Kosovo police arrest 11 in privatisation investigation

by Reuters
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 15:32 GMT

PRISTINA, April 30 (Reuters) - Kosovo police have arrested 11 people, mostly officials of the state privatisation agency, on graft charges related to the sale of a metalwork company in the young Balkan country, police said on Wednesday.

Police said the alleged crimes, including abuse of office and fraud, were committed between 2006 and 2012 during the sale of metal processing company FAN, which was bought by a local businessman after a lengthy procedure.

"It is believed that the damage from this case to Kosovo's budget is several million euros," police said in statement.

Corruption, political interference and instability have stifled Kosovo's efforts to attract foreign investors to help boost its small economy since it gained independence from Serbia in 2008.

Local experts, diplomats and non-governmental organisations have for years accused privatisation agency AKP of selling state property on the cheap to buyers with political connections.

One of AKP's former managers is among those arrested.

Police have issued an arrest warrant for a parliament member from the biggest opposition party who had previously worked at AKP. Local media reported that he was out of country on a private business. ($1 = 0.7237 Euros) (Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Zoran Radosavljevic and David Goodman)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.