By: Tanja Brkić / Nova24tv
The Albanian financial affair of Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob has become international. He tried to cover it up both when it was first revealed as well as now, denying his involvement despite the evidence. The news and his links with Ambassador Martin Berishaj were reported by many Balkan media outlets, especially after it was revealed that, in addition to “money laundering,” the money from the state-owned Gen-I energy company was also used to finance the election campaign of the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti. As more and more clues about the affair have come to light and the case has become international, we have also turned to journalist Vehbi Kajtazi of the web portal Paparazzi.com, who has uncovered a lot more about Berishaj than what was initially known.
Before the elections, Golob was hailed by the mainstream media as an excellent businessman. However, after coming to power, he has proven to be anything but pro-business, as evidenced by the disastrous conditions he has created for the Slovenian economy – the fact is that more and more excellent entrepreneurs are considering leaving Slovenia. If anything, Robert Golob is good at hiding things, manipulating and being ingenious in ways of making extra money. Judging by the following information, his move into the energy sector was quite deliberate, because that is where big money is, especially if you are connected to the “energy mafia,” as it has been called by some of the foreign media, which have taken a close look at Golob’s financial scandal – unlike the Slovenian media.
“All this is pure fiction,” Robert Golob said in a press statement, according to the Kosovo media Paparazzi. He claims that the financial affair reported on by most Balkan media is “fiction,” even though it is clear, written in black and white, that a branch of the Slovenian state-owned company Gen-I is showing up in bank accounts connected with the allegedly controversial transactions and a huge amount of money, and as a result, suspicions are being raised about the financing of the election campaign of Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Albin Kurti. All of this happened within the circle of the “energy mafia,” which Gen-I is a part of, and at a time when Golob was still the President of the company’s Management Board. But is this really “fiction”? Golob’s Albanian financial affair has taken on an international dimension. He tried to cover it up when it was first revealed, and he is still trying to cover it up today, when he continues to deny his involvement – despite the evidence.
Journalist Kajtazi: The Berishaj investigation will reveal many more names
As more and more information is coming to light and the case has gained international attention, we have also turned to journalist Vehbi Kajtazi of the Paparazzi.com web portal, who has provided us with additional information about the affair. Kajtazi said that the Kosovo Ambassador Martin Berishaj had gained more than 5 million euros in cash withdrawn from two companies, one in Montenegro and one in Kosovo. He came to this conclusion on the basis of bank reports that he had obtained, a police investigation, and a report by the Financial Intelligence Unit of Kosovo and Montenegro. Berishaj is under investigation in Kosovo for three offences: money laundering, concealment of wealth, and making false statements under oath. “I believe that these investigations of Martin Berishaj will reveal many other people involved,” Kajtazi wrote in an email, adding that Berishaj had accounts at the NLB Bank in Kosovo, from which money was “quietly” being withdrawn.
He received the money for his “business needs”
Berishaj, who worked in the energy sector before becoming an ambassador, received more than 1.5 million euros in his own account, which he justified by saying that the money was intended “for his business needs.” This is just one of the reasons for the investigation of the Ambassador, who is suspected of having strong links with the so-called “energy mafia.” Berishaj received payments from Gen-I’s branch in Serbia, which is based in Ljubljana. The Paparazzi.com web portal reveals that Berishaj, through the company “MB Consulting,” developed allegedly controversial deals worth millions of euros, in Kosovo and Montenegro, and that 1.5 million euros were also transferred to the company’s account from the Gen-I branch in Serbia. From February 2015 to April 2022, “MB Consulting” in Kosovo received 1,531,480 euros in remittances from the “Gen d.o.o.” branch, most of which were withdrawn in cash by Berishaj.
Approximately 900 thousand euros, which Beishaj’s company “MB Consulting” recorded as income from the “Gen d.o.o.” company in Belgrade, was personally withdrawn by Martin Berishaj from his bank account between the years 2016 and 2021. Berishaj allegedly evaded paying taxes in Kosovo for several years in the operation of the company, and as of the 18th of January 2022, according to official records, he is no longer the director and shareholder of “MB Consulting” in Kosovo. The ownership of the company has passed to Nahit Haxivesel, an old friend of Berishaj’s, whom he met in Croatia and Slovenia four decades ago, writes Paparazzi. At first, it was Berishaj who made the cash withdrawals, and later it was Haxivesel.
Investigations implicate the executive director of the Kosovo Energy Corporation in a suspected corruption case
The Kosovo Police investigations against Ambassador Martin Berishaj also implicated the executive director of the Kosovo Energy Corporation (Korporata Energjetike e Kosovës – KEK), Nagip Krasniq, who admitted that they also bought electricity from the Gen energy company, which has sales outlets in several Balkan countries and has its main branch in Slovenia. Krasniq is suspected of colluding with the Ministry of the Economy of Kosovo to obtain its provision of financial support to help overcome the energy crisis.
Perhaps Berishaj has also had his identity “stolen,” like Golob?
And yet, as we have previously mentioned, Berishaj continues to deny his involvement in the affair, despite all the evidence, just as he denies his co-ownership of two additional companies, “Zaslon Kosova LCC” and “Myloja sh.pk”, despite the information provided to the Kosovo Business Registration Agency (ARBK). Interestingly, one of the co-owners of “Zaslon Kosova LLC” is Berishaj, while the other co-owner is Erazem B. Pintar, a Slovenian entrepreneur who was once referred to as a playboy by some Slovenian tabloids, who also helped him create this public image.
Berishaj and Pintar share the ownership of the company “Zaslon Kosova LLC” with Alberto Hajrizaj, who, according to his Facebook posts, completed his studies in electrical engineering at the University of Electrical Engineering in Zagreb and is currently employed as an application developer at the Tax Administration of Kosovo. With the latter information, anyone would have concluded quite quickly that it is Hajrizaj who is the “link” between Berishaj’s alleged tax evasion in the first place, given Hajrizaj’s skills and place of employment.
Just as Robert Golob denied his involvement in the financial affair in question, even though he was the President of the Management Board of Gen-I at the time when it all went down, Berishaj is now denying his involvement, even though it is clear as day that his name appears on all of the invoices. Who knows, maybe he, too, will go along with the “stolen identity” story, which is what Robert Golob did. It is worth pointing out that he tried to “justify” the appearance of his name on his bank account with a scene from a science-fiction film, saying that his identity had been “stolen.” Nobody fell for this story, because we all know that banks do not open and close accounts just like that – identification is needed on several levels, in person. What kind of fiction is Golob talking about if things are actually clear as day?