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Jerko Ivanković Lijanović Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison

Former FBiH minister of agriculture, water management and forestry was sentenced to 12 years in prison on charges of organized crime and money laundering.
Jerko Ivanković Lijanović said that the Court of BiH meted out a verdict under political pressure. (Photo: CIN)

The Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) sentenced, pending appeal, Jerko Ivanković Lijanović to 12 years in prison and fined him 50,000 KM on charges of organized crime and money laundering. The court ordered Jerko to forfeit 474,950 KM he had illegally acquired.

According to the verdict, his brother Slavo was convicted of the same crimes and will spend 10 years in prison and pay a 30,000 KM fine. Slavo was ordered to forfeit more than 409,000 KM in illegal gain.

The BiH Prosecutor’s Office accused the brothers Ivanković Lijanović that they had incorporated firms Farmer LLC, Farmko LLC, Optimum LLC and Mi-Mo LLC, after a tax administration froze the bank accounts of Lijanovići LLC. The new firms claimed ownership of Lijanovići LLC’s raw materials, equipment and products.

The Lijanovićs Accused of White Collar Crimes
The members of the Lijanović family and their associates are charged with tax evasion, forgery, money laundering and the destruction of books and records.

The Court of BiH ordered confiscation of more than 3 million KM from the first three firms on account of unpaid taxes and tax evasion. The charges against MI-MO LLC were thrown out.

Jerko’s other brother Jozo Ivanković Lijanović was acquitted. According to the verdict, his defense managed to show that Jozo legally made the money he had on his account.

“I’m very sorry that the Court of BiH’s panel gave way to political pressure and tried to issue a verdict for something that I have not done,” said Jerko Ivanković Lijanović, the president of the People’s Party Work for Betterment, after the verdict was meted out. “This is clearly (an example) of further political meddling to make me give up political career.”

Seven defendants including Milorad Bahilj, a former FBiH minister of trade, were sentenced to a total of 30 years and eight months. Bahilj was sentenced to five years and ten months in prison for organized crime, tax evasion and forging of accounting records.

In the beginning of 2018, the Cantonal Court in Tuzla meted out a sentence to Jerko of nine years in prison and ordered him to return around 650,000 KM he had illegally acquired. According to the verdict, at the time he was the FBiH Minister of Agriculture he masterminded a criminal group that demanded half of a grant it paid to a farmer.

Subsidies in Lijanović’s Pockets
Cantonal Court in Tuzla sentenced Jerko Ivanković Lijanović, the former FBiH Minister of Agriculture, for illegal distribution of grants to a prison sentence and ordered him to return some of the money. Judiciary has yet to investigate all reports about illegalities in the approval of subsidies and for buying votes with taxpayer money.

He was also paying subsidies to firms Z.D.I. Produkt and Alpen-mit which operated at the same facilities as Lijanovići LLC. They were registered at the address Visoka Glavica in Široki Brijeg. These two firms received from the budget over 1.5 million KM.

Subsidizing Minister Lijanović’s Business
During Jerko Ivanković Lijanović’ four-year term, the FBiH Ministry of Agriculture has allocated 2.8 million KM to persons and firms connected to the minister’s family. No agency has called it a conflict of interest or called for a sanction.

Reporters from the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo uncovered that Jerko also promised budget funds back in 2010 to a group of 56 persons he had organized to reward would-be voters. Every voter who cast a ballot for his party was promised a 100 KM.

Buying Votes to Lijanović’s Betterment
Jerko Ivanković Lijanović signed off on 3 million KM from the Federation budget for agricultural subsidies. Most of that went to voters who helped his party join the government in the 2010 elections.

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