An investigation by the BBC and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has uncovered documents which cast serious doubt on plans for the tiny Balkan nation of Montenegro to join the European Union.
Montenegro is an official candidate to join the EU and accession talks begin next month. This is despite concerns about allegations of political and financial corruption, which have led to the country being described as a „mafia state“ – a claim which is forcibly rejected by the Montenegrin government.
The country has no currency of its own and has already unilaterally adopted the euro, despite concerns from Brussels. It is expected to be in the next batch of nations to join the EU after neighbouring Croatia becomes a member next year.
Montenegro’s former Prime Minister, Milo Djukanovic, who is still president of the country’s ruling party, was investigated by the Italian anti-mafia unit and faced charges over a billion-dollar cigarette smuggling operation based in Montenegro. Those charges were eventually dropped in 2009. As head of state, Mr Djukanovic had diplomatic immunity.
Now documents seen by the BBC raise further concerns about the man described as the „father of the Montenegrin nation“.
An audit by accountants Price Waterhouse, carried out in 2010, raised questions about the running of the country’s Prva Banka, or „First Bank“, which is controlled by the Djukanovic family. The audit suggests that most of the money deposited at the bank came from public funds, while two thirds of the loans it made went to the Djukanovics and their close associates.
Miranda Patrucic, a Sarajevo-based investigator for the OCCRP, told the BBC that the Djukanovics and their associates „treated the bank like an ATM machine. A wonderful source of cash.“
The handling of key privatisations, as the former Yugoslav country emerged from decades of communism, has caused widespread anger as Montenegrins have seen bills for services like electricity soar.
Thousands have taken to the streets, marching under yellow banners, accusing their political leaders of looting the country. They are demanding that Mr Djukanovic is put on trial.
Vanya Calovic, leader of an anti-corruption opposition movement, told the BBC: „Everyone is closing their eyes on the fact the country, government, executive, all parts of the power are linked to organised crime.“
Protesters are demanding that Montenegro’s former Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic be put on trial
Milo Djukanovic, as Montenegrin prime minister during the Balkan wars, ordered the shelling of the ancient city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. Montenegro, which has a population of just 670,000, was an ally of the Serbs under Slobodan Milosovic.
It faced UN sanctions and turned to large scale smuggling of American cigarettes into Europe. They were distributed by Italian mafia, which is why the Italians launched their investigation. It found that Montenegro earned hundreds of millions of dollars a year from the trade.
After the break-up of Yugoslavia, Prime Minister Djukanovic became an ally of the West. In 2006, the United Nations recognised Montenegro as an independent state and the prime minister embarked on a series of privatisations. One of these was the sale of a small state-owned bank in which the Djukanovic family bought a controlling stake.
‚Serious concern‘In 2009, Price Waterhouse Coopers were contracted to audit Prva Bank. The draft report was never published but the BBC has seen the document. It looked at the biggest loans and found that most were made to groups linked to the Djukanovics, and people linked to them.
Research by OCCRP has shown that they included companies connected with Stanko Subotic, who was also indicted by the Italian anti-mafia unit, and Darko Saric, who is a convicted drug smuggler, now on the run.
Montenegro’s dramatic coastline and walled cities have made it a magnet for foreign visitors. In 2008, the tourist board was involved in an invitation to Madonna to stage a concert in the coastal resort of Budva. The BBC has seen paperwork which shows that the Djukanovic-controlled bank paid the fee, $7.5m (£5m), even though it was unable to pay its own depositors on time because of a shortage of funds.
Montenegro’s current Prime Minister Igor Luksic (left) has been accused of failing to tackle corruption
The BBC approached Mr Djukanovic and Prva Bank to respond to the allegations against them, but neither has replied.
After the crisis in Greece there will be concerns about any lack of transparency in Montenegrin finances. The influential American publication, Foreign Affairs, described Montenegro as a „mafia state“ earlier this year.
It is a charge echoed by Milka Tadic, the publisher of the independent local magazine, Monitor.
„If you have a former prime minister accused of smuggling, best friends with the mafia, how can you say we are not a mafia state?“ she said.
In 2010, Mr Djukanovic stood down and was replaced by Igor Luksic, a 35-year-old English-speaking economist with an honest reputation. His appointment was initially welcomed by the opposition, but now they accuse him of failing to tackle the corruption of the Djukanovic era.
Mr Luksic told the BBC that claims his country is a mafia state are „ungrounded“.
He said: „Montenegro belongs to a rare number of countries that have managed to make progress on every internationally recognisable indicator.“
He accepts that his predecessor, Milo Djukanovic, is controversial.
„How could you not be after 20 years in Balkan politics?“ he asks.
He argues that Mr Djukanovic is a friend to the West, and has steered Montenegro towards EU and Nato membership.
Last week the European Commission gave the go-ahead for accession talks to proceed next month. But it warned: „Corruption is still an issue of serious concern.“
It said it would continue to monitor the country’s progress as it approached accession.
The accession of the Balkan countries remains a key priority for those in charge of European expansion, and Prime Minister Luksic is hoping the talks will allow him to show the country is changing for the better. But for the government’s critics, there first needs to be accountability for the alleged crimes and misdemeanours of Mr Djukanovic’s two decades in power.
Watch Meirion Jones and Liz MacKean’s full report on Tuesday 29 May at 22:30 BST on BBC Two, then afterwards on the BBC iPlayer and Newsnight website.
First Bank had all the advantages. It was controlled by the Prime Ministers family. It got huge deposits including government money. That money was then loaned out to friends and business partners of the First Family. But it was poorly managed and when it wouldn’t listen to regulators, it only made the situation worse. But in the end, it wasn’t the First Family who paid. It was the people of Montenegro.
First Bank financed a huge 4.6 million line of credit in 2008 for Svetlana Micunovic, wife of controversial casino owner Branislav Micunovic, without checking her finances, without collateral and without paperwork. They also gave Micunovics company Dzek Pot, which had posted significant losses for two years, a 200,000 loan guarantee without conducting any financial analysis or guaranteeing the credit.
Montenegrin taxpayers wound up footing the 4.3 million bill for Madonnas Balkan debut in 2008. And the real company behind the event was First Bank, according to documents obtained by OCCRP. The concert not only broke promises that no public money would be used, it also depleted First Banks resources at a time it was already unable to honor requests for money from its own depositors.
