Kosovo prosecution starts probe of wiretaps involving ruling PDK

Kosovo prosecution starts probe of wiretaps involving ruling PDK
By bne IntelliNews August 2, 2016

Kosovo's chief prosecutor Aleksander Lumezi said on August 2 that he has ordered an analysis of wiretap excerpts published the day before by the website Insajderi.com and allegedly suggesting the involvement of the ruling Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) in senior appointments in the justice and police sectors, BIRN reported.

It remains to be seen if the impact of these recordings will match the one of a major wiretap scandal in neighbouring Macedonia. In our opinion, the controversy in Kosovo appears to be significantly more limited.

Lumezi said, “All the material that has been published is already in the hands of prosecutors… They will look into this to see whether a criminal prosecution can start and whether there are elements of a criminal offence.” The chief prosecutor had heard that the recordings’ likely origin is an investigation into a criminal case that was conducted earlier.

Insajderi.com published brief extracts on August 1 and claimed that they show how PDK parliamentary group head Adem Grabovci has influenced appointments the judiciary and the police.

In an August 1 telephone interview with TV Dukagjini, Grabovci said, “For me, what is important is whether the law was violated with the publication of these wiretaps… I will ask the respective institutions to verify the degree of legal violation.” He did not reject the authenticity of the wiretaps. Also on Monday, the PDK official said the EU rule-of-law mission in Kosovo, EULEX, is responsible for the leak.

The website said that it is in possession of over 1,000 recordings of Grabovci’s phone conversations in November and December 2011, and will publish all of them. The media added they were made as part of a EULEX investigation covering Grabovci’s term as deputy minister of transport and telecommunications between 2008 and 2011.

In 2015, Zoran Zaev, leader of Macedonia's biggest opposition party, the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), revealed a series of recorded conversations between government officials, which he allegedly obtained from a whistleblower. Then Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, also the leader of the ruling party VMRO-DPMNE, said the tapes were sent to Zaev by foreign intelligence services.

A Special Prosecution Office (SPO) was established in Macedonia at the end of 2015 to probe wrongdoing and corruption among top officials revealed in the illegally wiretapped conversations.

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