Kosovo Ex-Minister Indicted for Corruption

EULEX prosecutor accuses Fatmir Limaj, his two brothers and four other suspects of depriving the Kosovo budget of 2 million euro and of laundering another million euro.Kosovo’s former Minister of Transport, Fatmir Limaj, and six other defendants have been accused of depriving the country’s budget of over 2 million euro and of laundering a million euro.

An EU rule of law, EULEX, prosecutor indicted Limaj and six other suspects on November 16 for organized crime and money laundering.

Johannes Picker, EULEX’s special prosecutor in the Ministry of Transport and Post-Telecommunication, MTPT, case, alleges that “the offences took place in various periods of time between 2008 and 2010; with regards to money laundering between 2009 to 2012.”

The prosecutor charges Limaj, his two brothers, Florim and Demir Limaj, his former cabinet chief, Endrit Shala, the procurement chief, Nexhat Krasniqi, Gani Zukaj, the IT administrator and Florim Zuka, owner of the “Tali” construction company, of manipulating tender procedures and giving and receiving bribes.

EULEX has been investigating Limaj since April 2010 when police raided the Transport Ministry and Limaj’s properties in Pristina as part of a corruption probe linked to road tenders issued between 2007 and 2009.

Limaj has denied any wrongdoing during his time as head of the ministry.

The defendants are also accused of obstructing evidence in relation to three tenders in the MTPT that were allegedly fixed for the Tali construction company from Gjilan.

Limaj is also charged with not declaring received campaign money when running for Pristina’s mayoral elections in 2007 as well as other criminal offences that he is alleged to have committed with his two brothers.

BIRN reported on September 7 that Limaj, who is currently a member of parliament for the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo, was about to be charged with corruption during his time as the Minister of Transport, Post and Telecommunications in 2009.

A Balkan Insight investigation revealed that a number of lucrative building contracts appeared to have gone to friends and relatives of Limaj.

Limaj was recently freed in another trial relating to war crimes during the 1999 conflict in Kosovo.

On May 2, a mixed panel of European and Kosovo Judges at Pristina’s District Court announced that they had found no evidence to justify continuing the trial against 10 former Kosovo Liberation Army fighters, including Limaj, who had been accused of war crimes.

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