TORONTO A man wanted by the FBI and featured on the TV show Americas Most Wanted has been caught in Toronto.
Toronto police say the fugitive squad arrested Kujtim Timmy Lika on Thursday morning through a joint investigation between city police and the Canada Border Services Agency.
Police say the 47-year-old Lika is wanted for alleged offences related to organized crime and conspiracy to distribute narcotics.
Lika is being held in Toronto where he will begin his extradition proceedings.
Kujtim Lika is wanted for his participation in an international drug smuggling ring and criminal enterprise organization, the FBI said in its description of the fugitive. The investigation into Lika began in late 2003 and culminated with his indictment on March 12, 2009, in the District of New Jersey.
The Americas Most Wanted website says the FBI identified Lika as an Albanian illegal immigrant from the former Yugoslavian republic of Macedonia.
Toronto police helped the FBI nab Likas accomplice Myfit (Mike) Dika in 2010 and have been looking for Lika ever since.
Albanian Muslim Mafia Crew of Myfit Dika, Gazmir Gjoka, and Kujtim Lika are all wanted by the FBI in the USA and Dutch and Albanian Law Enforcement authorities for their participation in an international Afghan Heroin drug smuggling ring (support of terrorism) and criminal enterprise organizatio (RICO charges). The investigation into these individuals began in late 2003 and culminated with their indictments on March 12, 2009, in the District of New Jersey. Dika was living in Wycoff, New Jersey, but has ties to numerous countries outside of the United States to include Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Canada, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Gjoka was living in Hamilton Township, New Jersey and Lika was living in Caldwell, New Jersey, but both have ties to numerous countries outside of the United States to include Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Canada, and the Netherlands….http://pibillwarner.wordpress.com/2009/09/02
Lika was living in Caldwell, New Jersey, but has ties to numerous countries outside of the United States to include Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Canada, and the Netherlands.
Kujtim Lika is wanted for his participation in an international drug smuggling ring and criminal enterprise organization. The investigation into Lika began in late 2003 and culminated with his indictment on March 12, 2009, in the District of New Jersey.
ALBANIAN MAFIA KRASNIQI CREW RUN BY BRUNO AND SAMIR KRASNIQI BUSTED IN QUEENS AND STATEN ISLAND BY JOINT FBI-NYPD 3 CREW MEMBERS ON THE RUN UPDATE DUKAGIN NIKOLLAJ ADDED TO BOLO. 2 Albanians arrested after allegedly crossing U.S.-Canadian border illegally by boat U.S. Border Patrol agents spotted boat in Algonac canal
ALGONAC, Mich. –
Agents from the U.S. Border Patrol have arrested two Albanians after they allegedly crossed the U.S.-Canadian border illegally by boat.
U.S. Border Patrol says camera operators observed a boat crossing the St. Clair River from Canada and entering U.S. waters at approximately 11 p.m. on Tuesday.
As agents from the Marysville Station responded to the area and spotted the boat in a canal in Algonac, Border Patrol says the boat eventually pulled behind a local bar. The two individuals got out of the boat and made a cell phone call. The boat quickly returned back to Canada.
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After the two individuals made a cell phone call, authorities say the individuals got into a vehicle and drove south on M-29 through Algonac. Border Patrol agents stopped the vehicle where the two individuals admitted to being citizens of Albania illegally present in the United States.
„This is a great example of how we are using both ground agents and technology to prevent illegal crossings of our northern border,“ said James Crawford, a patrol agent in charge of the Marysville Border Patrol Station.
The two individuals were arrested and are currently being detained pending a removal hearing.
Ive worked on stories under contract and/or as a staff writer and/or had pieces killed (or have had to abandon them) for Harpers, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Spin, The Village Voice, Esquire, APBNews.com, Vibe, Sports Illustrated, US Magazine, Texas Monthly, Z Magazine, City Limits, NY Press, The Dallas Observer, The Fader, and KoreaWebWeekly (Kimsoft.com).
These stories are about Albanian organized crime, but they are really a more human, social, psychological story of a people; of the defendants and victims and communities involved. This is about corrupt and murdered politicians (Albanian but with US connections), corrupt government and/or law enforcement in Albania and the Balkans, murdered Albanian police, US stock fraud, massive amounts of transnational illicit drug trafficking, violence, kidnappings, much interstate US crime, and many crimes in Canada.
Remembering Albania in 1997; interviews in the penitentiary in Michigan (the Albanian inmate with 10 sentences, six for life); with the FBI’s Balkan Task Force; riding down the highway with the government’s confidential informant; in the Albanian coffee shops and community off 15 Mile Road Detroit; wandering late night on the streets and in the cafes, bars, pizzerias, strip clubs, and social clubs in the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island – – where rap groups The Bloody Alboz (TBA), Rebel, Uptown Affiliates, Unikkatil, and singers Aurela Gace and Anita Bitri ring bells.
The Albanian civil servant with the silencer, the Uzi, the shotgun from Fat Tony, the kilos, the betrayals, snitches, cooperating witnesses looking for their 5K letter, wiretaps and body wires, pen registers and trace and traps, border crossings, bodies dumped on the BQE highway, the reporter getting anonymous tips (credible) on fugitives and traffickers, the dead pop singer – – inside and outside of the on-going Federal RICO death penalty-connected trial in Manhattan. Shqiptar.
The US State Department published the report for the human rights through the world.
The US State Department, Hillary Clinton, together with the Secretary Assistant for Democracy and Human Rights, Michael Posner, referred to a detailed analysis of the 2011 developments.
Clinton spoke about the endless changes that took place in 2011.
Our report is based on the only truth that is found in the heart of the Universal Human Rights Declaration, which states that sll human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
In the chapter for Albania, the report refers to the most important events. Based on january 21st, in the part called Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life, it says:
On January 21, Republican Guards shot at protestors during a violent opposition demonstration at the Prime Ministry. Four protestors were killed during the demonstration. The prosecutor general opened an investigation into the killings. The investigation proceeded slowly. As of years end, no Republican Guards or government officials had been indicted for their roles in the shooting deaths.
