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News 18 Jun 14

Bosnia Arrests 30 Tax Officials For Corruption

Bosnian police have arrested over 30 taxation authority officials suspected of taking part in organized crime and corruption - the biggest post-war investigation of its kind.

Denis Dzidic

The Bosnian prosecution ordered the arrests of over 30 officials of the taxation authority of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including former tax director Kemal Causevic, as well as questioning 20 others.

The spokesperson of the prosecutor’s office, Boris Grubesic, said the investigation lasted for over eight months and was the biggest organized crime-related investigation in the country's history.

The supects are under investigation for “organized crime, taxation fraud, illegal taxation, money laundering and abuse of power which resulted in the loss of millions for the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Grubesic said.

“The arrested persons are suspected of abusing their power to allow textile goods to enter the country free of tax,” he added.

The state prosecution has ordered more than 300 officials of the state investigation and protection agency, SIPA, to search dozens of locations in Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Tuzla and 17 other towns.

Kristina Jozic, SIPA spokesperson, said some of the arrested persons illegally waived taxes on vehicles crossing the border from 2011 to 2013.

“Several of them are suspected of abusing their official powers by freeing, partly or completely, over 300 vehicles of taxation responsibilities,” said Jozic.

Among those arrested are former director of the Bosnian indirect taxation office, Kemal Causevic, and the deputy director, Zdravko Cvjetinovic.

Causevic was director of the institution from 2004 to 2011, and is a member of the mainly Bosniak Party for Democratic Action, SDA.

The Sarajevo-based Center for Investigative Journalism published an investigation last year in which it revealed that during his time in office Causevic bought seven properties worth over 500,000 euros, while officially earning half of that amount.

After questioning the suspects, the Bosnian prosecution will ask for custody measures.

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