Bosnia police raid top regional officials in graft probe

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 26, 2013 9:07 AM

By Daria Sito-Sucic

SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Police in Bosnia raided the offices of the president and government in one of the country's two autonomous regions on Friday as part of an anti-corruption probe, the state prosecutor's office said.

It appeared to be the most high profile raid of its kind since Bosnia seceded from federal Yugoslavia and descended into war in the early 1990s.

Bosnia's state-run Federation TV reported that Zivko Budimir, president of the autonomous Muslim-Croat Federation, had been arrested.

Reuters could not independently confirm the arrest and Laura Bosnjak, an adviser to Budimir talking on Federation TV, dismissed the reports. She said Budimir was still in his Sarajevo office as police searched the premises.

Budimir is at the center of a political crisis in the Muslim-Croat Federation that blew open last year. He is refusing to approve a reshuffle of the regional government and delaying the appointment of judges to the constitutional court.

Bosnian radio reported that a strong police presence had cordoned off the Federation government building in the southern town of Mostar.

"The goal of these investigative activities is to uncover criminal acts of corruption committed by top officials in the Federation," said Boris Grubesic, spokesman for the prosecutor's office.

Under a U.S.-brokered peace deal to end the war, Bosnia was split into two autonomous regions joined by a weak central government. The Federation is dominated by Bosnian Muslims, known as Bosniaks, and Croats. The other region is the Serb Republic. Both have a high degree of autonomy.

(Editing by Matt Robinson)