06.01.2012 Belgrade

Mentor of dangerous criminals

Mentor of dangerous criminals
The arrest of Zvonko Veselinovic, the most powerful man in the north of Kosovo, has shaken up the criminal system that existed in this area parallel to state institutions. This well developed system of economic and political power linked hundreds of influential people from the north of the province. It can be expected that they will use all possible means to fight for the profit and privileges they had, some of which may seriously endanger the interests of the state

Based on data obtained by the weeks of research, Novi Magazin tried to make the connection scheme between local businessmen, politicians and criminals and Zvonko Veselinovic. Serbian intelligence agencies have identified Zvonko Veselinovic as the holder of criminal activities in the north territory of Kosovo and Metohija. Right next to him is his brother Zarko.

Several experts on the situation in northern Kosovo with whom we spoke said that Veselinovic’s actions began to threaten national security and Serbian state interests. Thanks to the political connections he created in Kosovo and the control of barricades, Veselinovic came in a position to seriously destabilize the political situation in Serbia, explains our source.

What is hidden behind the activities of Zvonko Veselinovic? Is it only wealth or his actions lead to the destabilization of the situation in Serbia, which would be in the favor of certain structures that want to jeopardize Serbia's European integration and to destroy the possibility of obtaining EU candidate status.

Veselinovic once welcomed the leader of Serbian Progressive Party (SPP) Tomislav Nikolic in Kosovo, he logistically helped local campaign of this party in Kosovska Mitrovica, and he is close to almost all local political leaders of Serbs in northern Kosovo.

SPP deputy in the Serbian Parliament, Borislav Pelevic said Veselinovic was his "war comrade and friend" who assisted his campaign for local elections in Kosovo. Krstimir Pantic, the president of the municipality of northern Kosovska Mitrovica, allegedly tried to influence Borislav Stefanovic and Minister for Kosovo and Metohija Goran Bogdanovic to allow Veselinovic’s tanks to smoothly cross the administrative border with Kosovo.

In a recent issue of Novi Magazin, President of the Provincial Board of Serbian Renewal Movement, Ranđel Nojkic claimed that Veselinovic had contacts with all influential politicians in the north of Kosovo.

"He has good relations not only with people close to the previous government of the Democratic Party of Serbia but with all the influential politicians in the north and with many people from the current government. That is why he is untouchable. The transportation of so many goods could not have been approved without the officials from Belgrade. Some probably had benefits from that, either personally, or through the funding of their parties, "said Nojkic. (Novi Magazin, issue 24, 13.10. 2011)

Safe house for criminals:In recent years, Veselinovic has earned most money by legalized smuggling of petroleum products that was terminated by the act of Serbian Government from July last year when payment of VAT was imposed. Until then, Vesalinovic has created a business empire in northern Kosovo that was based on petroleum products trade, narcotics smuggling of other criminal activities.

In addition to smuggling, Veselinovic turned the north of Kosovo into a "safe" house for the criminal fraternity from the region and it is believed that some people from European Arrest Warrants were hiding there. Apparently he was also making money by illegal usury as he borrowed the cash at high interest rates to the criminals he worked with and whom he hides and protects in the region of Kosovo when they have problems.

As Novi Magazin reveals, more than one hundred criminals from Serbia and the region is hiding in Kosovo. In the police station in Novi Pazar we were told that only from this area nine criminals suspected of serious crimes are hiding in Kosovo, one officer was hiding at his "colleagues" in the north for a while where he was wanted by Kosovo police. Except for the few members of Kosovo police, mostly Serbs and Roma people, there are no official police forces in the north of Kosovo, so the criminals are walking freely, sitting in cafes or restaurants and arranging new jobs.

The Albanian boss and "connection with Budva":The criminal connections of Zvonko Veselinovic go beyond the territory of north of Kosovo. His main business partner is Mentor Beciri with whom he formed a criminal group that makes tens of millions of Euros each year. In addition to oil, Beciri is smuggling narcotics and weapons. Among the group of Veselinovic’s Albanian partners are also brothers Ismet and Cazim Osmani who are involved in the smuggling of petroleum products and precious metals, drugs and white slavery, then Kadri Banjska, the owner of a transport company, Sahit Jasari, the cousin of notorious Adem Jasari and a member of Kosovo's secret service.

Besides his Albanian connections, Veselinovic also formed "The connection with Budva" with the former Mayor of Budva Rajko Kuljaca and the Balkan drug lord Darko Saric who is currently on the run. According to the police, Veselinovic has not only excellent business contacts with the Albanian criminal groups, but also with the Montenegrin and Serbian mobsters. In Serbia he is working with groups from Jagodina, Krusevac and Novi Pazar.

The mysterious team:The most prominent place in the "team" of Zvonko Veselinovic is taken by Srdjan Vulovic, called Gene, the owner of gas stations in Lesak, and his brother Dejan who was already on the wanted list of Serbian police. Srdjan Vulovic was technical director of Kosovo transportation and company workers have accused him of abusing his position and allowing Kolasin company to get hold of several buses of Kosovo transportation in a suspicious way. The workers claim that Kolasin Vulovic is the majority owner of Kolasin transportation, but he denied it.

There is also Zoran Milojevic, the owner of the gas station in Leposavic and the coordinator of the New Serbia party for Kosovo. He was the main support to Russian Ambassador Alexander Konuzin in an attempt to bring a Russian humanitarian aid convoy through the border in Jarinje few weeks ago, which is controlled by KFOR and EULEX. During the incident in Jagnjenica he controlled the work of journalists and their reporting. Veselinovic is associated with former members of the Serbian Ministry of Interior Affairs. One of them is Jugoslav Petrovic (36) from Raska, a member of the gendarmery squad arrested in 2010. in Belgrade when one kilogram of heroin was found in his car.

The trap in Kopaonik:The arrest of Zvonko Veselinovic ensued after six months of intensive intelligence work. Veselinovic brothers and all their contacts were under constant surveillance. Although there was an intention for Veselinovic to get arrested by KFOR and EULEX, the international administration in Kosovo dropped this move because it was estimated as risky.

The trap for Veselinovic was being prepared for several months. The meeting on Kopaonik was scheduled by one of their business partners who might have unwittingly "done a favor" to the police.

Brothers Veselinovic came to Kopaonik by jeep, armed with personal weapons and with false documents. Their fake identity "backed up" with the documents shows their power and connections with the police. The brothers were not afraid of the control of Serbian police because it was not their first time to come to Kopaonik, which is only 15 minutes away from their "safe" territory. Using their old links with the local police, brothers Veselinovic have been avoiding arrest for a long time, but this time not even the local police officers were familiar with plan for their arrest.

author: Ratko Femic, Djordje Odavic source: Novi magazin
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