Kosovo MP Goes on Trial for Property Scams

Azem Syla, a prominent Kosovo politician from the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo, is accused of being the head of a crime syndicate involved in property scams and money laundering.


Azem Syla at the Palace of Justice in Pristina. Photo: BIRN.


Azem Syla, a prominent legislator from the governing Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, who has been accused of running a crime syndicate, appeared on Tuesday before a Pristina court. The first court session was conducted behind closed doors, as EU rule-of-law mission, EULEX prosecutor Danilo Cecarelli said the case was still under investigation.

Syla is accused of being the leader of a criminal group involved in land scams and money laundering, among other charges. He surrendered to the authorities and was placed in detention on April 29, two days after 300 Kosovo and EULEX police launched a large-scale operation to detain him and others.

Six suspects have been arrested so far – Azem Syla, Nuhi Uka, Sabedin Haxhiu, Avni Maxhuni, Hajrullah Berisha, Ilaz Syla and Lubisha Vujovic.

Uka, the former chairman of the Pristina Municipal Court, is being tried alongside Syla, and both have been remanded in detention for three months as investigations continue.

The Kosovo prosecution has said it is investigating 50 other suspects over the alleged scam, and claims the group had also ties with Serbian criminals.

According to the prosecution, members of the group “deprived Kosovo of public property worth around 30 million euros”.

Balkan Insight
1 June 2016