Sadik Ahmetović, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) minister of security, told reporters from the Center for Investigative Reporting in Sarajevo (CIN) on Monday that he expected the US to ask BiH authorities to freeze Naser Kelmendi’s assets. Kelmendi is a Kosovo-born businessman living in Sarajevo.
Since June 1 this year, the US authorities blacklisted Kelmendi as a drug kingpin. The presidential order signed by the US president Barack Obama, also blacklisted Afghani national Sayed Wazir Shan and a Mexican Jose Antonio Soto.
The presidential order was signed under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.
Ahmetović said that Kelmendi’s assets in the US have already been frozen. According to Podgorica news outlets, the US law enforcement agencies requested via the Interpol Montenegrin authorities to do the same on their soil.
Kelmendi owns a hotel at the Montenegrin coast and several apartments and houses in Ulcinj and Podgorica.
Montenegrin police did not respond to CIN’s requests to comment the news about freezing of Kelmendi’s assets in that country.
The officials from NCB Interpol Sarajevo branch office and the Bureau for Coordination of Police Agencies in BiH say that they did not receive an order to freeze Kelmedi’s assets.
Ahmetović said the BiH authorities requested via Interpol the information about Kelmendi’s world-wide assets.
“When this procedure is completed, than the BiH authorities will also freeze Kelmendi’s assets”, said Ahmetović.
The State Investigation and Protection Agency (SIPA) presented a reported titled “Naser Kelmendi’s Criminal Organization” in Lion, France in Nov 2008. CIN wrote about this two and half years ago.
SIPA wrote at the time that Kelmendi was at the helm of one of the best organized criminal organizations not only in BiH, but in the whole region. According to the report, Kelmendi’s organization was involved in drug and cigarette smuggling, human trafficking, money laundering and loan sharking.
CIN also wrote at the time about Kelmendi’s businesses which law enforcement agencies in BiH described as the criminal empire in the Balkans. Soon after the 1992-1995 war, Kelmendi moved to Sarajevo from Peć in West Kosovo and acquired the Casa Grande Hotel and a number of other real properties, including Adolado ice cream factory.
CIN revealed that Sarajevo police allowed Kelmendi to buy and carry a firearm for personal protection since 2003.