At the part that refers to the Status of Freedom of Speech and Press, the report mentions January 21st again, when police personnel beat journalist Ened Janina, political editor of the daily newspaper Shekulli, while he was covering a political demonstration in Tirana. According to Janina, a prosecutor initiated an investigation and received Janinas testimony shortly after the protest, but he was never summoned again to testify.
The same day, reporter Fatos Mahmutaj was grazed by a bullet that killed a man standing on the media riser. Mahmutaj claimed on several television shows that the bullet wounding him and killing another man came from Republican Guard soldiers.
Mahmutaj reportedly received several death threats after his public statements and left the country days after the protest. In the spring, Mahmutaj was granted political asylum in Belgium.
Reporter Artan Hoxha aired footage of the January 21 protest that allegedly showed how one of the protestors died. Hoxha stated that four days after the broadcast, unknown men handed his 10-year-old son at home an envelope that contained three bullets.
As regards the May 8th local elections, the report is based on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which characterized the elections as competitive and transparent, but nevertheless highly polarized, due to mistrust between political parties in government and in the opposition.
According to the report, the Central Election Commissions (CEC) decision to overturn initial results in the mayoral contest in Tirana was widely perceived to be partisan and undermined confidence in its independence and impartiality.
At section 4, for Official Corruption and Government Transparency, the report underlines that the law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; however, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity.
The report notes that corruption in the executive branch was widespread and pervasive. The education system remained corrupt, and officials sometimes required bribes from students for them to matriculate or pass examinations. Doctors and other medical personnel frequently demanded payment to provide what should have been free government services.
As in other sectors, high-profile defendants usually were found not guilty, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. While numerous low and mid-level officials were prosecuted and often convicted for corruption, prosecuting higher level officials remained problematic.
The report says that broad immunity provisions for judges, members of parliament, and other high-level officials prohibit not only prosecution but any use of investigative measures, hindering the governments ability to prosecute high-level corruption.
Police beating and other mistreatment of suspects during detention and interrogation, sometimes to elicit confessions, were also significant problems. The report also refers to other human rights problems included some cases of physical mistreatment in police detention centers, domestic violence and discrimination against women, child abuse, and discrimination on the basis of ethnic minority status and sexual orientation and gender identity
2011 Human Rights Report Albania (May 24, 2012)
Freedom of Press: The independent media were active and largely unrestrained, although there were cases of direct and indirect political pressure on the media, including threats against journalists. At times political pressure and lack of funding constrained the independent print media, and journalists reported that they practiced self-censorship. Political parties, trade unions, and other groups published newspapers or magazines independent of government influence.
The government controlled the editorial line of the public Albanian Radio and Television, which operated a national television channel and a national radio station and, by law, received 50 percent of its budget from the government. While private stations generally operated free of direct government influence, most owners believed that the content of their broadcasts could influence government action toward their other businesses. Business owners also freely used media outlets to gain favor and promote their interests with both major parties.
Violence and Harassment: There were incidents of violence against members of the broadcast media during the year, and journalists were subject to pressure from political and business actors.
On January 21, police personnel beat journalist Ened Janina, political editor of the daily newspaper Shekulli, while he was covering a political demonstration in Tirana. According to Janina, a prosecutor initiated an investigation and received Janinas testimony shortly after the protest, but he was never summoned again to testify. The same day, reporter Fatos Mahmutaj was grazed by a bullet that killed a man standing on the media riser. Mahmutaj claimed on several television shows that the bullet wounding him and killing another man came from Republican Guard soldiers. Mahmutaj reportedly received several death threats after his public statements and left the country days after the protest. In the spring, Mahmutaj was granted political asylum in Belgium.
Reporter Artan Hoxha aired footage of the January 21 protest that allegedly showed how one of the protestors died. Hoxha stated that four days after the broadcast, unknown men handed his 10-year-old son at home an envelope that contained three bullets.
Police officers did not enforce the law equally, and an individuals political or criminal connections often influenced enforcement of laws. Low salaries contributed to continued corruption and unprofessional behavior, which remained impediments to the development of an effective police force.
During the year the Ombudsmans Office processed complaints against police officers mainly on arrest and detention problems. The Ombudsmans Office received and made inquiries into 2,029 complaints during the year.
Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention
The constitution requires that a judge or prosecutor issue a warrant for a suspects arrest based on sufficient evidence. There were no reports of secret arrests. The prosecutor may release the suspect or petition the court within 48 hours to hold the individual further. A court must decide within 48 hours whether to place a suspect in detention, require bail, prohibit travel, or require the defendant to report regularly to the police. In practice prosecutors requested and courts routinely ordered detention in many criminal cases. However, courts routinely denied prosecutors requests for detention of well-connected, high-profile defendants. The constitution requires that authorities inform detained persons immediately of the charges against them and of their rights. Police sometimes failed to do so. Under the law, police must immediately inform the prosecutor of an arrest. There is not an effective system for handling the monetary aspect of bail. Instead, courts often order suspects to report to police or prosecutors on a weekly basis. Courts must provide indigent defendants with free legal counsel. This right was respected in practice and defendants were generally informed of this right.
Many suspects are ordered to remain under house arrest, often at their own request, because they receive credit for serving this time if they are convicted. House arrest is not effectively monitored, and suspects can freely move outside without being detected by authorities.
Arbitrary Arrest: Arbitrary detentions or false arrests occurred infrequently.
Pretrial Detention: At the end of November, there were 1,901 persons in pretrial detention centers and 2, 878 convicted persons in prisons. Thus, pretrial detainees constituted 39.7 percent of the total prisoner population. The law requires completion of most pretrial investigations within three months; however, a prosecutor may extend this period to two years or longer. The law provides that the maximum pretrial detention should not exceed three years; there were no reports that authorities violated this limit during the year. However, lengthy pretrial detentions often occurred due to delayed investigations, defense mistakes, or the intentional failure of defense counsel to appear. Under the law, a judge cannot hold an attorney in contempt of court to prevent such delaying actions by attorneys.
Limited material resources, lack of space, poor court calendar management, insufficient staff, and failure of attorneys and witnesses to appear prevented the court system from adjudicating cases in a timely fashion.
e. Denial of Fair Public Trial
The constitution provides for an independent judiciary; however, political pressure, intimidation, widespread corruption, and limited resources sometimes prevented the judiciary from functioning independently and efficiently. In addition, court hearings are often closed to the public. Court security officers routinely refuse entry to hearings and routinely call the presiding judge in each case to ask if the person seeking admission may attend the hearing. Some agencies routinely disregard court orders. The politicization of appointments to the High and Constitutional Courts threatened to undermine the independence and integrity of these courts.
