The United States Targets Actors for Destabilizing Behavior
Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated seven individuals and one business entity across four countries in the Western Balkans pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14033. This is the second action OFAC has taken under E.O. 14033, targeting persons who threaten the stability of the region through corruption, criminal activity, and other destabilizing behavior. Today’s action reinforces the United States’ commitment to promoting accountability for actors in the Western Balkans region engaged in malign behavior pursuant to E.O. 14033.
As part of this action, the Department of State is designating individuals from North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2022. The Department of State is also designating their immediate family members under 7031(c). This action renders them and their immediate family members ineligible for entry into the United States.
Asim Sarajlic, a delegate in BiH’s House of Peoples, was involved in high-level corruption including influence peddling, abuse of office, and accepting bribes in exchange for influencing employment decisions at state-owned enterprises such as BH Telecom.
Gordana Tadic, Chief Prosecutor of the State Prosecutor’s Office from 2019 until her removal from that position in 2021 by the High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, used her position to promote her own personal and familial interests and to protect political patrons from prosecution. This egregious abuse of office is emblematic of the undue political influence on BiH’s judicial institutions and the willingness by judicial office holders to ignore their commitment to objectively upholding the law. Citizen trust in BiH’s judicial institutions is at an all-time low in large part due to actions such as those undertaken by Tadic.
Sarajlic is designated pursuant to E.O. 14033 for being responsible for or complicit in, or having directly or indirectly engaged in, corruption related to the Western Balkans such as the misappropriation of public assets, expropriation of private assets for personal gain or political purposes, or bribery. Tadic is designated pursuant to E.O. 14033 for engaging in actions that undermine democratic institutions in BiH, namely the State Prosecutor’s Office. Additionally, Tadic is designated under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2022. The Department of State is also designating her immediate family members. Tadic and her immediate family members are now ineligible for entry into the United States.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated individuals or entities that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or persons within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. U.S. persons may face civil or criminal penalties for violations of E.O. 14033.