Azem Syla in police custody, Prishtina. 29.04.2016. Photo: BIRN.

Kosovo crime group led by former former KLA commander & politician indicted

An international prosecutor submitted two indictments against a group of 39 people, allegedly led by former Kosovo MP Syla, accused of appropriating socially owned property and money laundering.

Kosovo’s Special Prosecution has notified that they raised two indictments against 39 people, including former Democratic Party, PDK, MP and former Kosovo Liberation Army, KLA, commander Azem Syla.

The first indictment, submitted by an international prosecutor of the Special Prosecution office, was raised against 22 defendants, and contains 46 charges. The defendants are accused of the following criminal offenses: organized crime, money laundering, accepting bribes, aggravated fraud, fraud on duty, issuing illegal court decisions, abuse of official duty, legalizing falsified content, and fiscal evasion.

The second indictment, submitted by the same prosecutor, accuses 17 people for money laundering.

Former KLA commander & Kosovo MP Syla surrenders to police

According to the Special Prosecution, the group was led by Syla, who surrendered to the police on April 29 after a major raid by EULEX and Kosovo police. During the raid, 53 people were arrested, and some of the wealth was also confiscated. Kosovo institutions cooperated with the High Prosecution for Organized Crime in Belgrade for the investigation.

Three of the indicted, including Syla, are currently in detention. Meanwhile, three other defendants are already serving time for other previous crimes.

Members of the organized criminal group are accused of cooperating and playing individual roles in depriving Kosovo of socially owned property through criminal activities, including falsifying decisions and other official documents, fraud, and other corruptive acts.

According to the Special Prosecution’s press release, the damaged parties are the Kosovo budget and Kosovo Serb families, whose rights over the land were abused by this organized criminal group.

A substantial amount of these land parcels were temporarily confiscated based on the judge’s order and are now managed by the Agency for Administration of Sequestrated or Confiscated Assets. This process aims to return the land to its legitimate public ownership.

After the group conducted the relevant criminal acts, members laundered money through transferring the ownership of the parcels of land in order to hide their criminal origins, informed the Prosecutor’s press release.

Tome Gashi, Syla’s attorney, said that he was notified that an indictment has been raised against his client, and now he is waiting for the Basic Court to decide if his client will be further detained.

25/10/2016 - 15:46

25 October 2016 - 15:46

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