On September 9, a remotely detonated bomb killed district court Judge Skerdilajd Konomi in Vlore. The investigation into his death was ongoing at years end.
Civil Judicial Procedures and Remedies
Individuals and organizations may seek civil remedies for human rights violations; however, courts were susceptible to corruption, inefficiency, intimidation, and political tampering. Many court hearings were held in judges offices, which contributed to a lack of professionalism and opportunities for corruption. These factors undermined the judiciarys authority, contributed to controversial court decisions, and led to an inconsistent application of civil law.
A large number of conflicting claims for private and religious property confiscated during the communist era remained unresolved. A 2010 European Parliament study found a lack of human resources, constant turnover within the Office for the Restitution of Property (ORP), failure to implement existing legislation, and allegations of corruption hampered efforts to restore property to rightful owners.
f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or Correspondence
Section 4. Official Corruption and Government TransparencyShare <
The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; however, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity.
Corruption in the executive branch was widespread and pervasive. The education system remained corrupt, and officials sometimes required bribes from students for them to matriculate or pass examinations. Doctors and other medical personnel frequently demanded payment to provide what should have been free government services. As in other sectors, high-profile defendants usually were found not guilty, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. While numerous low and mid-level officials were prosecuted and often convicted for corruption, prosecuting higher level officials remained problematic.
The government prosecuted corrupt officials and managed complaints regarding corrupt police through the ombudsman and the Internal Control Service of the Albanian State Police. However, broad immunity provisions for judges, members of parliament, and other high-level officials prohibit not only prosecution but any use of investigative measures, hindering the governments ability to prosecute high-level corruption.
The governments task force against organized crime coordinated anticorruption activities. The prime minister headed the task force, which included several ministers and heads of independent state-owned agencies, such as the public electricity company, and representatives of the police and intelligence organizations.
Corruption in the judiciary is pervasive. Many judges issue rulings that do not appearto have any basis in law or fact, leading some to believe that the only plausible explanation is corruption or political pressure. Broad immunity enjoyed by judges prohibits prosecutors from investigating corruption allegations until they make a public request to the High Council of Justice to lift the accused judges immunity, and receive its approval. Few judges have been prosecuted for corruption because most criminal investigations must remain secret, at least initially, in order to be successful.
Rückblick 1995 und 1996, über das Verbrecher Kartell des Salih Berisha
Komplette Idioten, werden als Richter, Staatsanwälte, Minister, Polizei Chefs, Direktoren, oder gar als Admiral eingesetzt in 1996: Rear Admiral Edmond Zhupani, ohne jede Militär und Marine Ausbildung
Fun Facts About Our New Allies
The Progressive Review (Washington), 22 June 1999
Albania offered NATO and the U.S. an important military outpost in the turbulent southern Balkans (in the 1990-96 period Albania opened its ports and airstrips for U.S. military use and housed CIA spy planes for flights over Bosnia) . The U.S. played a major role in the DPs 1992 electoral victory, and it then provided the new government with military, economic, and political support. In the 1991-96 period Washington directly provided Albania $236 million in economic aid, making the U.S. the second largest bilateral economic donor (following Italy) ..Following Berishas visit to the U.S. in March 1991, Washington began supplying direct assistance to the DP, including donations of computers and cars for the 1992 electoral campaign. William Ryerson, the first U.S. ambassador, stood next to Berisha on the podium at election rallies. The U.S. failed to criticize, and at times encouraged, the new president as he purged critics of his policies within the judicial system, police, and the DPoften through illegal means. By 1993 DP loyalists and family members held most of the prominent positions in Albanias ministries, institutes, universities, and state media. Citing the threat of communisms return, Berisha successfully instilled fear in the population and discredited his rivals. The U.S. embassy in Albania contributed to the polarization of Albanian politics by refusing to meet most of the opposition parties (former communists as well as others) for the first two years of DP rule. This one-sided view of democratization helped Berisha dismantle most political alternatives, some of which were moderate and truly democratic.
The political climate in Albania has become heated over the last few months
When five PD deputies demanded in January that the chief justice’s immunity be lifted so he could be arrested for abusing his power, the news hit the country like a bolt of lightning. Brozi, a PD member, had been nominated by Berisha as chief justice in an effort to stamp out corruption in the judiciary. Rumor had it that Brozi felt betrayed and abandoned by the president. Some PD deputies reportedly wanted him out because he insisted on prosecuting those guilty of corruption, regardless of party affiliation. The five deputies accused Brozi of illegally approving an early release from
jail of a Greek citizen convicted on drug charges. The accusation, however, was clearly politically motivated. Brozi publicly denied any wrongdoing, saying, ‚The record of my struggle against corruption in Albania precludes the possibility of me being corrupt.“10
In fact, Brozi has won high praise for his fight to keep Albania’s courts independent and free from the dictates of politics. He claims – and many believe him – that some corrupt, high-ranking Democrats who fear judicial independence are bent on destroying him. The clash between Brozi and Minister of Internal Affairs Agron Musaraj – whom Brozi has accused of “directing a mafia network and employing despotic methods against arrested people“ – is also interesting in this context.11
On 1 February, the Albanian parliament voted 53 to 49 not to lift Brozi’s immunity. The decision was seen as a smashing victory for the chief justice and another political setback for the PD.12 Brozi said after the vote, „The era when votes were dictated has been replaced by an era when everyone can vote according to his own conviction and conscience.“ Brozi also thanked journalists for their support.13
The Brozi case clearly displays the internal battles and divisions within the PD, likely caused by widespread corruption at the highest seats of power, that sooner or later arc bound to wreak political havoc. The incident, however, could positively affect President Berisha’s political fortunes if he can muster enough strength and support from the party to disable the politically and economically corrupt, as he did with the cabinet reshuffle in December. http://www.tol.org/client/article/3069-albania-corruption-takes-its-toll-on-the-berisha-government.html?print
Survey data on countries in the region reveal attitudes towards the harmful consequences of corruption.
