Real estate in Bosnia-Herzegovina formerly held by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) is being sold off, local media in the country reported yesterday.
With a debt of more than 2.5 million euros ($2.88 million), property owned by Richmond Park Schools, which are reportedly linked to FETÖ, is being sold off by the bank after the loan agreement was violated, said the weekly Bosnian magazine Stav. The educational institution, originally known as Bosna Sema schools, has reportedly twice changed ownership since the 2016 defeated coup attempt but failed to inform the bank, violating the loan agreement.
FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which killed 251 people and injured nearly 2,200 others. FETÖ also has a considerable presence outside of Turkey, including private educational institutions that serve as revenue streams for the terrorist group.
The magazine said fighting such FETÖ-linked institutions is not just a Turkish effort against the terror group but a domestic problem as long as the same structures operate in Bosnia-Herzegovina and try to indoctrinate children with a "sick" ideology.
After the bank took security measures to collect the debt, the legal process for the sale of the school's real estate was initiated, according to the magazine. As of April 2017, Richmond Park Schools also had a tax debt of 23,000 euros to the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. This also played a major role in the bank terminating the loan agreement. The bank also froze accounts linked to the loans.
When Richmond Park Schools objected to this, a municipal court in Sarajevo ordered the accounts reopened, but a higher court overruled the decision, freezing the accounts once again.
Anel Kurtovic, a lawyer for the bank, said Richmond Park Schools had violated many laws, including ones against money laundering and preventing terrorism.
Kurtovic also said Richmond Park Schools was a very low-capital, offshore company – a shell company – established to hide the identity of its founders, and as a result, the schools' true owners are not clear. He stressed the importance of how and by whom this institution is financed.
According to the magazine, the institution's real estate had also been mortgaged for a loan to a company called Fidan, a FETÖ-linked tourism company. The loan totaled some 750,000 euros.
This sort of alleged shell game resembles other asset-shifting schemes the terror group has been accused of, including a 2016 case in the U.S. state of New Jersey, which also involved schools.