"The signs of collusion between the criminal class and the highest political and institutional office holders are too numerous and too serious to be ignored."
December 14, 2010 1:12 PM   Subscribe

Kosovo's prime minister, Hashim Thaci - who swept elections just a few days ago - is allegedly the head of a "mafia-like" Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through eastern Europe, according to a Council of Europe inquiry report on organised crime.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing (6 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
For all the shit that Italians talk about Albanians, it seems they've got a lot in common.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:15 PM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

It is very likely that I stayed in an Albanian crime figure’s house in the late 1990’s, not too many years after the fall of communism there. I was there on a short term mission with Campus Crusade for Christ …

*ducks bricks thrown by several Mefites*

Anyway, we would come into each town and stay with whomever would take us. It was a while before it dawned on us that our host—who had a large house with a heavy wall, several men by him all the time and seemed to only smoke and play pool—might be making his income in less than reputable ways.

The signs of organized crime were everywhere. At the time, Albania had one of the highest ratios of Mercedes to people in Europe, a byproduct of scams where Albanians would “steal” the car of a willing western European, who would then collect the insurance money. I will not soon forget being accused of being in the mafia by some bemused teens (one of whom was a local cop!) because we were fancy enough to be brushing our teeth.

All that to the side, the Albanians were some of the most wonderful, generous and welcoming people I have ever met. As is often the case with short-term missions, the Albanians blessed me more than I was ever able to do for them.
posted by vorpal bunny at 1:32 PM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

*ducks bricks thrown by several Mefites*

no one cares
posted by hermitosis at 2:41 PM on December 14, 2010 [9 favorites]

This is huge.. the head of a new country that barely ended its first elections last week is a mafia boss. A nightmare for everyone who supported Kosovo independence. I wounder how this plays in Belgrade and The Hague.
posted by ruelle at 5:19 PM on December 14, 2010

Richard Holbrooke must be rolling in his grave.
posted by Flashman at 6:50 PM on December 14, 2010

"I wounder how this plays in Belgrade and The Hague."

I don't think it surprises anyone in either of those places. The Serbians will probably be nodding their heads and angrily saying "I told you so!" while the Europeans will be a bit embarrassed that this came out so soon after the election.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:24 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

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