Bureau Chief, Balkans
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Apr 19, 2011

In the wild west Balkans, a banker’s tale

PODGORICA (Reuters) – In the central bank governor’s wood-paneled office with its beige couch and chairs around a Queen Anne coffee table, the man reached into his briefcase and pulled out an envelope full of cash, offering it expectantly to then-governor Ljubisa Krgovic.

It was 2008, right at the height of Montenegro’s property mania, and the visitor, an emissary from a local company, evidently hoped to win special treatment. Such transactions are not unusual in Montenegro, which ranks 69th on lobby group Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index. Indeed, bribery has become so normal in Montenegro that it seemed almost impolite for Krgovic to decline the offer. The former bank boss remembers squirming as he refused the money.

Apr 19, 2011

Special Report: In the wild west Balkans, a banker’s tale

PODGORICA (Reuters) – In the central bank governor’s wood-paneled office with its beige couch and chairs around a Queen Anne coffee table, the man reached into his briefcase and pulled out an envelope full of cash, offering it expectantly to then-governor Ljubisa Krgovic.

It was 2008, right at the height of Montenegro’s property mania, and the visitor, an emissary from a local company, evidently hoped to win special treatment. Such transactions are not unusual in Montenegro, which ranks 69th on lobby group Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index. Indeed, bribery has become so normal in Montenegro that it seemed almost impolite for Krgovic to decline the offer. The former bank boss remembers squirming as he refused the money.

Apr 6, 2011

Bosnian Serb leader threat to stability: U.S. cables

BELGRADE (Reuters) – When the U.S. ambassador to Bosnia met the leader of the Serbian half of the country in 2009 to criticize his inflammatory rhetoric, Milorad Dodik was in no mood to listen.

As a less aggressive successor to the Bosnian Serb leaders who had fueled Europe’s deadliest war since World War Two, Bosnia’s Serb Republic President was initially a darling of Washington. But in recent years Dodik has angered the West by seeking ever greater autonomy for his part of the country.

Apr 5, 2011

AIG CEO says would consider staying on

DUBROVNIK, Croatia (Reuters) – Robert Benmosche, who has revived the fortunes of bailed-out insurer American International Group (AIG.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), said on Tuesday he might consider staying at the helm past 2012 if his health permitted.

“I will stay into 2012 and then the board and I will discuss how I am feeling, and then we will discuss what their needs are and what they feel they would like me to do,” Benmosche, who learned last year that he had cancer, said in an interview.

Apr 5, 2011

AIG CEO says would consider staying on after 2012

DUBROVNIK, Croatia (Reuters) – Robert Benmosche, who has revived the fortunes of bailed-out insurer American International Group (AIG.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), said on Tuesday he might consider staying at the helm past 2012 if his health permitted.

“I will stay into 2012 and then the board and I will discuss how I am feeling, and then we will discuss what their needs are and what they feel they would like me to do,” Benmosche, who learned last year that he had cancer, said in an interview.

Apr 5, 2011

AIG working on investing cash, may bid on bonds

DUBROVNIK, Croatia (Reuters) – Bailed-out insurer American International Group (AIG.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is working hard to invest cash it had set aside for a failed deal to buy assets from the Federal Reserve, Chief Executive Bob Benmosche said in an interview on Tuesday.

But AIG is still looking at taking part in the auction the Fed set up for the nearly $16 billion pool of mortgage-backed securities, Benmosche said. He was in Croatia to address a U.S.-organized conference on investing in the country.

Mar 31, 2011

Analysis: Defections tighten noose around Gaddafi

RABAT/PARIS (Reuters) – The noose is tightening around Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his family after his foreign minister and another top diplomat defected in the highest-level desertions since the start of a civil war.

But Gaddafi’s spokesman vowed on Thursday that the “brother leader” would fight on unbowed.

Mar 30, 2011

A Post-Gaddafi Libya would likely diversify: World Bank

RABAT (Reuters) – A post-Gaddafi Libya would likely seek to diversify its economy and encourage the private sector, the World Bank’s regional director said on Wednesday.

“I would have thought going forward, depending on what the authorities would be looking at, is to build up a modern, private-sector friendly environment that allows it to diversify from its petrol-rich dependency to something that’s more sustainable,” Simon Gray, who oversees the Maghreb region, told Reuters when asked how he thought Libya’s economy might change in the event Muammar Gaddafi left power.

Mar 25, 2011

Six killed in Libyan town shelling: rebel

RABAT (Reuters) – Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shelled an area on the outskirts of the city of Misrata on Friday, killing six people including three children, a rebel said.

The Libyan port, the North African country’s third biggest city, has experienced some of the heaviest fighting between rebels and forces loyal to Gaddafi since an uprising began on February 16.

Mar 25, 2011

Some aid reaches Libya’s Misrata despite snipers

RABAT (Reuters) – Aid organisations are able to deliver some supplies to the Libyan city of Misrata but are concerned because there are still government snipers in the city center, officials and rebels said on Friday.

“There is a fairly regular supply going into Misrata,” Simon Brooks, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross operations in eastern Libya, told Reuters by satellite phone. “But we are deeply concerned about the reports we are receiving about fighting in the city.”

    • About Adam

      "Adam Tanner is bureau chief for Reuters in the Balkans, overseeing coverage of Serbia, Bosnia, Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo. His past postings include Moscow, Berlin, Washington D.C. and San Francisco."
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