Bosnia sends former head of tax agency to jail for corruption
A court in Bosnia and Herzegovina sentenced the former head of the country’s Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA BiH) to nine years for his role in a bribery program that authorities say robbed the state budget over $ 1 billion over five years. period.
Kemal ÄauÅ¡eviÄ was convicted last week of corruption and money laundering. The court ordered the confiscation of real estate worth at least 1.7 million convertible marks ($ 1.06 million) – the amount it allegedly received in bribes.
As the first director of ITA BiH, serving from 2005 to 2011, auÅ¡eviÄ conspired with some of the large quantity importers of textiles from Turkey, China and Hungary and promised them “preferential treatment during the importation for their businesses, âaccording to its 2017 indictment.
Preferential treatment meant reduced amounts subject to customs clearance, avoiding detailed inspections and accepting invoices for which it knew to contain inaccurate data. In return, auÅ¡eviÄ asked the importers to pay him 1,000 Bosnia-Herzegovina convertible marks ($ 623) per truck.
After years of investigating the case, law enforcement arrested 53 people, including auÅ¡eviÄ, in June 2014. The suspects included other ITA BiH and BiH customs employees.
More than 300 officers were involved in the operation called Pandora. AuÅ¡eviÄ’s successor, Miro DÅ¾akula, said at the time that the country “lost more than $ 1 billion from 2006 to 2011 due to illegal actions by ITA BiH employees”.
The owner of one of the companies involved in the scheme has been sentenced to two years in prison for paying bribes while another is being processed.