The US Department of Treasury said on October 20 it has imposed new sanctions on the son and the daughter of Milorad Dodik, president of Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Republika Srpska. It has also sanctioned four entities related to the family.
“Members of this network, which include Dodik’s adult children, facilitate Dodik’s ongoing corruption in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) RS entity, allowing him to siphon public funds from the RS and enrich himself and his family at the expense of BiH citizens and functional governance in the country,” the Department of Treasury said in a statement.
“Dodik has used his official BiH position and a network of personal ties and companies to accumulate personal wealth through graft, bribery, and other forms of corruption.”
Washington also criticised Dodik’s divisive nationalist rhetoric that has undermined stability within Bosnia. The US state department called the Bosnian Serb leader, already sanctioned by the US, a “leading voice of genocide denial and driver of the deepening divisions and political impasse in the country”.
Dodik, who was previously a member of Bosnia’s state-level tripartite presidency, has for years been calling for Republika Srpska’s secession and in the past months has taken steps towards possible actual secession.
“His divisive ethno-nationalistic rhetoric reflects his efforts to advance these political goals and divert attention from his corrupt activities. Additionally, Dodik has publicly denigrated other ethnic and religious groups within BiH, further sowing division and political gridlock,” the statement noted.
The Department of Treasury further criticised Dodik for sponsoring the adoption of a law rejecting the authority of state-level constitutional court.
However, the focus of the new sanctions is on corruption. Dodik was accused of engaging in corruption securing his personal financial and political stability at the expense of Republika Srpska’s citizens. He was supported financially and politically by his family and the four designated entities.
Since 2021, Dodik has increased the involvement of his son, Igor Dodik, and daughter, Gorica Dodik, in political and business activities within Republika Srpska, “causing concern that the RS was becoming more like a Dodik family business rather than a political entity of BiH”, the statement said.
“The extent of the Dodik family’s corruption has also drawn concern from nations interested in providing foreign investment funds to the RS, leading some to refrain from doing so because they believed that any financial assistance would likely go to Dodik and his family rather than RS institutions,” it added.
The German government recently shut down the financing of four infrastructure projects worth €105mn in Republika Srpska, citing Dodik’s secessionist ambitions.
It said that in the last general election, Dodik and his son conspired to bribe political officials, polling station members, and election observers in effort to corruptly win the election.
“Igor engaged in bribery of opposition politicians, who were offered political appointments in exchange for critical information and election observer positions at polling locations,” the Department of Treasury noted.
At the same time, Gorica was accused of being involved in handling political and business activities for her father, including owning several companies that receive substantial government assistance by Republika Srpska’s government upon Dodik’s direction.
“OFAC is designating Igor pursuant to E.O. 14033 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Dodik, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 14033,” the statement noted.
“OFAC is designating Gorica pursuant to E.O. 14033 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Dodik, a person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 14033,” it added.
The US is also designating several companies, including Global Liberty, Agro Voce, Agape Gorica Dodik i Ivana Dodik and Fruit Eco, which operate in Bosnia in the restaurant and wholesale materials sectors.
“All these entities receive RS public assistance through preferential treatment as a result of being owned by Dodik's family,” the Department of Treasury noted.
As a result of the latest sanctions, all property and interests in property of the designated persons that are in the US or in the possession or control of US persons are blocked. All companies owned by the designated Dodik’s children are also blocked.