SARAJEVO, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Bosnian police on Tuesday raided a bank at the centre of a controversy over a villa in Belgrade bought by Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik.
Bosnia’s state prosecutor’s office said a search for documentation had been carried out “related to criminal acts of financial crime”, without providing further details.
The Srna news agency cited a director of the Pavlovic International Bank in the northeast Bosnian town of Bijeljina, Ruzica Jankovic, as saying investigators were looking for evidence related to a loan given by the bank to Dodik for the purchase of the villa in the Serbian capital in 2007.
“They were handed the documentation they were looking for,” Jankovic was quoted as saying. “They did their job in a fair and professional manner, as did we.”
Local media reported that the raids - on five premises in the towns of Bijeljina, Banja Luka and Doboj - followed charges filed in November by an opposition party in the autonomous Serb Republic over the loan.
Dodik is president of Bosnia’s Serb Republic and is involved in an increasingly acrimonious row over the authority of Bosnian state institutions over Serb areas of the country, raising concern in the West at the possibility of Bosnia unravelling 20 years after it emerged from war.
In November, SIPA, the state policy agency, raided the Pavlovic bank and seized documentation but gave no details. The next month, the Serb Republic halted all cooperation with SIPA and the state judiciary over a war crimes raid on the local police station and municipal buildings in the Serb Republic.
Relations were later restored, but Dodik is still threatening to hold a referendum on the authority of the national court over the Serb Republic. (Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Matt Robinson)