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News 25 Apr 13

Bosnia Court Blocks Ex-Tax Chief's Assets

Bosnian courts have blocked all known assets of the State Taxation Authority's ex-director, Kemal Causevic, on suspicion that he misused his position for personal gain.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo

Bosnian Prosecutors are investiging suspicions that Kemal Causevic, former director of Bosnia's Indirect Taxation Authority, misused his position for financial gain.

The probe concerns claims that Causevic misused his directorial position from 2006 to 2009, harming the state budget to the tune of more than 2.7 million euro, the media reported on Tuesday.

Causevic has denied the accusations.

“The Prosecutor's Office maintains that I misused my public post with the VAT returns to two companies, Kekerovic and Eurosol,” Causevic said. “But according to the rules, a director does not even participate in VAT Returns."

Bosnian media reported that the State Prosecutor is also investigating his business relations with Anes Sadikovic, one of those arrested in a police dragnet, on suspicion that Sadikovic was involved in buying Causevic assets in Turkey.

Regardless of his denials, courts have blocked 11 of Causevic's assets, including several apartments, office spaces and properties in or around Sarajevo.

An investigation by the Sarajevo-based Center for Investigative Reporting, CIN, published on April 22, said Causevic bought five apartments, four offices and more than 20,000 square meters of land between 2006 and the end of 2012, in downtown Sarajevo and in other prime locations.

His income in that period did not match the cost of the investment, CIN found, when he bought assets worth more than half a million euro in less than seven years.

Records say he did not take loans for the properties but paid owners direct through his bank account or in cash.

When he was appointed director of Indirect Taxation Authority in December 2003, Causevic did not own any property.

In February 2006, he bought his first apartment in the centre of Sarajevo, buying another one in the same block soon after. The third apartment, where he lives today, is also in the same building.  

Later, he bought an office at a public auction and then few other smaller sites in the city centre. In 2010, he bought his fourth apartment in the main Sarajevo street of Ferhadija. The same year, he bought another apartment in the same building.

CIN also recorded that Causevic bought three plots in the elite Poljine area during 2010 and 2011, a combined space of 20,400 square metres and last year bought offices of 198 square metres in the Grbavica area.

In his statement to CIN, Causevic said he had a high income, gained not only from his salaries but also from renting, seminars and family.

The Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency, SIPA, has earlier alleged that Causevic for years played a key role in sweeping under the carpet illegalities in textile imports.

According to the SIPA report, Causevic and other taxation officials turned a blind eye to the import of textiles with fake declarations of origin.

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