Three of six arrested petrol smugglers have been remanded for a month by a EULEX pre-trial judge while the others were put under house arrest.
Kosovo businessman Mentor Beqiri, his brother, Albert, and another businessman, Halil Hasani, will spend one month in detention, a EULEX judge decided on Thursday.
Three other suspects, Enver Tahiri, Jahe Osmani and Vesat Imeri, all businessmen, have been put under house arrest for 30 days, after the pre-trial judge decided grounds existed to support prosecutors' claims that the six are part of a large organized crime group.
“The six suspects are charged with organised crime, tax evasion, fraudulent evasion of import duty and excise tax and money laundering. They are all suspected of having taken part in smuggling fuel in Kosovo,” the EULEX statement said.
Police from the EU's law and order mission arrested the six suspects as part of a drive against organized crime in the northern, Serb-run fragment of Kosovo.
The six are believed to include partners of the controversial Kosovo Serb businessman Zvonko Veselinovic.
The police operation, according to EULEX, is part of a major investigation into petrol smuggling from the Serb-run north of Kosovo to the country's southern municipalities.
According to EULEX, during the May 29 police operation many luxury cars and other items were seized from the suspects.
Mentor Beqiri, who lives in Vushtrri, is suspected of being the main contact with Veselinovic in the petrol business.
The six men, according to the prosecution, in a joint enterprise with Veselinovic created a chain of gas stations under different names such as “BT Petrol”, “Jamo”, “Mab”, “Oil Kosova.”
Last week, EULEX forces raided Veselinovic's home in the village of Doljane near Zvecan.
Veselinovic and his brother Zarko are wanted on nine charges, including the murder of a Kosovo Albanian police officer and an attack on UN and NATO personnel.
Last October, a New York Times article on smuggling in Kosovo referred to Veselinovic and Mentor Beqiri as figures involved in this trade.
Beqiri was arrested earlier in 2006, 2007 and 2009, but no charges were raised against him.