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news 23 Aug 13

US 'Eminence Grise's' Bosnian Exit Sparks Rumours

James Tillman, widely considered Washington's 'most influential man' in Bosnia, has been withdrawn from the country for reasons unknown, prompting a slew of rumours.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN, Slobodna Bosna
Sarajevo

James Tillman, considered Washington's "most influential man" in Bosnia, has left the country and is to be replaced as director of the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program, ICITAP, the US embassy told Balkan Insight on August 22.

Tillman's departure sparked a number of conflicting rumours in Bosnia.

The weekly Slobodna Bosna on Wednesday reported that some sources said the FBI had detained Tillman on corruption charges.

But a US embassy source told Balkan Insight on Thursday: “We have no information of any kind of arrests.”

In its Thursday edition the Sarajevo weekly said some of its sources claimed Tillman last week took off from Sarajevo airport followed by an FBI agent, and that on arrival in the US he was arrested on accusations of corruption.

However, it said other sources said that he was neither arrested nor removed from his position.

A third possibility, Slobodna Bosna reported, is that he was asked to come to the US to attend a hearing into an alleged sex-abuse case in which a Bosnian colleague accused him of sexual harassment. Other sources dismissed that possibility also, merely saying he was on vacation.

Tillman has worked for around 15 years in Bosnia and is informally considered in the police, intelligence and even judicial circles, as the most powerful and influential US diplomat.

The mission of the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program, ICITAP, is to work with foreign governments to develop professional and transparent law enforcement institutions that protect human rights, combat corruption, and reduce the threat of transnational crime and terrorism.

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