By Linda Karadaku for Southeast European Times in Pristina — 23/05/12
Transparency International officials said strong, independent and well-resourced institutions are needed to fight corruption effectively. [Reuters]
On average, two in three adults worldwide perceive corruption as being widespread in businesses in their countries, but the percentage is even higher in the Balkans, according to a Gallup report released earlier this month.
Gallup’s poll indicates that corruption in business is perceived as a significant issue because it stymies development and foreign investments, as well as fosters income inequality and wellbeing.
In the Balkans, the percentage of those polled who consider corruption widespread in businesses is highest in Croatia and Romania — 93% and 91% respectively — but Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Serbia trail closely with 89% and 87%, as do Greece with 85% and Kosovo with 83%.
It is lowest in Montenegro, 63%, which is the average for EU member states. The survey is based on 2011 data.
„The Balkans is not the only or the most corrupt region worldwide, but corrupt habits and structures are quite entrenched,“ Cornelia Abel, programme co-ordinator for Southeastern Europe at Transparency International, told SETimes.
Abel cited the drastic changes in the social-political system and lack of political will to strengthen institutions, as well as rule of law, as major contributing factors.
„[They] resulted in the lack of reforms or their very slow implementation, which was largely if not fully driven by the aim to join the EU and improve economic opportunities,“ Abel said.
Other factors include international sanctions against Serbia in the late 1990s, which further paved the way for organised crime and corruption to flourish, she added.
„Kosovo faces significant corruption, including high-level political corruption as well as the low-level ‚bribes-for-small-money‘ variety in the daily functioning of society,“ Armend Mazreku, researcher at the Kosovo NGO FOL (Speak up), told SETimes.
FOL published a report in mid-May on corruption in Kosovo for the first three months of 2012.
„It is not only damaging economic development, but also the state-building processes, democratisation and the establishment of qualitative governance which serves the general wellbeing of the citizens,“ Mazreku said.
„Reform is needed — to be fair it has partially been accomplished — but there is a need for accountability of public officials balanced by the need for less political interference in the specific decisions regarding contracts,“ George Mills, EULEX anti-corruption expert in Kosovo, told SETimes.
But Merita Mustafa of the Kosovo Democratic Institute argues corruption’s roots are in politics, which makes efforts to confront the issue — including in businesses that finance it — an impossible task.
„Politicians‘ involvement in corruption makes it impossible for them to undertake the necessary actions to fight this phenomenon, because they would have to fight themselves,“ Mustafa told SETimes.
Ramadan Ilazi, co-founder of FOL, said corruption in Kosovo is unfortunately transforming into an acceptable culture of governance and of interaction between citizens and institutions.
Wednesday 23.05.2012 | 14:11 | Source: B92, FSS.rs | Comments: (4) | Send comment BELGRADE — Two meetings held in Budapest on Wednesday by officials of FIFA and UEFA decided to „reexamine“ the former’s decision to allow Kosovo to play friendly matches.
this week, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) decided to allow the team of the so-called „Republic of Kosovo“ to play friendlies, sparking a strong reaction from the Serbian Football Association (FSS), and condemnation from UEFA chief Michel Platini.
Despite the fact that all eight FIFA Executive Committee members from UEFA were against, the decision was adopted on the recommendation of FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
Full membership in FIFA is possible only for UN members – something that Kosovo has not achieved, due to the fact that Serbia rejects the ethnic Albanian unilateral declaration of independence made in early 2008.
On Wednesday, FSS President Tomislav Karadić, who attended two meetings in Budapest, expressed his satisfaction with the outcome.
A statement posted on the FSS website said that Karadić first met with Platini and UEFA representatives, and later with Blatter and other FIFA officials.
„(FSS) President Karadić informed both meetings about the possible negative consequences that the adoption of such a decision could have for our region, and for our entire continent. Also, Tomislav Karadić expressed his strong dissatisfaction over the fact that the decision was made behind closed doors and without the presence of the FSS representative,“ said the statement.
It added that the meetings in Budapest decided that the decision would be „sent back for consideration to the UEFA Executive Committee, and then to the FIFA Executive Committee“.
„It has also been stressed in no uncertain terms that the so-called Football Association of Kosovo will not be joining either UEFA or FIFA, because the UEFA Statute defines it very precisely that membership is open only for countries internationally recognized by the United Nations.“
„Lastly, an urgent meeting has been scheduled for May 31 in FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich, that will be attended by representatives of FIFA, UEFA, and the FSS,“ the statement said, and expressed the Serbian Football Association’s gratitude to UEFA President Michel Platini – who in the past three times rejected membership applications submitted by the so-called Football Association of Kosovo.
The FSS also thanked all UEFA and FIFA officials who sit on the FIFA Executive Committee and who voted against the controversial decision related to Kosovo.
In a statement made for B92 earlier in the day, Fadil Vokri, who heads the Kosovo Football Association, said that FIFA’s decision was „final“, and that UEFA „could not change it“.
In the meanwhile, it was reported that the Football Association of the Serb entity in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Serb Republic (RS), had decided to go to FIFA and request that it, too, should be allowed to play friendly international matches.
Wednesday 23.05.2012 | 10:43 | Source: B92, Tanjug | Comments: (22) | Send comment BELGRADE — UEFA President Michel Platini protested on Wednesday the de Kosovo: Homes of Serb returnees set on fire
PEČ — Two houses belonging to Serb returnees were burnt down in the village of Drenovac in Kosovo and Metohija, late on Tuesday.
The village is located south of the Ibar River, where Serbs live in isolated enclaves.
Nenad Staić, who lives in the village, told Tanjug news agency that around midnight fire damaged the houses of Milovan Radosavljević and Arso Stepić, but that no one was inside at that time.
Fire crews arrived around 01:00, but the fire had already destroyed Radosavljević’s house, whereas the second home was damaged to a lesser degree, he said.
Staić also said that Serb returnees from the village believe that the houses were set on fire „in order to send a clear message to Serbs that they do not belong in Metohija“.
„Last week it was agreed that another 12 houses for Kosovo Serb returnees will be built. This is the message for those people as well that they are not welcome here,“ the villager said.
Last year, first seven Serb families returned to Drenovac, five of which live in the village permanently.
Kosovo police (KPS) was expected to send „special units to the scene“, according to Tanjug. Their role would be to conduct an investigation and determine the cause of the fire.
