June 12, 2023

OFAC sanctions Serbian official for engaging in corruption

On July 11, 2023, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Aleksandar Vulin, currently the Director of Serbia’s Security Information Agency, and formerly both Minister of Defense and Minister of the Interior, for allegedly advancing corruption within Serbia’s governing institutions, and using his position of authority for personal gain.  Vulin was sanctioned pursuant to Executive Order 14033 for being responsible for, or complicit in, corruption related to a government in the Western Balkans or a current or former government official in the Western Balkans.  OFAC emphasized that the institutions in which Vulin has served are not the target of these sanctions.

According to OFAC, Vulin has had a mutually beneficial relationship with Slobodan Tesic, a Serbian arms dealer who was designated by the United States in 2017 for providing bribes and financial assistance to secure arms contracts with various countries.  OFAC reports that Vulin, who has been implicated in transnational organized crime and illegal narcotic operations, has misused his public office to help ensure that Tesic’s illegal arms shipments can move freely across Serbia’s borders.  Vulin has also reportedly used his public positions to support Russia and facilitate certain malign activities in the Western Balkans to further Russia’s influence in the region.

As a result of this designation, all property and interests in property of this designee within the United States or within the possession or control of a US person are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving a designated person.  In addition, entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.  US persons may also face civil or criminal penalties for violating EO 14033.

Department of the Treasury Press Release