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Agrokomerc was a food company headquartered in Velika Kladuša, Bosnia and Herzegovina with operations extending across the entire area of former Yugoslavia. The company became internationally known in the late 1980s due to a corruption scandal known as the Agrokomerc Affair. During the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Fikret Abdić, the chief executive officer of the company, used his wealth and political influence to create the state of Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia.
Agrokomerc is located in an area that was put in an economic blockade by the Yugoslav Communist party immediately after World War II. At the time the company was one farm located just over the border in Croatia.
In the 1970s, with its new president Fikret Abdić, Agrokomerc started to grow by making connections with farmers in surrounding areas, building chicken farms and providing jobs for thousands of unemployed people in the region that would have otherwise moved out.
Shortly after, Agrokomerc became the main subject in all aspects of local life. With positive influence on employees and the public, as well as with its own investments, Agrokomerc made this region in one of most advanced regions in Yugoslavia. With its own resources Agrokomerc built roads in the farthest parts of the region, provided water supplies to almost every house in the region, invested in the school system to get high educated employees.
By the 1980s the company had millions of chickens, thousands of turkeys, thousands of farmed rabbits, mayonnaise production, liquor production, chicken, turkey and rabbit meat, salami and luncheon production, chocolate production, mushrooms production, and owned cold and dry storage. With over 13,000 employees, its own trucks for distribution of products, a bus service for employees and the public, huge reputation for quality of products all over Europe and further, Agrokomerc was considered to be a successful company and a food manufacturing giant.
The Agrokomerc Affair of 1987 was a banking scandal centered around Agrokomerc that led to political destabilization of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In the 1980s Agrokomerc was engulfed in questionable banking deals where the corporation issued numerous high interest promissory notes without the proper financial equity. The director of the corporation Fikret Abdić lost the sense of scale as the corporation issued in excess of 1 billion[clarification needed] in fraudulent promissory notes. The problem became more acute as the press reported it as the biggest economic affair in former Yugoslavia triggering the 250% inflation rate in Yugoslavia. Abdić was sent to court and process with him was an important event in late 1980s.
The Yugoslav press compared it to the American Watergate scandal. The scandal affected reputation of politicians headed by Hamdija Pozderac, who was at the time the head of the Federal Constitutional Commission of Yugoslavia. The Affair resulted in the removal of Hamdija Pozderac from the political scene in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is considered as one of the most scandalous events in Bosnian-Herzegovinian politics that preceded the Bosnian War.
In the war
When the war broke out in the 1990s, Abdić created the Autonomous Province of Western Bosnia, a de facto independent entity that existed in the northwestern corner of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1993 and 1995. Agrokomerc was the cornerstone of its economy.
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- Reuters (6 May 1988). "25 Go on Trial in Yugoslavia Over Financial Scandal Roles". New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
- Stojić, Mile (2004). "Ally of Bosnia's unity". Bosnian Institute. Retrieved 11 May 2010.