BELGRADE — The winner of the Serbian presidential election Tomislav Nikolić thanked the citizens who brought him victory in the second round of voting.
Nikolić addresses reporters late on Sunday in Belgrade (Beta)
„I wish to thank the people of Serbia who voted for me and those who voted for my opponent,“ the SNS party leader stated, adding the election had gone by „magnificently, in a Serbian way, which is the proper way.“
Serbia „will not stray from the European path“, and „will not abandon its people in Kosovo and Metohija either“, the country’s new leader said in his first public address after the polls closed in the presidential runoff on Sunday.
„This is the height of my political career and the happiest day in my life,“ Nikolić said.
„I don’t wish for anyone to face the sort of campaign that I and my party had to face in this period. I wish to assure you that Serbia can be a modern, normal country,“ he said in his address, and added:
„I bear no grudge against anyone, I will cooperate with everyone. I have been in a position to congratulate others on several occasions, I expect others to congratulate me now, and I expect to start carrying out the difficult task that I have taken over this evening.“
„Serbia must develop its economy. The things I pointed out during the campaign must be improved. We have to free ourselves of poverty. We must free ourselves of the low birth rates, bribery, corruption and have friends all over the world,“ he noted, adding that Serbia „must get rid of partisan oligarchy“.
Nikolić, who during the campaign prepared his resignation as SNS president in anticipation of his presidential election victory, pointed out that he wished to be the president of all Serbian citizens, those who voted for him and those who voted for his opponent:
„I no longer belong to any political parties. I know better than anyone what kind of people politicians are.“
Nikolić was for many years a top official of the Serb Radical Party (SRS), but in 2008 formed his own – the SNS – as an offshoot of the SRS.
The 60-year-old was born in the town of Kragujevac, central Serbia. He is married and a father of two.
Nikolić’s rival, Democratic Party (DS) leader Boris Tadić conceded defeat and congratulated Nikolić on his victory, and noted that while his party will on Monday start negotiations to form the country’s new government, he „certainly will not be the new prime minister“.
Meanwhile, SNS voters and party activists have began celebrations in the streets of several Serbian towns.
nedelja 20.05.2012 | 23:43 | Source: B92, Tanjug | Comments: (21) | Send comment BELGRADE — Presidential candidate Tomislav Nikolić has won the presidential runoff with 50.21percent of the votes, the Republic Electoral Commission (RIK) has announced.
Überraschung in Belgrad: Oppositionsführer Tomislav Nikolic siegt bei der Stichwahl um die Präsidentschaft gegen Amtsinhaber Boris Tadic. Die Wahlbeteiligung erreichte einen Negativrekord. Von Enver Robelli, Pristina
It is true that WAZ media group launched a proceeding against the above mentioned companies in accordance with the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Since WAZ media group announced its withdrawal from Serbia in June 2010, there was no longer a reason to continue the arbitrage proceeding against the above mentioned companies, WAZ said in the release.
The amounts that Milan Beko presented to Beta news agency are not true. The exact amounts are visible in the ruling of the Arbitrage Court from May 5, 2012, which WAZ group released in clippings together with the release, the German media group said.
WAZ media group stated that it had had doubts about ability of Bekos companies to assume the court costs.
„We are pleased with the victory in the arbitrage in Vienna (Austria). We have just received the decision in the litigation case that the German media company WAZ has been conducting against us for some time, related to the Novosti company,“ Beko said in the May 17 statement.
WAZ filed several requests to the arbitrage authorities, more precisely nine, against companies that own Novosti company, claiming that the agreement has been violated and that their business interest has been damaged, he added in the statement.
According to the arbitrage decision, all court costs, including compensation for the costs of our defense, will be assumed by WAZ, Beko concluded.
Saturday 19.05.2012 | 15:10 | Source: Tanjug | Comments: (0) | Send comment BELGRADE — German media group WAZ has stated that it has not lost an arbitrage proceeding and rejected businessman Milan Bekos claims.
Former paramilitary organisations have used the recent arrests of Albanians in the region to warn countries of possible retaliation.
By Safet Kabashaj for Southeast European Times in Pristina — 18/05/12
Commanders of the Albanian paramilitary organisation Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac Liberation Army (UCPMB) in Kosovo in 2000.
Former Albanian paramilitaries issued warnings they will re-group if arrests of Albanians in the region continue, triggering speculation that they may undertake activities in response to the arrests.
Eight Albanians were arrested in Serbia on May 4th on war crimes charges as well as illegal possession of weapons, in addition to 20 others in Macedonia in connection with the murder of five Macedonian civilians near Skopje in April.
„Two hands for a head, we say. There is no other option,“ Jonuz Musliu, former political chief of the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac (UCPMB), told SETimes.
Musliu said a peaceful solution is preferable, but there is no will in Belgrade for one. „[Belgrade] remains the same and seeks to resolve problems with the use of force.“
Albanian leaders in the Presevo Valley said their biggest concern is the warning by Interior Minister Ivica Dacic that the police actions will continue.
„The latest arrest was a message by the Serbian government that each Albanian in Presevo Valley is a potential terrorist and subject to arrest,“ Bujanovac Mayor Shaip Kamberi told SETimes.
Kamberi said Serbia’s goal is to destabilise the region, spread fear to make Albanians migrate and thus cause demographic changes that way.
But Vladimir Vukcevic, head of Serbia’s war crimes prosecution, explained that authorities have been investigating war crimes against civilians in the Presevo Valley committed in 2001.
„The arrests were part of an ongoing investigation,“ Vukcevic said.
In Macedonia, Xhezair „Commandant Hoxha“ Shaqiri of the National Liberation Army (UCK) — an offshoot of the Kosovo Liberation Army — said the organisation’s former commanders met to consider re-mobilising the troops „in case the provocations continue.“
Macedonian analysts said the two sets of arrests should not be put in the same basket, and doing so betrays an agenda to involve Macedonia in Kosovo-Serbia relations by both countries.
„The problem that fuels the situation is the unsolved status of northern Kosovo. It appears there are attempts to maintain control over Kosovo by destabilising the region. We hear louder calls for Greater Albania or Greater Kosovo from extremist groups,“ Pavle Trajanov, former internal affairs minister, told SETimes.
