Macedonia Police Probed for ‘Criminal Links’

Skopje – About 60 high- and low-ranking police officers from Macedonia’s northeast town of Kumanovo, have been relieved of their duties over suspected involvement in crime, reports say.

They have been redeployed to lower positions, the Interior Ministry spokesman Ivo Kotevski told media explaining that an entirely new set of people have been appointed to fill their posts.

Although the official explanation for the reshuffle is that they showed “inadequate results, lack of initiative and absence of loyalty in fulfilling duty” media linked this to the recent police arrest of Kumanovo resident Bajrush Sejdiu and his associates, who are suspected of producing counterfeit tobacco products among other crimes.

Local A1 TV reported that police allegedly found a list with the police officers’ names while searching for Sejdiu’s assets.

“In case of involvement of the police officers in criminal activities, they will face adequate criminal charges,” Kotevski said.

The Chief of the Police Internal Affairs sector, the heads of the criminal affairs, public order and peace and traffic safety in Kumanovo are some of the highest-ranking officers who were moved to other duties.

Sejdiu as well as over 30 people believed to be his close associates were arrested last week in a police operation called “ash”.

Police said they made the arrests after building and working on the case for six months. The court put Sejdiu and some of the arrested under detention after being questioned.

Sejdiu was known to the public as the owner of several assets near Kumanovo, including several motels and a soccer club called Milano. His wealth that he has accumulated has been estimated by the media to be over €30 million.

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