EU continues KFOR fuel smuggling probe
22. September 2010. | 09:38
Source: Kosovo Compromise
Police in Kosovo have said they are continuing their investigation into the sale of contraband fuel to petrol stations.Two wanted individuals, who are believed to be abroad, were still being sought on Monday after five people were arrested in connection with the major organised crime probe last week.
Police in Kosovo have said they are continuing their investigation into the sale of contraband fuel to petrol stations.
Two wanted individuals, who are believed to be abroad, were still being sought on Monday after five people were arrested in connection with the major organised crime probe last week.
All five were remanded in custody at Pristina Municipal Court on Thursday for 30 days.
Soldiers from the NATO mission in Kosovo, KFOR, are suspected of selling fuel intended for military purposes from one of their bases to petrol stations.
KFOR said in a statement last week that some soldiers were suspected of having "been involved in the case of fuel smuggling, tax evasion, and misuse of economic authorisation".
"KFOR condemns all criminal acts and the involved nation has initiated all appropriate measures, including disciplinary and criminal investigations."
But, despite the acknowledgement, no troops have been arrested to date.
During 2008 and 2009, three million litres of fuel of contraband fuel is suspected of being sold to three private petrol stations; AS Graniti in Stime owned by Agim and Sali Beqaj, Alb Petrol in Podujevo owned by Idriz Ejupi and Onazis in Pristina owned by brothers Nazmi and Nexhmi Kastrati.
A spokeswoman for EULEX told Balkan Insight that no KFOR soldiers were currently wanted in connection with the investigation, but added that enquiries were ongoing and did not rule out further action.
It has been reported that soldiers from the Ukrainian contingent, based in the southern Kosovo town of Strpce, are suspected of involvement in the alleged smuggling operation.
Kosovo Serb Dimitrije Davidovic, a suspect who EULEX had been searching for in north Mitrovica, was later discovered to be in Belgrade prison where he has been held since May on drug trafficking charges.
KFOR soldiers are protected by diplomatic immunity which would have to be lifted if any were to face trial in Kosovo.