European Western Balkans

U. S. Department of Treasury sanctions Serbian chief of Security Intelligence Agency Vulin

Aleksandar Vulin; Photo: Ministry of Interior of Serbia

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has sanctioned Aleksandar Vulin, current director of the Serbian Security Intelligence Agency and former Minister of Interior and Defense. Vulin’s acts have advanced corruption within Serbia’s governing institutions and include involvement in a drug trafficking ring, the Department stated in today’s press release.

As a result of today’s action, all Vulin’s property and interests in property that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. All transactions by U.S. persons within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in his property are prohibited unless authorized.

In addition, financial institutions and other persons that engage in certain transactions or activities with the sanctioned individual may expose themselves to sanctions.

Until last year, Vulin led a small political party allied with the ruling Serbian Progressive Party. He has held several important posts in the government since 2012, which include his tenure as the Minister of Defense (2017-2020) and Minister of Interior (2020-2022).

According to OFAC, the designation of Aleksandar Vulin underscores the United States’ determination to hold accountable those engaged in corrupt dealings that further their own political agendas and personal interests at the expense of peace and stability in the Western Balkans. These corrupt dealings, the Office stated, facilitate Russian malign activities in Serbia and the region.

According to Office, Aleksandar Vulin has been implicated in transnational organized crime, illegal narcotics operations, and misuse of public office. Vulin has maintained a mutually beneficial relationship with U.S.-designated Serbian arms dealer Slobodan Tešić, helping ensure that Tešić’s illegal arms shipments can move freely across Serbia’s borders.

In the press release, it is stated that Vulin’s acts have advanced corruption within Serbia’s governing institutions. These acts include leveraging his authority for personal gain, including involvement in a drug trafficking ring. He has used his public positions to support Russia, facilitating Russia’s malign activities that degrade the security and stability of the Western Balkans and providing Russia a platform to further its influence in the region.

OFAC is designating Vulin pursuant to E.O. 14033 for being responsible for or complicit in, or having directly or indirectly engaged in, corruption related to the Western Balkans, including corruption by, on behalf of, or otherwise related to a government in the Western Balkans, or a current or former government official at any level of government in the Western Balkans, such as the misappropriation of public assets, expropriation of private assets for personal gain or political purposes, or bribery.

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