Slew of Corruption Scandals Leave Balkan Politicians Unscathed

A series of similar scandals in the Balkans in recent weeks and months has had far less effect on governments and political careers.

Days after the Austrian scandal erupted, on May 23, media in Bosnia and Herzegovina published a video showing the head of the country's High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council, Milan Tegeltija, discussing a law case with an officer from the state intelligence and protection agency, SIPA, and a local businessman.

Part of the video showed the businessman offering the police officer money to speed up the case. The policeman has been suspended pending the end of an investigation, but Tegeltija remains untouched.

The Council's disciplinary commission rejected a request to suspend Tegeltija until the end of a disciplinary process, citing a legal loophole.

The international community's overseer in Bosnia, High Representative Valentin Inzko, has called this decision "unacceptable", urging the Council to reconsider taking disciplinary action against Tegeltija - so far in vain.

Austrian media have noted the difference in approaches. Der Standard on June 7 pointed to obvious similarities with the Strache affair.

"A video showing the President of the Bosnian Judicial Council in strange situations is causing a scandal. However, there are no consequences," it stated. "The Council is apparently controlled by political interests and cliques," it added.

A local NGO, ReStart, staged a public protest on June 8, at which they shoed a horse nicknamed Milan in front of the High Representative's headquarters - shoeing being a slang term for bribery.

But none of it has moved Tegeltija in the slightest. He went calmly on vacation - and sent an open letter to diplomats in Bosnia, accusing Inzko of...

Continue reading on: