WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on seven people in the Western Balkans it accused of being a “threat to regional stability,” including the last president of the short-lived state union of Serbia and Montenegro.
The U.S. Treasury Department targeted Svetozar Marovic, who also served as former deputy president of the Montenegro Democratic Party of Socialists until 2015, and was arrested in 2015 by Montenegro authorities over suspected involvement in corruption cases relating to construction projects.
He signed two plea deals in 2016 admitting to all corruption charges against him, the department said, but fled to Serbia before serving his sentence.
The Treasury also imposed sanctions on Aqif Rakipi, a former member of parliament from Albania, Asim Sarajlic, a member of the parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina and others in those countries as well as in North Macedonia.
“The people designated today constitute a serious threat to regional stability, institutional trust, and the aspirations of those seeking democratic and judicious governance in the Western Balkans,” Brian Nelson, the Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in the statement.
Monday’s move freezes any U.S. assets of those designated and generally bars Americans from dealing with them.
The U.S. State Department also issued visa bans against the former prime minister of North Macedonia as well as other political figures both in North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the department said, barring three from traveling to the United States.
(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Chris Gallagher; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Grant McCool)