By Talha Ozturk and Lejla Biogradlija
BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – Real estate in Bosnia formerly held by the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey is being sold off, reported local media in the country on Thursday.
With a debt of more than €2.5 million ($2.88 million), property owned by Richmond Park Schools — linked to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) — is being sold off by the bank after the loan agreement was violated, said weekly Bosnian magazine Stav.
The educational institution, originally known as Bosna Sema schools, has reportedly twice changed ownership since the 2016 defeated coup, but failed to inform the bank, violating the loan agreement.
The magazine said fighting such FETO-linked institutions is not just a Turkish effort against the terror group, but is a domestic problem as long as the same structures operate in Bosnia and try to indoctrinate children into a “sick” ideology.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, including the military, police, and education.
FETO also has a considerable presence outside Turkey, including private educational institutions that serve as a revenue stream for the terrorist group.
– Bank accounts frozen
After the bank took security measures to collect the debt, the legal process for the sale of the school’s real estate was initiated, reported the magazine.
As of April 2017, Richmond Park Schools also had a tax debt of €23,000 (approx. $26,500) to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This also paid a major role in the bank terminating the loan agreement.
The bank also froze accounts linked to the loans.
When the Richmond Park Schools objected to this, a municipal court in Sarajevo ordered the accounts re-opened, but a higher court overruled the decision, freezing the accounts once again.
– ‘They've broken a lot of laws’
Anel Kurtovic, a lawyer for the bank, said that Richmond Park Schools had violated many laws, including ones against money laundering and preventing terrorism.
Kurtovic also said that Richmond Park Schools was a very low-capital offshore company — a shell company — founded 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.
– Mortgage to fund another FETO firm
According to the magazine, the institution's real estate had also been mortgaged for a loan to a company called Fidan, a FETO-linked tourism company.
The loan totaled some €750,000 (approx. 864,000).
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 also involving schools.