Bosnian Muslim-Croat Leader Arrested in Corruption Investigation

Zivko Budimir, president of one of the two entities that make up Bosnia-Herzegovina, was arrested along with 18 other people in a probe of alleged corruption, a spokesman for the country’s Prosecutor’s Office said.

Petar Barisic, an adviser to Budimir, and Hidajet Halilovic, head of the committee for pardons in the Muslim-Croat Federation, based in Mostar, were among those arrested, the spokesman, Boris Grubesic, said by phone.

Bosnia’s state security agency today questioned top government officials and searched their offices in simultaneous probes. The Prosecutor’s Office said it authorized the State Investigation and Protection Agency, or SIPA, to search the offices of Bosnia’s Presidency in the capital, Sarajevo, and at the headquarters of the Muslim-Croat Federation. Bosnia-Herzegovina consists of the Federation and a Serb entity, known as Republika Srpska.

The investigation focused on Budimir and his alleged role in “cash-for-pardon” cases, state broadcaster BHRT1 reported. No one at Budimir’s office was immediately available to comment on his arrest.

SIPA said it was focusing on “tens of persons” involved in corruption, abuse of office, drug trafficking and organized crime and that “searches are ongoing at many locations.”

“The aim of these investigative activities is to discover corruption offenses whose perpetrators are the highest officials,” the prosecutor’s office said.

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