Trajanov added that Macedonia is showing it has the political and security capacity to maintain stability, but must continue to invest in good relations with its neighbours.
There is no reason to think the former Albanian guerrillas will regroup in the two countries solely on account of the most recent events, according to Valbona Zeneli, national security professor at the George C. Marshall European Centre for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
„True, these kinds of events risk fuelling the situation. Any eventual escalation of tensions threatens the security and the peace in the region; damages the need for a normal relationship between Serbia and Kosovo; negatively affects the continuation of technical talks and, more importantly, the implementation of the recent achieved agreements,“ Zeneli told SETimes.
Zeneli said the Albanians in Macedonia should be a factor of stability and their political structures acted wisely in condemning the murders of the five civilians and in committing to bring perpetrators to justice, regardless of ethnicity.
Steiner released an administrative direction, declaring AKSH – which has claimed responsibility for the act for blowing up the railway bridge in Zvecan on April 12th – an outlaw organization. Steiner said the bombing was aimed at killing a large number of innocent civilians and damaging public property. The decision to declare ANA a terrorist organization was the first such move by the U.N.s Kosovo administration.
KOSOVO PROTECTION CORPS CONFIRMED THAT ONE OF ITS MEMBERS MIGHT HAVE TAKEN PART IN BRIDGE MINING KPC: There is a reasonable suspicion that Behrami might have been involved in the attack on the railway bridge at Loziste near Zvecan and that he died in this attack. KPC also says that such attack was an individual act which should not be brought in connection with the institutions.
Unfortunately, according to the information from the family and the several days of absence from work of Hamza Behrami, member of the Kosovo Protection Corps, Fourth zone, there is a reasonable suspicion that he might have been involved in the attack on the railway bridge at Loziste near Zvecan and that he died in this attack, it is said in the communiqué of the Kosovo Protection Corps today.
KPC also says that such attack was an individual act which should not be brought in connection with the institutions.
Der Gross Albanische Sprengel um Albin Kurti ist schon irgendwie auch zwischen krimineller Organisation und einem ungezogenen Kindergarten anzusiedeln. aus balkanblog
Zeitbombe kurz vor der Explosion
Das UN-Protektorat versinkt im Chaos von Lüge und Gewalt. Nahezu alle Kosovo-Parteien sind im Grunde Nachfolgeorganisationen der terroristischen UÇK und verkörpern diese Kontinuität auch personell. Die allernächste Zukunft des Kosovos steht im Zeichen von vier Kriegen von denen drei bereits geführt werden.
Demonstrationen in Skopje und Mazedonien um Albanische Mörder zuschützen: Bin Laden Faschisten in Aktion!
„Allah ist Gross“ – „Alahu akbar“
04. maj 2012, 14:26 -> 01:23
„Alahu akbar“ na ulicama Skoplja
Oko 10.000 Albanaca protestovalo protiv hapenja svojih sunarodnika koji su osumnjičeni za petostruku ubistvo kod Skoplja. Uz parole „Alah je jedan, alah je veliki“,“Policajci ubice“ i „Ko se ne pridrui izdajnik“ proetali ulicama Skoplja. Nekoliko manjih incidenata.
Grupa albanskih demonstranata zasula policiju kamenicama tokom protesta protiv hapenja navodnih radikalnih islamista u akciji „Monstrum“, to je bio i jedni incident tokom sat vremena dugog protesta protiv hapenja u okviru akcije „Monstrum“.
Protest Albanaca u Skoplju
Na početku skupa, u skopskom Bit Pazaru okupilo se jedva nekoliko stotina ljudi, ali je, prema polijskim podacima, sat vremena kasnije na ulicama Skoplja bilo skoro 10.000 ljudi.
Demonstranti su pred zgradom vlade Makedonije uzvikivali Alah je jedan, Alah je veliki“, „Policajci ubice“ i „Ko se ne pridrui izdajnik“, i trae da se oslobode njihovi sunarodnici koji su uhapeni zbog sumnje da su izvrili petostruko ubistvo na Smiljkovskom jezeru kod Skoplja.
Demonstranti su gađali kamenjem zgradu vlade i polomili nekoliko prozora. Posle skupa, grupa demonstranata zasula je kamenicama zgradu optine Čair.
Policija je saoptila da je u blizini zgrade vlade Makedonije otećeno jedno putničko vozilo, dok je na zgradi optine Čair polupano nekoliko prozora.
Ispred Krivičnog suda, gde su demonstranti proli, nalazile su se jake snage policije.
Protest pod nazivom „Stop montiranim slučajevima“ počeo je posle molitve u damiji.
Grupa se organizovala preko drutvene mree „Fejsbuk“ i oni trae da se oslobode uhapeni u akciji „Monstrum“ sa izgovorom da su Albanci muslimani, ali da nisu kriminalci i teroristi.
Okupljeni građani tvrde da je u policijskoj akciji privedeno 70 ljudi i da su oni bili maltretirani u policijskim stanicama.
Demonstranti su prethodno blokirali ulicu ispred damije Jaja Paa.
Mafia-States, According to Foreign Affairs Magazine
„In mafia states such as Bulgaria, Guinea-Bissau, Montenegro, Myanmar (also called Burma), Ukraine, and Venezuela, the national interest and the interests of organised crime are now inextricably intertwined„, writes in an article for the influential American magazine Foreign Affairs Moises Naim, in its May/June edition. Mr Naim is a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the author of Illicit: How Smugglers, Traffickers, and Copycats Are Hijacking the Global Economy. In his text the expert points out that the global economic crisis has proved a powerful boost for transnational crime. „Thanks to the weak economy, cash-rich criminal organisations can acquire financially distressed but potentially valuable companies at bargain prices. Fiscal austerity is forcing governments everywhere to cut the budgets of law enforcement agencies and court systems. Millions of people have been laid of and are thus more easily tempted to break the law„.
But the bigger problem, according to the author, is, though, that up to now international crime was broadly underestimated as a factor and was viewed more in a national context. Alas, this is no longer the case and it is necessary to pay serious attention to the problem, as well as to internationalise the efforts for its tackling.
