Advertisement

U.S. sanctions Bosnian-Serb leader Milorad Dodik's family 'patronage network'

The Biden administration has repeatedly sanctioned those close to Milorad Dodik, president of Republika Srpska. On Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury hit a network of people and companies accused of enriching Dodik and his family. File Photo by Fehim Demir/EPA-EFE
The Biden administration has repeatedly sanctioned those close to Milorad Dodik, president of Republika Srpska. On Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury hit a network of people and companies accused of enriching Dodik and his family. File Photo by Fehim Demir/EPA-EFE

June 18 (UPI) -- The United States on Tuesday sanctioned two people and seven companies the Treasury described as a "patronage network" of Bosnian-Serb nationalist leader Milorad Dodik, whom the Biden administration has been targeting over his secessionist efforts and allegations of corruption.

Milorda Dodik is president of Republika Srpska, one of two entities that along with the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina make up the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Advertisement

He was elected in October 2018 as the Serbian member of Bosnia's multi-ethnic three-person presidency, and came under sanctions by the Biden administration about four years later over his calls for Srpska's secession.

The Biden administration has repeatedly blacklisted those close to Dodik, including family members and companies alleged to be enriching the leader and themselves.

"The United States condemns Dodik's continued efforts to erode the institutions that have ensured peace and stability for Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region," Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said Tuesday in a statement.

"We will continue to expose the fraudulent schemes that enable Dodik and his family to exploit their own people for their personal benefit."

Advertisement

The so-called Dodik family patronage network hit Tuesday comprises a series of companies that obfuscate their connection to the Srpska leader and his son, Igor Dodik, who use their leverage to secure them lucrative government contracts.

The Treasury pointed to state-level contracts being awarded this year to an IT company within the patronage network outside of the competitive process.

The Biden administration has repeatedly accused Dodik of undermining Dayton Peace Agreement of 1995 that ended the bloody Bosnian War and created the nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"Dodik not only robs the people of BiH through his corrupt behavior but also threatens their safety and security through his repeated threats to pursue secession of the RS from BiH," the Treasury said Tuesday.

"Through his corruption and secessionist rhetoric, Dodik continues to undermine BiH institutions and enrich his family at the people's expense, further risking BiH's future in Euro-Atlantic institutions."

Latest Headlines