Kosovo: MP Facing Corruption Charges Surrenders to Kosovo Police

Azem Syla, an MP from the ruling party in Kosovo, handed himself into the police at the Vermice crossing border on Friday to face corruption charges.

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Syla while heading to Pristina police station | Photo: BIRN

Azem Syla, a prominent legislator of the governing Democratic Party of Kosovo, charged on Wednesday in an investigation into an alleged land scam, surrendered to the EU law mission, EULEX, and to Kosovo police on Friday morning.

Syla’s defence lawyer Tome Gashi confirmed on Friday that his client had handed himself in to the police.

Kosovo Prosecution Spokesperson Ekrem Lutfiu told BIRN that Syla surrendered on Friday morning at the Vermice border crossing point between Kosovo and Albania. Earlier, when police raid Syla’s home, he was not there and he later told the police by phone that he was in Durres, a city on the Albanian seaside.

“I did not receive any invitation [to surrender] from the authorities… and travelled abroad on a personal agenda,” Syla told police.

He is expected to appear at the Palace of Justice in Pristina on Friday afternoon, where he will be formally charged.

Police in Kosovo arrested six people on Wednesday in an investigation into an alleged land scam that cost the state 30 million euros, depriving several families of their property as well.

Syla, a former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army, the KLA, assured police that he would cooperate with the authorities and face his “unfounded” charges. These centre on the alleged misuse of public property, organised crime, money laundering, forging of official documents, corruption and fraud. The group reportedly had ties with Serbian criminals as well.

The newly elected President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, the former head of the PDK and also a former KLA chief, said he strongly supported the actions of national and international institutions of law and order.

Balkan Insight

29 April 2016