s destabilising corrupt activities and attempts to dismantle the Dayton Peace Accords, motivated by his own self-interest, threaten the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the entire region.
“The United States will not hesitate to act against those who pursue corruption, destabilisation, and division at the expense of their own people, as well as against those who enable and facilitate this behaviour”.
Commenting specifically about ATV, the statement goes on to say it is “privately owned by a company closely linked to Dodik’s family. However, Dodik himself exerts personal control over ATV behind the scenes, such as by requiring personal approval on media stories related to politically sensitive topics. Dodik acquired ATV to deliberately and expressly further his own agenda, which includes his efforts to denigrate other political figures, burnish his public image, and advance his own personal and political goals.
“Dodik has awarded ATV-related contracts directly to members of his family, which he has used as yet another avenue for corruption. He has funelled 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.
“ATV is being designated pursuant to E.O. 14033 for being owned or controlled by, or having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Dodik”.