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news 06 Aug 13

Alleged Balkan Gangster’s Unexplained Riches Revealed

Naser Kelmendi, who is awaiting trial on organised crime charges, had a salary of about 180 euro but acquired property worth three million euro, media in Bosnia have reported.

CIN, BIRN
Sarajevo

Kelmendi, alleged by police to be the head of the most powerful criminal organisation in the region, was employed in his own hotel in Sarajevo with an average salary of 180 euro, the Centre for Investigative Reporting, CIN, reported on Tuesday.

CIN reported that Kosovo-born Kelmendi moved to Sarajevo in 1988 but left during the war and then returned in 1998 when he got Bosnian citizenship.

Until 2006, he did not pay any tax on his income while his property portfolio grew significantly.

From 1999 to 2009, he bought real estate in Sarajevo worth some 870,000 euro while the value of his ice-cream factory Aldolado was estimated at around 2.2 million euro.

Kelmendi's Sarajevo hotel, four houses and apartment were seized in June by a Bosnian court order. The prosecutor suspects that he bought this property with money earned from selling narcotics.

After his arrest in Pristina in May, the Bosnian authorities revealed they also want him on suspicion that he murdered Ramiz Delalic Celo, another alleged criminal from Sarajevo, in 2007.

Kelmendi denied any connection to the murder right after it happened and also said at the time that he never dealt in narcotics, describing himself as a merchant who worked in the leisure industry and ice-cream production.

Kelmendi's first business in Sarajevo however was a fur shop and a goldsmith’s, both named Miss Donna.

In 2002, he started working in the leisure industry and producing ice cream. He also once said to prosecutors in Sarajevo that he had a company in Kosovo selling cigarettes.

He bought his Casa Grande hotel in Sarajevo in 2004 for some 450,000 euro, even though its value was estimated at 870,000 euro.

Last year it had losses and debts of more than 30,000 euro while financial reports also showed losses over the past nine years, with an average annual loss of some 35,000 euro.

His ice-cream factory has also reported losses since 2005 when it started operating despite credits which were raised to help the company. The company’s real estate alone is worth around 2.2 million euro.

CIN also reported that the company alos showed a loss of more than 40,000 euro and had debts to suppliers of some 440,000 euro.

Kelmendi also owns property in Montenegro and Kosovo.

Bosnia has demanded his extradition from Kosovo but because Sarajevo does not have diplomatic relations with Pristina, this has not happened.

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