The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the head of Serbia’s top security agency (BIA) Aleksandar Vulin for “corrupt dealing which facilitate Russian malign activities in Serbia and the region”.
“The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned an individual in Serbia pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14033. The designation of Aleksandar Vulin underscores the United States’ determination to hold accountable those engaged in corrupt dealings that further their own political agendas and personal interests at the expense of peace and stability in the Western Balkans. These corrupt dealings facilitate Russian malign activities in Serbia and the region,” a press release said. The sanctions include the blocking of all of Vulin’s assets in the US.
It quoted Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson as saying that “today’s action holds accountable Aleksandar Vulin for his corrupt and destabilizing acts that have also facilitated Russia’s malign activities in the region”.
It said that Vulin (head of the Security Intelligence Agency (BIA) and a former cabinet minister) has been implicated in transnational organized crime, illegal narcotics operations, and misuse of public office. “Vulin has maintained a mutually beneficial relationship with US-designated Serbian arms dealer Slobodan Tesic, helping ensure that Tesic’s illegal arms shipments can move freely across Serbia’s borders,” the press release said adding that he advanced corruption within Serbia’s governing institutions and was involved in a drug trafficking ring.
It said that the Defense and Internal Affairs Ministries (which Vulin headed) are not targeted by the sanctions. Vulin, a close associate of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has been out of the public eye for weeks amid rumors that he is in Russia.
Vulin’s Movement of Socialists (PS) said that the sanctions are an attack on Serbia and its institutions and accused Washington of “lying, hating and raping the truth” by declaring Vulin a drug trafficker even though he put behind bars “their favorite narco bosses”.
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