According to the definition, which Moises Naim provides for mafia-states, those are statal subjects, where government officials enrich themselves and their families and friends while exploiting the money, muscle, political influence, and global connections of criminal syndicates to cement and expand their own power. Moreover, the highest positions in some of the most profitable illicit enterprises are no longer filled only by professional criminals; they now include senior government officials, legislators, spy chiefs, heads of police departments, military officers, and, in some extreme cases, even heads of state or their family members.
Very often in mafia-states high government officials become integral players in, if not the leaders of, criminal enterprises. The scale, according to the author, is huge and could be compared to the biggest multinational corporations in the world.
The mafia has a state
In his text, the author describes each of the mentioned above 6 mafia-states and quotes the famous remark of General Atanas Atanassov, a member of Bulgaria’s parliament and former chief of the counterintelligence of Bulgaria: „Other countries have a mafia, in Bulgaria the mafia has a state„. The edition points out that Russia is definitely not the only country where the line between government agencies and criminal gangs is blurred. Last year’s Council of Europe report is quoted, in which it is claimed that Kosovo PM Hashim Thaçi and his political allies exert „violent control over the trade in heroin and other narcotics“ and that they occupy important positions in Kosovos mafia-like structures of organised crime.
„The state-crime nexus is perhaps even stronger in Bulgaria“, the author writes. „A 2005 U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks last year is worth quoting at length, given the disturbing portrait it paints of Bulgarias descent into mafia statehood. The cable read, in part: ‚Organised crime has a corrupting influence on all Bulgarian institutions, including the government, parliament and judiciary. In an attempt to maintain their influence regardless of who is in power, oc [organised crime] figures donate to all the major political parties. As these figures have expanded into legitimate businesses, they have attemptedwith some successto buy their way into the corridors of power. … Below the level of the national government and the leadership of the major political parties, oc owns a number of municipalities and individual members of parliament. This direct participation in politicsas opposed to briberyis a relatively new development for Bulgarian oc. Similarly in the regional centre of Velingrad, oc figures control the municipal council and the mayors office. Nearly identical scenarios have played out in half a dozen smaller towns and villages across Bulgaria‘.“
The consequences for foreign policy
But in fact the bigger problem, which can be seen in the text of Moises Naim, is that the foreign policy of mafia-states is directly dependent on the interests of crime syndicates, which is no longer a problem of the country in question or its neighbours. It is a problem of the entire international community. Mr Naim recalls that until very recently foreign policy experts believed that international crime was not such a significant problem as, for instance, the threat of terrorism or weapons of mass destruction and that this problem could be tackled by the domestic legal systems. This is refuted by itself because it is known that in mafia-states these structures are infected too.
The danger hides not just in the fact that governments in a mafia-state can participate in illicit trade with nuclear weapons or technologies for the development of nuclear weapons, as was the case of the Pakistani scientist, considered to be the father of the nuclear bomb of Pakistan and who was thought to have been hired by a crime syndicate, dealing with delivery of nuclear technology for North Korea and Iran. The author quotes also the example of the 2008 war between Georgia and Russia for the breakaway territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. According to Thomas de Waal, Carnegie Endowments expert on the Caucasus, and quoted by Moises Naim, before the conflict criminal organisations operated highly profitable operations in South Ossetia, where illicit trade accounted for a significant part of the economy – a situation described in details in the book of Misha Glenny, a British journalist, McMafia.
Moises Naim admits that it is difficult to find evidence in support of the direct link in this case, but the scale of illicit activities suggests for an active participation of high level Russian officials, who acted as bosses of criminals and as their partners. It is mentioned that the conflict was fuelled by many other factors, among which ethnic strife, domestic Georgian politics, and Russias desire to assert its hegemony in its near abroad, but it it obvious that interested parties were pushing the Kremlin toward war. The author thinks that, in fact, governments involved in illicit activities are much more prone to use force when their access to profitable markets is threatened.
The rise of mafia-states requires urgency in the search for ways to internationalise the fight against crime, writes in conclusion the author. A promising approach could be the creation of „coalitions of the honest“ among law enforcement agencies that are less likely to have been penetrated or captured by criminal groups. Some countries, he writes, already experiment with relations outside the usual cooperation in the area of the fight against crime by involving not only the law enforcement agencies but also representatives of intelligence bodies and the armed forces.
Additional step could be to develop multinational networks of magistrates, judges, police officials, intelligence analysts, and policymakers to encourage a greater degree of cooperation than Interpol affords by building on the trust that exists among senior law enforcement officers who have fought transnational criminal networks together for decades.
„Unfortunately, despite the near-universal recognition that combating international crime requires international action, most anti crime initiatives remain primarily domestic. And although mafia states have transformed international crime into a national security issue, the responsibility for combating it still rests almost exclusively with law enforcement agencies„, concludes Moises Naim in his article for the Foreign Affairs magazine, entitled „Mafia-States. Organised Crime Takes Office“.
Another problem he points out in his article is that it is hard to gather evidence about the links between organised crime and governments, especially in mafia-states, where more investigative journalists are needed and higher activity of the civil society. By the way, in the past two years the European Commission especially emphasises on the role of civil society in its reports under the Control and Verification Mechanism in the area of the judiciary, with which Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007. It would hardly be an exaggeration to say that the very existence of this mechanism is an evidence of the fact that there is a systemic problem with organised crime in Bulgaria but it is insufficient to show the scale.
The Montenergin ambassador to the US is sending a letter to the American magazine Foreign Affairs to protest against the article which describes Montenegro as a mafia state.
PodgoricaSrdjan Darmanovic, the Montenegrin ambassador to Washington, was instructed to send a letter to the editor-in-chief of the magazine, to express dismay and present the real face of Montenegro, Milan Rocen, Montenegros foreign minister, said on Thursday.
Earlier this month, Foreign Affairs published an article, written by Moises Naim, which describes Montenegro as a mafia state, alongside Bulgaria, Venezuela, Guinea-Bissau, Ukraine and Myanmar.
In mafia states, government officials enrich themselves and their families and friends while exploiting the money, muscle, political influence, and global connections of criminal syndicates to cement and expand their own power, reads the articles summary.
Naim’s piece caused intense reaction in the local media, and the debate over it even reached the parliament.
Montenegro is mentioned only once in seven pages, when the states are listed, and for all other states there are broad explanations as to why they are on the list, Rocen said, answering the remarks of an opposition MP, claiming that it is inaccurate to call Montenegro a mafia state.